I found a lightproof (mostly) darkroom tent that I'm using as version 2 of my camera/darkroom combo for shooting wet plate photography. The tent is actually a grow tent for plants, so it has a reflective interior to maximize light inside. It will also help my red darkroom light be brighter inside the tent when it's on. It's also much easier to carry and much more compact, 4' x 4' x 6' instead of 10' x 10' x 8' like may last tent was. It's also about 35lbs where my last one was much, much more and impossible to fit in my small sedan. I actually got the idea for using this tent here: http://contrastique.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/tent.jpg where there is also a picture of his tent on a bicycle trailer, ready to move. The extra bars for hanging grow lights can also be used to hang a red lightbulb, but I've also seem people online just cover their windows/ vents with red acrylic or gels to allow the natural light to illuminate the inside. I'll have to experiment.
I found a small shelf from Home Depot for $26, it's a 4-tier plastic shelf (only three tiers used below) and it holds two trays for developing 8x10 plates well. It's Home Depot's (I think) HDX brand. I've decided to just use a tripod for ease of transport rather than the more cumbersome 2x4 plank setup in my version two plans at the bottom of this post.
The small vent in the bottom are where I'm going to cover with some red plastic sheeting to make the light safe for working with the undeveloped silver in the collodion plates. Now I'm using a red bulb which I could hang from a hanging support (not pictured in any of these, I left it off when I set it up this time) but I'd rather eliminate the need to run a cord into the tent to plug the light in and the need for another power source besides my strobe batteries. Whether my strobes have enough power is still TBD...
The best part! Okay not the best part, but it's SO nice not to have zippers and not have to crawl under the multiple layer of plastic to get in and out of the tent. The zipper is only on the outside, so you have to reach through, but the zippers seem pretty rugged and will hopefully not fail any time soon.
Well that's the new tent, I'm pretty excited for a much easier to transport, quicker to setup, and much nicer looking tent to shoot tintypes from. Another option, more expensive but vital if high winds are an issue, is an ice fishing tent. I've seen one of these used, a small one with two rooms, one for the camera and one for the developing table. It's definitely nicer, but a little larger and at least 3x more expensive. Maybe I'll go that route in the future for some large plates shot outdoors, but for now this will work just fine, even for large plates. I purchased this tent for just over $100, and the quality of it is better than I expected. There wasn't even a brand name on the tent or paperwork (one sheet that was simple set up instructions, BTW setup of the poles is easy and they're numbered). I had seen brand names sewn onto other tents online but I think the same manufacturer makes them all and then people use their own brand patches. If you want one, just search "48x48x72 mylar darkroom tent" and you'll get a lot of results. If you have time to wait you'll be able to find them on sale.
Pictures shot with the camera? If I build it this weekend, hopefully I can shoot some plates on Monday.
I'm a photographer and film maker traveling in Southeast Asia for the first part of 2016.