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Sea Lion Skull: Wet Plate Collodion

I found this sea lion skull on the Aleutian Islands (Unimak Island). My father was a commercial fisherman, and I spent a lot of time as a kid roaming the shores of Alaska. One year, we decided to head out to the Aleution Islands to fish for crab. I spent many off hours ashore finding amazing glass floats from the other side of the globe as well as this sea lion skull. I saw lots of brown bears, and had the time of my life beachcombing up there.


I made many plates of this skull, but I like the "evil" angle that this has, and the fact that it seems to float on the glass.


8x10 wet plate collodion "ambrotype" on clear glass (scanned on a flatbed scanner)

5-second exposure

12" Walzl Petzval lens from the late 1800s

Wide open at F5

Kodak Master View 8x10 camera

CFL lights on each side, with a black drop cloth to help float the skull

Rapid Fixer

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Taken on July 29, 2012