Selenium-Sepia Toning

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by MurrayMinchin, Dec 17, 2005.

  1. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    I've been balancing my prints for a mixture of tungsten and daylight. Without the warmth of the tungsten light, they feel stark, or cold...

    This got me to thinking, why not put the warmth in permanently? I've never seen a selenium-sepia toned print in real life, only on the web, but it hints as being something to investigate.

    Anybody have some links handy to sites that explain the process?

    Thanks.

    Murray
     
  2. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    I do it all the time Murray. Not trying to hide my secret, but gotta run. I'll join in later and maybe give you a PM. I'm sure others will beat me to it.

    Bill
     
  3. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi Murray

    I do a lot of bleach sepia-selenium toning. I find it works best with colder tone papers*to my eye*.
    I think for fibre base this combination is the most complex but permanent method of toning as it takes care of the highlights and the shawdows.

    the sepia is most pronounced in the highlight and the selenium attaches to the shawdows.

    By complex I mean more steps . my steps are as follows

    dev. - stop. - fix 1 -. fix 2.- clear wash for 5-10 min- hypo clear 5 min- wash 20 minutes.- sepia bleach a 10secs to 60 secs depending on colour I want- wash till all bleach is off print - sepia toner till completion usually 1min- 30 minute wash- squeege - dry.

    once you have your method , you will like the look
     
  4. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    you might check into Tim Rudman's book on toning.

    There are a variety of factors that will influence "the look", paper, developer type, fixers , bleach strength, time in the bleach, strength of activator of the sepia toner, length of time in each and then the strength of the selenium and time in that selenium.
    As well as which brand or formula of sepia.

    For that reason, it really is helpful for you to just make a batch of prints, overprint several, at different degrees and just start practicing. Use just one brand or formula of sepia . There are already a lot of variables so keep things as simple as possible.

    Keep good notes on which print has which times, etc.
    Bob's suggestions are certainly a starting point.

    When it comes to split toning, or toning for color shifts, the world is yours to command. Have fun, keep good records so you can repeat a process. Nothing is worst than finding something that you love and you can't remember what it was that created this effect.

    That is my .02 cents worth.
     
  5. Daniel Lawton

    Daniel Lawton Member

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    I use a selenium/sepia split tone on quite a few of my prints. FWIW my process is: dev,stop,fix (TF4) 10 min wash, bleach till highlights show the desired effect, 3 min wash, sepia tone 1 min, 5 min wash, selenium tone until shadows reach desired density or tonal shift, 5 min wash, 5 min Heico Perma-wash, 15 min wash.

    The effect of the sepia toner is determined by the amount of time spent in the bleach so if you bleach too heavily, the sepia toner will "overtake" the image and leave nothing for the selenium to work on. Conversely, if you choose to do the selenium toning first, don't leave it in long enough for the highlights to become changed or the sepia bleach will have no effect. With the bleaching and selenium toning phases, length of time means little so use your eye as a judge. The sepia bleach acts extremely quick once it takes effect so you may want to dilute it quite a bit in order to give yourself some leeway. Also, I almost always make more than one straight print since I often find that the toning results aren't what I desire and I need to alter the time spent in one of the baths. Its a lot easier when you have multiple prints at your disposal to work with. Good luck. I think the sepia/selenium split provides stunning tonality and impact when you get what you are looking for. Its well worth the extra time and effort. You may very well find that the untoned versions pale in comparison.
     
  6. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

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    I use the Kodak Sepia II as opposed to their regular sepia tone which is muddy and leaves to much warmth in the borders of the paper IMO. I would also emphasize the diluted bleach that others have mentioned. It can be pretty hot straight. I go 1:10 from the stock solution. It takes a little longer, but your tone will be more controllable. I also keep the bleach tray up out of the sink on the back of another tray turned upside down. I warm the bleach bath to a temp of about 72 degrees and raising it out of the wash water keeps it warm. I also will go back into the bleach and tone after thoroughly rinsing if I feel it needs more depth. This effectively helps you "build-up" your tone to the place you want. After this and another thorough wash, I will go with the selenium to my taste. As was said before, it will attach more to the darker values. Pushing either or both part of the process can lead to some pretty dramatic and evocative effects.

    Have fun!

    Bill
     
  7. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Hi Murray

    I just realized that I did not add in the selenium side which I do after the sepia for reasons mentioned above.
    Anns point about dilutions or strenghs of chemistry is the most important factor along with time in each chemical.

    To keep your sanity try this.

    8x10 paper cut in half and make lets say 20 identical exposures and develop to a print just slightly darker and flatter than you normally like.
    Dry them all and then spend the next day pencil the back of each print the dilutions time ect. Put on Led Zepplin How the West was Won and do the tests.
    As Bill points out the new Kodak Sepia Bleach is way to hot to control , I have decided to go to mixing my own in the future for consistency.

    Try this with a couple of papers, cold and warm:
    and amongst all the computations you will find a look that you like and on the back of the print your notes will be there.
     
  8. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    Thanks everyone for taking the time to respond to this, as any and all advice is much appreciated :smile:

    After wallowing around on the web checking out photographers sites for examples of their work, Bill wins the "Consistency Award"...my ears will perk up to any words of wisdom he has to offer.

    Murray
     
  9. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

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    D'oh...I didn't check out the personal galleries of those that responded. Daniel's "Brooklyn Bridge at Night" has what I think I'm heading for.

    Murray
     
  10. DarkMagic

    DarkMagic Member

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    Does any one have a good recipe for making sepia toner? For bleach i can use Ferri or farmers reducers, right?
     
  11. trotkiller

    trotkiller Subscriber

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    No!!!!!!! Farmers reducer is like c41 blix, bleach and fix..... it will destroy the image

    My basic toning bleach is:
    Potassium Bromide 20gm
    Potassium Ferricyanide 20gm
    1 Liter of water
     
  12. DarkMagic

    DarkMagic Member

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    I should have wrote : part A of farmers, the clean ferricyanid without the hypo in part B :smile:
     
  13. DarkMagic

    DarkMagic Member

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    I did this today with a print on Fomabrom IV112: develop in Dektol, water stop, plain hypofix, full wash, dilluted bleach from Foma Sepiatonder, bleached only highligts. Full wash and imersed in the toning bath, also a bit dilluted. Wash. At that stage it was a beautiful print. Creamy and shiny metallic in skies and ocean, deep black and perfect highlight. So next: 5 minutes i selenium toner. I couldnt see the shadows grew any deeper, but the highlights and mid tones became a mixture of sepia and purple. What was that? For me its not a problem for the future, i just cut after sepia toning, since shadow didnt grew any deeper in the black in selenium toner. But im curious what i did wrong and how much seleniumtoner really is going to show deeper blacks. I have seen other have great results of split-toning with sepia and selenium, and i would like to use this process.
     
  14. chimneyfinder

    chimneyfinder Member

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    The varients of toning effect are endless, as a difference in developer, paper, bleach dilution, toner dilution, selenium strength and difference between manufacturers products are some of those factors affecting the final look. It really is a case of trying different variations to get what you are after and keeping ordered notes on the process as you will never remember the changes you make. In short you will get through a few batches of prints before you hit on what you want and it is likely that it will happen when 'off piste', i.e not strictly following someone elses formula. Try to get to read some articles or books by Tim Rudman or Lee Frost on the subject for some inspiration.
    Just as a personal example, I was toning last week when I decided to do a short bleach, around 30 seconds, followed by 30 seconds in selenium at 1:9 and then toner for around a minute, then another short bleach and another short tone all interspersed with washes: the results I stumbled into had the subtle hues I was after combined with a punchier print - a sort of 'lith-lite'. The paper I used was some old Jessops lustre finish that has now gone, so I know I will have to trial and error some different paper to get close to that again.
    Tip: try to tone with a good stock of, or replenishable supply of paper.
    BUT, I find it interesting and fun and the rewards are well worth the effort.

    Regards, Mark Walker.