Recently my colleagues and advanced design students had an opportunity to take part in a wet plate ambrotype photo shoot at Nostalgic Glass Studio, proprietor Shane Blakowitsch. As Shane explains on his web site, wet plate collodion photography is the earliest form of photography. Most of the Civil War photography we’ve seen over the years was wet plate photography.
The camera above is a bellows camera meaning, the bellows go in or out to focus the subject. The exposure time Shane used was 8 seconds. Because of long exposure, the subject needs to be perfectly still. Notice on some of the images with the models, a metal pronged stand is set up behind (out of the cameras view) the sitting subjects to keep the sitter from moving.