Please help me troubleshoot a yellow stain.

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Captain_joe6, Apr 13, 2009.

  1. Captain_joe6

    Captain_joe6 Member

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    Alright guys, here's the deal. I've been plagued by a strange yellow-brown stain on my prints, and I have no idea whats causing it. It looks like some sort of fixer stain, but I'm almost certain that it isn't, and here's why:

    1. The developer is Michael Smith's Amidol for Azo/Lodima. It turns everything yellow, but that washes off in a few minutes of running water, so I'm not thinking thats the problem.

    2. Stop is standard acetic acid, 50cc 28% in 1L water. No issues there.

    3. Fix is Kodak rapid fix without hardener. Prints fix for 5 minutes, and it wasn't exhausted, so we're good there.

    After that, I put prints in a holding tray with plenty of water, and the yellow from the amidol leeches out and the prints look great. Nice whites, fantastic blacks, the whole deal.

    Now here's where it gets funky. I put all the prints in a new tray with new water, and everything's still good. Then, I pour 25ml of rapid selenium toner into 64oz. of water, which I realized later was quite cold. Still, shouldn't be any problem, right? So I put a test print in to see how it will look, and it looks ok. I've never used Lodima before, so when it goes completely warmtone after Michael's recommended 3 min. in toner, I think 'ok, thats what it does.' So then all the prints go in, and they all do the same thing: blacks go a little warm, but everything else goes a light yellow-brown.

    And the finale: once the prints were in the wash, the yellow-brown 'warmtone' effect began to dissipate, but not evenly, and not from all the prints. So now some are completely yellow, some are completely white, and some are splotchy. After I realized it was a stain, I ran out and got some HCA (I didn't use any initially because I was out. Could this be the problem?) and hit them with that, then washed again for an hour. No change.

    Any thoughts? All help is greatly appreciated, because before that stain, the prints looked great. I'm pretty sure I can't get rid of it, but it'd be nice to know what went wrong so I can avoid it next time.
     
  2. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    You may not have washed your prints thoroughly enough after fixing.

    I use Hypo Clearing Agent after fixing if I tone the prints, then wash for half an hour. Then put the prints in a holding bath and tone one print at a time. After toning I once again put them in a fresh holding bath and when all are done I put them in the washer.

    I did have uneven tone and staining problems prior to doing a thorough washing sequence between fixing and toning.

    I hope that helps a little bit.

    - Thomas
     
  3. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    I haven't had your experience, but from all I have read, it would seem to be under fixing, or inadequate removal of the fix, as Thomas suggests. Over the years, many articles I have read caution about this.
    I know you said your fix was ok, but a 2 bath method, discussed in many other threads in this forum would ensure this. Also, check out other threads on TF4, an alkaline fix which is much easier to remove than acid fix.
     
  4. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    I've had some similar experiences with different papers. In my case, an overall yellow tinge appeared when the print was in the selenium toner. This did clear after a bath in wash aid and thorough washing. I use 6-10 minutes in a sodium sulfite bath and then one hour or more in the washer. Do try washing your prints to see if you can get rid of the stain.

    Staining with selenium toner can occur because of the pH of the fixer. This is what I assume was the cause of my problem. Make sure you are using a neutral or alkaline pH fixer immediately before toning. I've had good luck with Ilford Hypam/Rapid Fix at the 1+9 dilution, however, even that fixer is slightly acidic and, depending on paper, could cause the stains you are experiencing. If you haven't already, try a plain hypo bath or one of the alkaline fixers and see if your problem goes away.

    If you wash prints before toning, stains can also occur if the prints are not fully washed before toning. My work flow is to transfer the print directly from the second fixer to the toning bath, saving washing time. After toning the print goes to the wash aid and then to the wash. You might give that a try as well.

    Hope this helps a bit,

    Doremus Scudder
    www.DoremusScudder.com
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    These yellow stains are usually a symptom of poor fixing regardless of the type or make of paper, the fixer may not be exhausted but the silver level may be to high.

    As silver halides disolve in fixer there are many intermediary silver/sulphur complexes formed, it's a complicated equilibrium process. If the silver level in the fixer is too high theses semi-soluble complexes remain, no amount of washing will remove them.

    The solution is two bath fixing, the 2nd bath should always be quite fresh and ensures that the equilibrium reaction is complete and that all the dissolved silver is soluble.

    Ian
     
  6. dancqu

    dancqu Member

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    At that KRST dilution you might as well adopt
    Ansel Adams' method. After a first fix then hold
    Adams followed with a plain sodium thio. fix
    made ALKALINE with sodium sulfite. Then the
    print went into the toner, hca + KRST. Dan
     
  7. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    I agree with Dan: transferring directly from the second fix (which should be neutral or alkaline) to the toning bath. The "hold" between first and second fixes can be quite long. I wash and dry prints between fixes, discarding those that don't make the cut, and then toning the keepers in large batches in day-long toning sessions. This saves time and chemicals for me, as well as a bit of sink space since I don't have to have a tray for the second fix while printing. Toning sessions have water soak, fix 2, toner, wash aid (NOT mixed with the toner, since it exhausts much faster than the toner does) and then wash.

    I find that replenishing and filtering the selenium toner keeps it alive and working for years. I just add a bit of toner concentrate whenever toning times become unacceptably long. I really have no idea anymore exactly what "dilution" my toning baths are. I have one "stronger" one and one "weaker" one and choose one or the other depending on paper and amount of desired toning.

    I have been using Ilford Hypam/Rapid Fix for both fixing baths with good results, but did have the one yellowing problem described above. I attribute it to the slight acidity of the second fix. I'll probably use an alkaline fixer like TF-4 for my second fix in the future just to avoid this (even though it did wash out). Plain hypo would work, but would take that much longer; I prefer the moderately short time in rapid fixers diluted 1+9 or so.

    Best,

    Doremus Scudder
    www.DoremusScudder.com