December 20: Douglas firs in the snow, Birnam, December 1925

Sunday 20 December 2020

Douglas firs in the snow, Birnam, December 1925 (RMA-H-1607). A half plate (6.5×4.75 ins.) glass negative from the Robert Moyes Adam Scottish Landscape Photography Collection.

Birnam is the location of Great Birnam Wood in Macbeth. The area is marketed as ‘Big Tree Country’.

Robert Adam was the photographer at the Royal Botanic Gardens from the 1910s until he retired in 1949. In his holidays he would travel round Scotland photographing the scenery, wildlife and the people, this forming a unique record of landscapes and livelihoods that have changed or even disappeared.

Plate glass negatives were used from the 1870s until superseded by film negatives in the 1940s. They came in a range of set sizes to fit the cameras, Adam used dry collodion plates which could be prepared, then taken on exposed on location and then taken back to the studio to be developed – a huge improvement on the wet collodion which had to be prepared, exposed and developed before the emulsion dried out.

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