Ken Miner lines up his next shot of Fisgard Lighthouse on Sunday morning. Miner uses an early 20th century camera and ambrotype photography to create vintage images around Victoria. (Joel Tansey/News Gazette staff)

Photographer captures vintage shots of Fisgard Lighthouse

Colwood man uses ambrotype photography to create 19th century-look

As the photography world transitioned from film to digital, Colwood’s Ken Miner went in the opposite direction.

Miner felt that this simplified way of taking pictures eliminated the deeper connection he used to have with his photos.

“You lose that tactile nature of it. You don’t get to develop film. You don’t get to stand there with the chemistry … it’s the hands-on thing that I missed,” he said.

He found an even deeper connection with his work when he got into ambrotype photography, a multi-step, 1850s-era process.

The end result is a negative image on a glass plate which can then be viewed positively when placed on a black backing.

By staying true to the original chemistry, Miner creates vintage-looking shots that appear to have been taken a century ago. It’s the ultimate “Throwback Thursday.”

While the final product is undoubtedly cool, it’s the process that really makes Miner tick.

To get the perfect shot with his 1902 Century View camera, he must first coat a glass plate with a layer of collodion – a sticky, viscous substance made up of gun cotton and dissolved in ether. From there the plate goes into a silver nitrate bath.

“When it comes out it’s light sensitive so it goes into a holder that goes into the camera,” he said.

The plate has to be wet during exposure, which can last anywhere from five seconds to a minute or two.

“Once the exposure is made it’s back to the dark room to develop it,” he explained.

For Miner, his dark room happens to be in the back of his Chevy Express van.

Once developed, the image is no longer light sensitive and is then placed in a film fixer, before being placed in water.

On Sunday morning his van was parked roughly 100 metres from Fisgard Lighthouse as he took a series of shots, each resembling something you’d sooner find in a museum archive rather than a contemporary studio.

One of the four pictures will be given to Parks Canada.

“It’s a privilege to be able to maintain those locations so that they are like they were 150 years ago … a project like this, it’s kind of neat to put the two together,” said Sophie Lauro, Parks Canada promotions officer.

The historic lighthouse may have been the subject on this day, but Miner’s portfolio includes a range of shots, from portraits to antiques to old-time cars.

Sunday was his first attempt at capturing a historical site, and he said he was ultimately pleased with the results.

“I think it went great. I would love to do more of that. Actually, I would like to shoot as many lighthouses on the coast as I can. I think it’s really neat and fits the process really well,” he said.

joel.tansey@goldstreamgazette.com

[gps-image name=”7853942_web1_copy_170726-GNG-FisgardPhotographer.jpg”]

 

Ken Miner eyes a shot of the Fisgard Lighthouse with his early 20th century camera. Miner spent Sunday morning taking vintage, Ambrotype photographs of the lighthouse. (Joel Tansey/News Gazette staff)

Just Posted

Sooke to host Western Canada’s first all-female boxing card

58 fighters from across North America to be featured at April 28 and 29 event

UPDATE: Two rescued after falling from ferry at Swartz Bay

One crew member is injured after rescue boat mechanism fails, causing it to fall from the ferry

Missing: 72-year old Gregory Helmer

Victoria Police are asking for your help in locating Gregory Helmer.

Victoria’s Elizabeth Buckley School to close in June

Independent school suffers teacher shortage after 30 years of providing education alternatives

From wet noodle to Killer bee

Sooke reporter reflects on four month boxing challenge

New play examines Indigenous identity

Belfry Theatres Salt Baby coming to Victoria April 17 - May 13

Builder of Kinder Morgan reinforces concerns over project

B.C. heads to court over pipeline jurisdiction as builder says doubt warranted

Spring Home Show this weekend in Colwood

West Shore Parks and Recreation will be transformed to showcase everything home related

Health committee cheers idea of national pharmacare program, but cost an issue

Conservative health critic Marilyn Gladu says she fears costs could be far higher than $19 billion

Canada’s oldest blood donor says it’s all gain, no pain after decades of giving

Great-grandmother and Coquitlam, B.C., resident has been donating blood since the late 1940s

Union says Trump bullying threatens hundreds of B.C. pulp mill jobs

Fear mounts that new U.S. anti-dumping duties could price Catalyst mills out of business

B.C. real estate regulator to undergo NDP review

B.C. real estate agents were self-regulated until 2016, when BC Liberals appointed superintendent

B.C. pizza shop broken into 4 times in 2 weeks

A Vernon business owner is beginning to feel targeted

Man accused of Abbotsford school stabbing hearing voices, intensely paranoid

Lawyer says Gabriel Klein not fit to stand trial in May because of deteriorating mental state

Most Read