??? Selenium-toned Van Dyke Brownprints ???

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by smieglitz, Nov 20, 2005.

  1. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    Every once in a while I come across a post here or elsewhere stating it is possible to selenium-tone Van Dyke Brownprints, but I have never seen an example image posted. I have been unable to successfully selenium-tone a VDB even when I dilute the toner 1+200 or more. The print always suffers from bleaching and ends up with a foul color and weak dmax. I have successfully gold-toned VDBs and believe I would have no problem doing so with Pt/Pd should I care to, but based on my previous experience, I really find it hard to believe I could get a decent VDB print with good density if selenium-toned.

    Can someone please upload a side-by-side example of a successfully selenium-toned VDB and untoned VDB pair, or point me to images on the web that compare them?

    Thanks,

    Joe
     
  2. scootermm

    scootermm Subscriber

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    smieglitz.... this is the best I can do... its an older print but I had scans on my computer of both the straight VDB and a selenium toned VDB. I toned it at 1:500 Berg Selenium toner for ten mins. both prints done on cranes platinotype (90# cover)

    straight VDB
    [​IMG]

    selenium toned
    [​IMG]
     
  3. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    Thanks for posting this comparison.

    These examples mirror my results: the selenium-toned prints have bleached, lost maximum density, and have what I would consider a foul color (more yellow-brown). I'm not sure I would consider this effect to even be "toning". It appears more like simple bleaching of the image to me.

    Am I correct in assuming the selenium-treated print was also more heavily printed initially in order to retain the density I see here?

    Does anyone have an example where the maximum density remains high and the prints retain an excellent tonal range and rich color?

    Joe
     
  4. Lukas Werth

    Lukas Werth Member

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    I never tried with van Dykes, but I tried to tone salt prints and kallitypes in selenium: while I wouldn't call it a foul color, the images all turned out bleached and flat, all my trials even more so than the one posted by Scooterm, and went into the bin.
     
  5. roy

    roy Member

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    Susan Huber has a number of toned prints made on POP on her wehsite.
     
  6. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    It appears Huber's prints are all gold-toned printing-out-paper which has absolutely no relation to the question I've asked about selenium-toning Van Dyke Brownprints.
     
  7. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    Yes. That also has been my experience with selenium and POP.

    It would appear that what others are calling "toning" with selenium and a variety of alternative printing processes is really "bleaching" of the fine silver image.

    As an aside, I've also found the practice of adding a bit of dichromate to the wash water as a contrast agent in alternative silver processes simply another method of bleaching details from the print without what I would consider an improvement in quality.

    Joe
     
  8. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Joe, that is not my understanding of the toning with selenium and VanDykes..but what you describe does occur if unless you use a very dilute toner. On the VDB's I have done and toned with KRST (do more in LiPd now) the toner was dil. 2+1000. A stronger dilution will cause some bleach back because of the thiosulfate in the toner - which is much like the hypo used in the first place. If left in the hypo to long, the print will bleach back as well (which you probably know - sorry if this seems redundent).
     
  9. sanking

    sanking Member

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    I have not had much success with selenium toning either kallitype or vandyke, but I did see some selenium ttoned kallitype prints once that were very nice. The maker toned with a 1:500 solution of Kodak Rapid Selenium, and it was done aftter the final wash and dry. The toning was done from several hours to several days after the prints dried. Time in the toner was fairly short, less than two minutes as I recall.

    The prints had a very nice deep chocolate color. However, given the short time in the toner and the very weak bath I have some concerns about how effective the treatmenet was.

    Sandy
     
  10. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    Mike,

    I have attempted selenium toning of VDBs at dilutions similar to yours (1+100 up to 1+500) and I always have experienced the bleaching effect but not any toning effect that is apparent. I'm also sure I am not leaving my prints in the solution too long as I tone by inspection. The prints always bleach too far before they achieve any color shift that would not be present by bleaching alone, IME. Any apparent color change I've see with VDB (& POP, Salted) and selenium toner could be replicated by bleaching in a too strong fixer or a weaker one carried on too long. Those changes should not be termed "toning" IMO.

    Can you please post some of your successful selenium-toned VDB examples along with untoned prints for comparison?

    Sorry to be such a "doubting Thomas" but I'm really skeptical of these written claims based on my previous experiences. "Seeing is believing."

    What I'm hoping to see in any posted example is a color shift caused by the toner that is not accompanied by a loss in image density caused by bleaching.

    Thanks,

    Joe
     
  11. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    Sandy,

    Did the maker of those prints have an untoned comparison print displayed with the toned ones? I have seen variations is VDB colors caused by variables unrelated to toning and it sounds as if that may have been a possibilty with the prints you refer to especially given your ending comment above and your personal experiences.

    What I'm getting at is perhaps there was no actual toning effect caused by the selenium (e.g., the toner was dead, exhausted, too short, too dilute, etc.) but rather something like a difference in pH of the water on two different occasions, aging of the liquid emulsion, length of time in the wash, etc., might be the variable causing a color shift in the prints you saw. A valid comparison where everything else was held equal between a selenium-treated and untreated VDB done at the same time would be informative. Otherwise, I think we all may just be speculating and attributing apparent changes to the wrong variable.

    Joe
     
  12. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'll volunteer to try something different:

    I'll (soon, I promise!) be printing my contribution to the alt-process print exchange soon, and I'll make a few extra prints.

    One will be heavily overexposed, and toned in very dilute KRST.
    One will be "normal", and untoned.
    The third I'll tone in Classic Viradon - the combined Selenium/polysulfide toner. I still have half a bottle left, and a VDB should need very little concentrate (and concentration) to tone.

    Then I'll post the results here...
     
  13. roy

    roy Member

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    You are right. I was working from memory and, for once, it failed me.
     
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  15. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Joe,

    No, I did not see comparison prints, but the ones I saw were vey rich with good Dmax and did not look bleached.

    Sandy



     
  16. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    I regularly tone Van Dyke, kallitype and albumen prints with selenium or gold. In the case of both toners there is some bleaching which must be accounted for in calculation of the printing time.
    Toning is always done just prior to fixing.
    As for color change, yes there is some very slight change with VD, more with kallitype, and more still with albumen. In none of these cases is the color change severe.
     
  17. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    Ole,

    Perhaps dilute Kodak Polytoner would work as well as Viradon. Although I can't find an MSDS for it, the bottle I have lists the components as potassium sulfide, selenium, water and sodium carbonate. It does not appear to contain thiosulfates based on the label. Information on http://silvergrain.org/Photo-Tech/toners.html also seems to support the premise that Polytoner and old Viradon lacked a thiosulfate component. Kodak Polytoner is listed there as containing: potassium polysulfide, selenium metal, sodium carbonate, potassium hydroxide, and water.

    The new Viradon formula apparently lacks selenium. Its active ingrediant appears to be sodium polysulfide. (See: http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache...gfa/Agfa_Viradon_Toner.pdf+viradon+msds&hl=en)

    So, experimenting with Viradon again doesn't seem particularly applicable to the original question of selenium-toning VDBs.

    Joe
     
  18. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    Jim,

    Can you post some comparison prints? Thanks.

    Also, I regularly gold-tone VDBs (and more recently albumen, salt and POP) in Clerc's Gold Toner and do not recall ever seeing a bleaching effect with that toner. Which gold toner formula is giving you bleaching? I would suspect Nelson Gold Toner which contains thiosulfate to possibly bleach but not thiourea- or borax-based formulas.

    Joe
     
  19. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I'll be using "old" Viradon, the selenium/polysulfide toner. The polysulfide tones stronger in lower concentrations, while the selenium tones stronger in higher concentrations. So I believe there will be a certain amount of silver selenide after toning in a 1+9 solution?
     
  20. sanking

    sanking Member

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    I tone kallitypes and vandykes with gold before fixing. However, toning with selenium before fixing has always lead to staining, often severe. The issue is that selenium reacts very strongly with any residual silver nitrates left in the paper after washing.

    Sandy
     
  21. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    Today I ran several toning tests with Van Dyke Brownprint. The prints are drying tonight. I will post scans tomorrow if I get a chance but until I can, here's what appears to have happened:

    1) Prints gained density as a result of toning in Clerc's Gold toner compared to other toners or untoned control prints.
    2) Prints bleached heavily and fogged immediately when treated in Polytoner before fixing.
    3) Prints bleached heavily in Polytoner if toned after fixing. These did not appear to have any appreciable chemical fogging.
    4) Polytoned prints appeared to have lost wet strength as a result of toning. Stronger toner concentrations enhanced this nondesirable effect.
    5) As the concentration of Polytoner increased, bleaching increased.
    6) Prints gained contrast and reduced exposure scale due to bleaching action in KRST 1+500 regardless of whether toned before or after fixing. It appears more density was lost if fixed prints were subsequently toned than if prints were toned before fixing. (I'll have to check that tomorrow though to be sure.) This was a surprise to me as I thought the bleaching would be more severe. Extra exposure could probably make this workable contrary to what I had expected. There was a color change apparent in the KRST toned prints. I think they will appear to be redder than untoned prints when they finally dry.
    7) Double-coated emulsions exhibited greater d-max after processing.
    8) The ecruwhite paper printed with less contrast than the white paper. (See variables below.)
    9) Prints toned in Clerc's toner went very strongly towards a cool purple-black color. Selenium-toned prints were much warmer and redder than gold-toned prints when wet. Polytoner produced heavily bleached, sometimes fogged prints with a much more yellow color and greatly reduced density. (If Polytoner is to work at all, I suspect the dilution must be much greater than tested today [e.g., perhaps 1+500 might work] and Polytoner should be attempted only after the prints have been fixed.)

    All were printed with the following conditions:
    1) All prints receiving a toning treatment were toned for 3 minutes in fresh toners;
    2) All prints were double-coated with the exception of 1 single-coated print used for comparison;
    3) All prints were made on Cranes' Kid Finish stationery ecruwhite with the exception of 1 print on Cranes' Kid Finish white used for comparison;
    4) Wet times were kept similar for all prints.

    Prints were given the following general treatment:
    1) Exposed for 185 units on a Nu-Arc 26-1K mercury exposure unit;
    2) First rinse in 2% citric acid for 3 minutes;
    3) rinse in tap water for 3 minutes;
    4) tone, or fix in 2 baths of 2% sodium thiosulfate for a total of 3 minutes;
    5) rinse for 3 minutes (or until toner no longer bleeds from print in the case of Polytoned prints);
    6) fix in 2 baths of 2% sodium thiosulfate or, tone for a total of 3 minutes (whichever was not done in step 4 above);
    7) rinse 3 minutes in tap water;
    8) clear in Kodak Hypo Clearing Agent for 3 minutes;
    9) Wash in vertical washer for 30 minutes:
    10) dry.

    Prints were processed in 5 groups (i.e., untoned prints, Polytoned prints @ 1+4 dilution, Polytoned prints @ 1+50 dilution, selenium-toned prints, gold-toned prints).

    The prints were:
    1) untoned print, emulsion single-coated on Cranes Kid Finish ecruwhite;
    2) untoned print, emulsion double-coated on Cranes Kid Finish ecruwhite;
    3) untoned print, emulsion double-coated on Cranes Kid Finish white;

    4) print toned before fixing using Kodak Polytoner 1+4 dilution, emulsion double-coated on Cranes Kid Finish ecruwhite;
    5) print toned after fixing using Kodak Polytoner 1+4 dilution, emulsion double-coated on Cranes Kid Finish ecruwhite;

    6) print toned before fixing using Kodak Polytoner 1+50 dilution, emulsion double-coated on Cranes Kid Finish ecruwhite;
    7) print toned after fixing using Kodak Polytoner 1+50 dilution, emulsion double-coated on Cranes Kid Finish ecruwhite;

    8) print toned before fixing using Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner 1+500 dilution, emulsion double-coated on Cranes Kid Finish ecruwhite;
    9) print toned after fixing using Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner 1+500 dilution, emulsion double-coated on Cranes Kid Finish ecruwhite;

    10) print toned before fixing using Clerc's Gold Toner, emulsion double-coated on Cranes Kid Finish ecruwhite;
    11) print toned after fixing using Clerc's Gold Toner, emulsion double-coated on Cranes Kid Finish ecruwhite. (My SOP.)
     
  22. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    OK, here are the scans. The single image is the exposure and treatment I consider standard for my VDBs. It also looks the best in hand.

    Small arrows on the stepwedge mark the extent of printed tone due to the exposure, so you can see that the gold-toned prints actually gained steps, selenium-toned prints lost steps, and Polytoned prints stayed about the same in the highlights, but lost maximum density. For the untoned ecruwhite examples the highlight density stayed the same but the print on white paper lost a step in the highlights. The untoned prints are also the most reddish-brown of all.

    There was a slight bit of variation evident in the exposures between the prints although most looked identical coming out of the exposure unit. The maximum variation was less than 1/2 step or 1/4 stop. Whether that was an artifact of the actual exposure or a coating artifact is unknown. It may have been due to a change in humidity over the course of the day, but it was rainy here all day so I doubt that was the cause. Papers were all coated early in the day and then printed throughout the day so some sat around sensitized longer than others. However, I couldn't detect any pattern over the course of the day that would explain the slight variations. I suspect they are ultimately attributable to small variations in coating.

    Bottom line is that I prefer the gold toner treatment but the weak selenium toner also changed the color somewhat and might be a way to increase print contrast slightly if additional exposure was given.



    *** If you open the attached photos be forewarned the image is a nude in the landscape. ***
     

    Attached Files:

  23. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Very good information you have hear Joe...Thanks for all the work, the detail you provided is great. IMO, this information should be added to the articles. One comment on the attached image with the different toners, could not read the data, is there a way to make that information larger?

    Very impressive work and a BIG THANK YOU for all the effort you have done.
     
  24. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    The info is the same as in my previous two posts identifying the general processing steps and the conditions of the numbered prints (which are in sequence on the composite image). I've shrunk the image down to its largest acceptable upload size on APUG. I'll try to upload a larger version on my personal home page and post a link later.

    Also a disclaimer: I just viewed the attachments on a PC and they look much darker and have much greater contrast than they do on the Mac computer which was used during scanning. Monitor gamma should be set to 1.8 to view them as the prints appear in reality.

    Joe
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 29, 2005
  25. rrankin

    rrankin Member

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    I, for one, really appreciate your post on this. I do Van Dyke from time to time but haven't toned them. Your mini-exhibition gives me a heap of info that it would have taken me months and many dollars to get. Thanks.

    Cheers,Richard
     
  26. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    Glad you find this useful. It has answered a few questions I've wondered about for a while and I'm pleased someone else may benefit from it. I've picked up a few very good pointers here on APUG and am happy when I can reciprocate a bit.

    Joe