I live on the island nation of New Zealand which doesn’t have E-Bay. The country itself is just a little over 200-years-old, never mind finding an abundance of antique cameras. Getting anything remotely ‘Wet Plate’ related in New Zealand is a mission, we cannot simply order a kit on-line, even the chemicals have to be mixed ourselves from places such as the local DIY store.


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For a couple of years, I used my garage as a darkroom, which was great as it was MY garage and I could stain the floor with as much silver as I liked (not that I liked spilling the silver, but unfortunately it does happen). I moved out of our bought home and into a rental accommodation, which put the kibosh on any wet plate adventures (if we wanted the deposit back that is). Wet plate photography is what is says on the tin, and you need a wet plate to make an image. If it dries out, the plate is useless. Therefore, you need a mobile darkroom if you wish to go mobile. I did have such a contraption in the form of a hydroponics tent, but it was flimsy and very small to work in.

This is where the 1970s retro bubble caravan comes in – it was a perfect solution – mobile and it was MINE to make a mess in. It took me about 5 weeks from start to finish, but I now have an excellent working environment in which I can make Wet Plate Collodion images here in New Zealand, without worrying about messing up the house / garage.

I was told all caravans needed a name and as this girl is red from top to toe, what else could she be called? It was a no-brainer: Rubylith (or Ruby) was born. (Rubylith is the name of the red filter used on darkroom safe lights).

More info: paulalsop.com

I live on the island nation of New Zealand which is just a little over 200-years-old

Getting anything remotely ‘Wet Plate’ related in here is a mission

We cannot simply order a kit on-line, even the chemicals have to be mixed ourselves from places such as the local DIY store

For a couple of years, I used my garage as a darkroom, but I moved to a rental accommodation, which put the kibosh on any wet plate adventures

The 1970s retro bubble caravan was a perfect solution

It took me about 5 weeks from start to finish, but I now have an excellent working environment in which I can make Wet Plate Collodion images

I called my baby Rubylith (or Ruby). It is the name of the red filter used on darkroom safe lights

My Wet Plate works made in a caravan: