[pure-silver] Re: Selenium toning inconsistancy

  • From: "K W Hart" <kwhart1@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <pure-silver@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2010 16:12:16 -0400

Many here might consider it blasphemy, but if you want a really specific toned 
color, you could print your B&W negative on color paper and adjust the filter 
pack until you get the 'tint' you want.
Often if I need a quick b&w print,  I sandwich the neg with a piece of 'clear' 
color neg film and just run it through my color darkroom, rather than getting 
out the trays, etc.
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Gerald Koch 
  To: pure-silver@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:25 PM
  Subject: [pure-silver] Re: Selenium toning inconsistancy

  Thought you might be interested, if I remember correctly, gold toner applied 
after sulfide toning results in pink to red tones.  This was the basis of the 
metallochrome process for coloring B/W portaits some years ago.  I tried it 
once and it produces very nice flesh tones.


  From: Lloyd Erlick <lloyd@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  To: pure-silver@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  Sent: Wed, July 21, 2010 9:48:46 AM
  Subject: [pure-silver] Re: Selenium toning inconsistancy

  July 21, 2010, from Lloyd Erlick,

  Hello Dennis,

  Selenium toning is strongly affected by developer variables. Developing
  agent, developer ingredients, as well as dilution and age.

  Fixer characteristics like pH and whether or not a hardener is present will
  have an effect, too.

  I've used Ilford Warmtone (designated MGW) fiber-base paper for many years
  (since they released it, actually, geezer that I am ...) and I frequently
  tone it in selenium to what I assume is completion. I dilute my toner
  (KRST) 1+5 with distilled water. I use it on my prints fairly warm, around
  body temperature. This is probably my least-controlled aspect of selenium
  toning, because my darkroom is sometimes cold and other times too warm. I
  stand my container of selenium toner working solution in a bath of
  appropriate temperature water and hope for the best. My prints spend ten
  minutes in selenium toner.

  Warm tone materials yield the warmest results in the presence of the
  potassium ion. I learned this many years ago in a discussion list (maybe
  this one ...??) and have proved it to myself at least to my own
  satisfaction. I did so by using the venerable Ansco 120 formula, which is
  basically D-23 for prints. The components are Metol (Kodak calls - or
  called - it Elon), carbonate, sulfite, and some potassium bromide. The
  sulfite and carbonate in most uses of the formula would be the sodium
  salts, since they are usually specified (also cheaper). But potassium salts
  can be substituted, and if they are, the results are visibly warmer. The
  effect is not dramatic; if I were writing an ad to go in a Popular
  Photography 1968 issue I'd make grand claims. But actually the result is
  subtle. When both salts are sodium, the 'warmness' is at a certain level,
  which many people do not see as particularly warm. (There's not much use
  trying MGW without toning it; without toner it isn't very warm at all.
  Which toner is a matter of choice. I'm a portraitist, and I like the golden
  tinge selenium seems to give skin tones. Brown toner doesn't really please
  me. Besides, I have wonky color perception, which turns out to be a god
  that must be appeased.) If only one of the carbonate or sulfite is switched
  to the potassium salt, the 'warmness' increases a bit. Change both to
  potassium and the next notch of warmness is visible. Small increments, not
  huge dramatic jaw-dropping etc.

  Potassium carbonate is not hard to find. It costs a little more than sodium
  carbonate, but it's bearable. Potassium sulfite is not so easy to find in
  pure powder form. It will absorb water from the air and form clumps unless
  sealed up. I chanced upon a stock of it many years ago from a chemical
  supplier that got a surplus lot from Kodak Canada. Beautiful white powder
  in double polyethylene bags. No clumping. Decades old. Very attractive
  price at the time (probably a hundred times as much now if it still exists
  out there anywhere). Potassium sulfite can be made in solution very easily
  by reacting common darkroom chemicals. Again, I think I found out this
  information in this group or one like it, so the knowledge is out there. I
  could look up the method I'm sure).

  I never use tap water any more if I intend to make fine prints that will be
  toned. Municipal tap water is some sort of roulette game, only worse,
  because at a casino you at least know the materials the place is made of
  will not change. Municipal tap water contains whatever substances have been
  dumped in the lake by industry in the recent past (or washed in by rain off
  the streets, or who knows what). I'm sorry I can't avoid showering in the
  stuff (I do my best to avoid drinking it, but skin is the largest organ).
  At least I can keep my prints free of 'substances of unknown origin'. I
  just use distilled water for developer and fixer (and toner). Anywhere I
  expect chemical reactions, if I'd like them to go as planned, I use
  distilled water.

  Although I use Metol as my primary developing agent, my reading of random
  stuff on the subject seems to indicate that warm-tone developers often use
  Hydroquinone. I've never used it myself, but if I did I'd combine it with
  potassium salts.

  To ensure developer consistency, I prefer to mix my working solution
  directly from dry powder chemicals. My triple beam balance makes the job
  easy, as well as taking me back to my squandered yout'. For a working
  solution the amounts of each ingredient are quite small, so dissolving them
  goes quickly and easily at working temperature. I do not bother making up
  liquid concentrates any more, they just age in the cupboard.

  Brown toner (potassium polysulfide type) and selenium toners can be used in
  conjunction. Which is used first seems to make a difference, if I recall.
  Personally, I don't much like the results.

  Selenium toner responds extremely badly to acid. It slowly clouds up with
  dark brown or black precipitate. I have not used any type of acid in my
  darkroom for many years, and my selenium toner remains water-clear. I tried
  citric acid as a stop bath, followed by multiple rinses ahead of the
  selenium toner bath. There was still enough to cause problems. With my
  present method small amounts of precipitate still occur, but are easily
  manageable with coffee filters. I filter my toner every time I use it
  (well, almost every time). Coffee filters work fine. Use an ordinary
  funnel, large size. Place a coffee-maker filter basket (Goodwill shops are
  a great source; the gold-plated ones are not necessary) in the funnel.
  Place a paper coffee filter in the basket, and pour solution through. It
  will run through with some semblance of quickness as long as there is an
  air gap between the paper and the funnel; hence the basket. No air gap and
  the paper gloms onto the plastic funnel, cutting off flow except through
  the tiny space over the opening of the funnel.

  An interesting thing happens if gold toner is used after selenium toner
  (still speaking of MGW). The warm tone left by selenium is converted to
  pure, perfect, neutral black by toning in a gold chloride and potassium
  thiocyanate solution. (This is described on the website of Ed Buffaloe). I
  find it very attractive, although less suited to my work than selenium-warm.

  I suppose it all sounds pretty expensive, but only the 'chosen ones' will
  need the full treatment. Most prints are not worth the effort, so only a
  few will be expensive.

  Lloyd Erlick Portraits, Toronto.
  website: www.heylloyd.com
  telephone: 416-686-0326
  email: portrait@xxxxxxxxxxxx

  At 11:04 AM 7/20/2010 , you wrote:
  >I am working on a project of printing a client's negs for him and he  
  >wants the prints to be warm tone fiber paper that is toned to the  
  >reddish brown totally toned color.
  >I showed him work I have on hand that I have toned that way using  
  >Ilford WT FB and he likes that color.  I them made some prints for  
  >him on the Ilford WT FB paper and toned
  >them and they came out a slightly different color.  They are close  
  >but the older prints are browner and warmer and the new prints are a  
  >bit colder and less intense in color.
  >I am not sure what the variables might be for my adjusting that.    
  >Does anyone out there have a good handle on what makes changes in the  
  >final color?
  >Developer changes?  Dilution, composition?
  >Selenium differences?  Age, dilution, exhaustion?
  >Paper differences?  same paper but different batch?
  >thanks for anything you might know about it.
  >Dennis Purdy
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