Fomatone lith prints and long toning in Selenium. A killer!

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by laparn, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. laparn

    laparn Member

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    Hi!

    Occasionally I scan internet for inspiration in general and lith prints in specific.
    My current favourite paper is Fomatone MG Classics 131 with extreme possibilities and a wide range of achievable colors. But, I can´t find these colors in the pictures on the internet. Why?
    There are more or less only the linear yellow-reddish nuances from an untoned or short toned print but really far from what is possible to get.

    Don´t if it is news for you but there is a procedure that really get Fomatone into bloom. The secret is Selenium. Eh? Ye, Selenium but during looong time in the bath which create an extended range of colors and even the lith grains develop and change their characteristics. A lot!
    I ususally fix in Ilford Hypam 1+4 for two minutes which might make sense and affect the outcome from Selenium toner.

    Most pictures seen are toned in dilute Selenium for conventional prints and archival purpose and mainly the recommended 2-6 minutes, but try else. Dilute 1:9-1:14 somewhere (or even stronger) and put the print in for 15 minutes or more. You will discover a journey in changed characteristics and it is really possible to see the change in real time.
    For instance, a typical warm yellowish Fomatone print will cool off after approx 2 minutes and turn into a tri-split cold print with grey, purplish and/or greenblue tones.
    Suddely this change again around 5 minutes and a warming up will occur with color shift towards coffee. Patience pays off and further development is to be expected. After 10-12 minutes even the grain will start to change and it will get more accentuated. Kind of...grainer but still soft. Waiting even longer and the tone will shift again and end up in a sweet sweet ginger color that is to kill for.

    In general, a softer high key print will benefit the most of this method but even a dark print will change.
    The Selenium will eventually decrease the contrast which happens in long toning sessions as well. Dark black areas will come out in a warm reddish tone but highlights will remain as llight as initially. So DON´T TOSS POOR OVERDEVELOPED PRINTS AWAY!!! It is possible to recover bad prints and you will be surprised what is achievable with Selenium.

    Note, I usually use Kodak Rapid Selenium toner and i believe there might be different compunds from different brands that affect the toning effect on lith prints. Don´t know. Don´t dare to try...hehe.


    Get into the dark room and try it! As the Master himself once stated in one of his books: "You are hereby warned!" ;-)

    Good luck!
     
  2. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    Thanks......I've recently started using Fomatone a bit and found that you can get nice yellow/purpleish brown splits with a very brief dunk in selenium. I'll have to try this. Thanks for sharing.
     
  3. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    How about a nice image to show the color?
     
  4. AFlood

    AFlood Member

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    Its lovely in gold toner too! I need to get me some selenium.
     
  5. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Interesting about the color after toning for a long time.

    I do tone most of my prints, both conventional and lith. But I rarely use Fomatone anymore for that purpose, I usually use Fomabrom 112 or Ilford Warmtone. The Fomabrom turns extremely grainy, and the Ilford is smoother.
    I use a combination of sepia, thiourea, selenium, and (soon!) gold toners. I'm thinking about mixing my own thiocarbamide in the future, but need a few other things to click first.

    Thanks for sharing your findings. That is a good reason to come back and read these forums.

    - Thomas
     
  6. Gennari

    Gennari Member

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    I also love Fomatone Classic for normal printing, developed in Fomatol PW and toned in Selenium (Adox in my case) - up to two minutes for a cooling effect and intensified blacks (i like) or more than two minutes for that reddish tone that is accompanied by a decresed max black again. Never had the patience so far though to try 15 minutes or so in the toner - but i will try, thanks for that.

    Only drawback in my opinion is the relatively low sensitivity of the paper and long development times so I plan to do a comparison - fomatol + short selen vs eukobrom developer (vs Adox MCC).
     
  7. laparn

    laparn Member

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    -Robert, i´d love to but mainly printing on 12x16" papers I have made it difficult for me to find a scanner suitable for sharing my prints. I will download pictures later this year and Fomatone will contribute most in the portfolio.
     
  8. laparn

    laparn Member

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    Yes, it is really surprising what happens in Selenium. By curiosity I stressed the method myself earlier this spring and extended the toning times. Tim Rudman suggest toning in hot toner and I suspect the result may be similar. I have not compared yet but we´ll see.

    Note, in general, lith prints are far more reactive in toner than conventional prints. Typical toning of an Ilford MGIV Fb for instance, is mainly for archival purpose with a benefit of getting rid of the greenish cast and also deeper DMax. The conventional developed paper will eventually end up in a warm(er) purplish tone and finally also decreasing contrast somewhat (eating the blacks) which is kind of cool too but this happens already within 6-8 minutes somewhere and I admit neither I do have the patience to continue since it is kind of boring and truly linear. It is not even in the same league as lith prints.

    The merging starts almost from the very beginning and you can see the colors creep from lith grain to lith grain and when grain itself starts to change in characteristics it is getting really exciting. It is very easy to snatch at certain point when you find the color attractive. Though, I recommend to use a failed print to learn how the color changes over time. Taking the best print at once you might miss the goodies beyond the point where you snatch it from the toner. Take a "bad" print and let it run for...say 20 minutes and learn what happens. Remember the time when the most attractive appearance occured and aim for that with the best picture. ...and, the failed print might even evolve to a killer after some Selenium. ;-)
     
  9. laparn

    laparn Member

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    Yep, I´ve heard so but the only bottle I own is still unopened. Expensive stuff! :wink:

    The difference is that Gold toner affects the highlights first and Selenium the blacks. Hence, a good combo where selen tone the blacks and gold the lights with possibilities to find tri-split in a cool way.

    Yes, go get some Selenium! (...and copper toner/blech...hehe)
     
  10. laparn

    laparn Member

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    -Thomas, do you have recommendation how to agitate the Fomabrom? I just purchased a box and will start some experiments. I´ve previously tried Forte Bromofort and it is told to share similar "problems", i.e flow lines, etc.

    I often lith print Adox Nuance Warmtone (a great paper for lith by the way) and the rather long developing times render flow marks on the paper. My "salvation" agitation method on the Nunace paper is to frequently shake/rattle the paper once in bath (with gloves of course) and also lift it up once in a while to really remove used up developer from the surface. I´ve concluded this method also gives a smoother distribution of grain which commonly is seen on many prints. Clean blue skies for instance tend to look "uneven", kind of dappled. Cool sometimes but not always.
    Having an oversized tray to enable paper to freely float around doesn´t seem to be efficient enough to kill flow marks.

    I suggest "brom" papers are worse. Any hints how to agitate?

    BTW, I heard the fixed graded Fomabrom papers appears to have better lith response than the Variant. Correct? Hm...I do have the Variant one so I hope it is the opposite.

    Ha en bra dag!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2009
  11. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I am also a fan of Fomabrom lith'ed from certain images (I have a few in my apug gallery if you are curious). I haven't had the problems you describe. My method is to use a tray one size oversized for the developer (Rollei/Maco in my case) and float it in a tray of water. The water allows gentle, irregular agitation and also allows me to raise the temperature a bit. I've used this method successfully with both Fomabrom and Slavich Unibrom. BTW - Slavich unibrom is a lot more controllable in my experience and I tend to use it much more than Fomabrom
     
  12. AFlood

    AFlood Member

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    Yes it is rather pricey, I deliberate long and hard before using it. Fotospeed say a litre bottle is good for 60 8x10s, but I imagine its used up much more readily with lith prints. This is an expensive hobby!
     
  13. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    Gold over Selenium, and Gold on its own both work well for Fomatone lith prints. In terms of archival processing it has been noted that Selenium is only protective of the areas that it tones rather than overall, unlike Sulphide toners; meaning the traditional advice of selenium toner at dilute solutions (e.g. 1+49) for archival protection is unlikely to work as intended.

    Tom
     
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  15. Fraxinus

    Fraxinus Member

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    I've not had any trouble with flow marks on Nuance, but I have had trouble getting it to produce a result I like. Hopefully that will be remedied when I spend a few days with Tim Rudman next week...

    Fomatone 131 is in a different league though, and is my favourite paper for the lith experiments I've been doing over the last couple of weeks. So far I've only explored it's 'normal' lith capabilities, the usual peachy, coffee to golden colours. I'm sure it's capable of much more and will try the extended selenium you suggest. Gold over selenium produces some lovely effects too, but in selenium for five minutes or so I just get a rather nice chocolate brown, not a lot different to the result I would get with a normally processed print left in Se 1+4 for 15 minutes.

    I'm posting my recent results on my site, there's a quite a few colour variations, but probably none you haven't seen already!

    Some recent experiments with 2nd-pass lith are really promising - especially if selenium toned before bleaching, then redevelopment in lith dev. None of those posted yet, still experimenting.
     
  16. schrochem

    schrochem Member

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    Anyone ever try the extended selenium? That coffee phase sounds interesting.
     
  17. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Subscriber

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    You fans of Nuance do know that it's going away, right? It's re-packaged Emaks and the Fotokemika plant is closing. See the very long thread about that on here. :sad:
     
  18. schrochem

    schrochem Member

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    Tried it last night and it doesn't shift. Not a great tone for my taste but not bad. It didn't start to speckled the dark mid tones more on the print it tried it on.
     
  19. AndreiF

    AndreiF Member

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    I need an advice, as I did not use any of these: for better and divers effects with lith developer, which Selenium toner would be the choice between Ilford Selenium and Kodak rapid Selenium toner?
    Thank you!
     
  20. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    I think you will find that both/either work equally as well.
     
  21. AndreiF

    AndreiF Member

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    Thank you for the answer. I have another question, after fixing it is enough if I rinse the print for 5 minute or I have to complete wash it before toning with selenium?
     
  22. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    This is actually a critical juncture. Tim Rudman said it best, "Your sins will be found out!".


    If you don't follow process you will never have consistent results. And here, if you don't fully wash, you will have staining. You will see finger prints if you poke or handle your prints with dirty hands while processing and you will have stains from the chemistry left behind in the fix.

    Use a wash aid, like HCA or just plain sodium sulfite in a bath for 2 minutes, then wash for 20 (assuming fiber based paper). I hold mine in a water bath while waiting to tone after the complete wash.

    In a word... always follow the best practices in the lab.
     
  23. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Amen, brother! I have heard recommendations that selenium toning can be carried out almost immediately after fixing. But I wash my prints anyway, just to be safe.
    There is nothing worse than producing a print, which somebody pays you for with their hard earned cash, and years down the line the print starts to discolor because of process flaw. That sucks. Don't ask how I know that.
     
  24. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    Yes!
     
  25. goros

    goros Member

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    I did. I left a test strip of Fomatone 131 in the selenium toner while toning other prints. I cannot tell how long it stayed in there, but in the range of ten to twenty minutes. The picture had a largish section of deep blue sky that I printed almost full black. When I took the strip out of the selenium tray, that black has became red, but the red tone you could associate to copper. The rest of the print was reddish, but the deep black sky was shocking.
     
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  26. AndreiF

    AndreiF Member

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    Hello, thanks for the replies! @Robert Hall: I always try to follow the process, actually my wife says I am overcareful:smile: In this case even on the selenium bottle says "full wash" I heard recomendations on internet that it is enough 5 minute wash before selenium. Thank you!