What are the tricks to make Ilford Matte sing???
Ilford Warmtone and ADOX Variotone Premium will likely be my EMAKS replacement. The FOMA WT papers are too creme yellow for my taste.
There are many ways to make MGIV matte sing. It comes down to toning, for the most part.
If you print your highlights down a lot from pure paper white, you can get a lot of mood in the paper depending on how much you bleach. I like to use a 1:100 dilution of potferri + bromide and bleach for about a minute to two minutes, and then use either Kodak Sepia II, Kodak Sepia, or Moersch MT-3 to get a warm golden tone to the highlights. After I use Harman selenium toner, warm and concentrated, which further warms the highlights and really impacts the shadows to become both deeper and warmer. It honestly looks like a warmtone print once it's done.
But you can also use selenium toner first, and depending on how long you leave it in, you can protect the print from shadows up into the low to high mid-tones, and then when you bleach your bleach is incapable of bleaching the silver selenide, and only gets the very highest highlights. This gives a much more subtle effect.
Then you can leave your prints a bit lighter in the highlights, with just a hair more density in them than paper white. Especially if you edge burn your print, this is a really great technique with this paper, because the slightly darker edges still carry nice density post toning, but the parts of the highlights that are almost paper white look like they have an inner glow. It's hard to explain, but you get really brilliant tonality this way. Same bleach, and take the very lightest highlights back to where you're almost at paper white in the very brightest parts, and then when you re-develop the paper in the sulfide toner, you get this intensity to the highlights that can be so utterly beautiful for some subject matter.
I agree with Bob that the MGIV isn't very exciting on its own, but once you start to play with the toners, you can get really deep blacks, and highlights that don't look dull, but rather glowing, alive, and full of texture. If you're really good with it you can get almost charcoal black.
You have to try to experiment for yourself a little bit, play around with different bleach dilutions, and work your results until you like what you see.
I have attached two examples here. One a bit darker, and another a bit brighter, to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.
With help from Ian Grant , I have settled on a few scratch toners.
For the highlights I use sepia toner.
Bleach - potassium ferri and potassium Bromide... I bleach until I see some of the whites lighten.
Toner - Sodium sulfphide**yes the stinky stuff*** the highlights go warm brown
Gold Toner- this toner attacks the upper mid tones and if you pull soon enough without effecting the shadows one gets a lovely peach colour
Iron Blue Toner- I swore off this stuff as I could not make it work and Ian's name was cursed many times*** Ian I humbly apologize if your ears were hurting over the last few years.
Ferric Ammonium Citrate
What I found out is that I was not washing the prints post toning enough and trying to keep too much of the colour in the prints, always with poor results... now I wash immediately on a galvanized sheet of metal to get the bulk of the toner off and then wash in a vertical washer for 30 min, halfway I turn the prints..
What is left is wonderful tints of blue green on this matt paper..
Just to complicate things you must know that I solarize my prints with a two bath developer system. This adds complexity's to the final tone
so when I say the prints sing I really mean it . The addition of the Iron Blue and figuring out how to use it has opened some wonderful opportunities.
The MG4 just seems to suck up the toner, and gives a very soft texture final print that is aesthetically very pleasing.
So for some of my work it looks like quad tone and beyond.
This thread has reminded me of a thread I would like to be involved in... As a practicing printer I am very adapt at using light and paper, but if you ask me how all this works , I am not technically competent to give you the answer.. I believe there is many here who fall into my description.
Here is an Idea for some of us printers to get involved in. ... Lets ask Ian G,,, Lets ask Gerald K, lets ask Ron M....
for example ::: Ian -I understand that a developer is made up of four main components... what are the roles of these components and what chemicals do basically the same thing??
for example ::: Gerald- could you describe what PH has to do with the development process??
for example:: Ron- when light hits an emulsion what happens??
so Keith to answer your question I like the above toners, but cannot tell you how they work. Though I would love to learn more.
I don't do a lot of toning, only slight selenium to enhance d-max on exhibition prints. I have setled mainly on ADOX MCC 110 and Ilford Galerie , both grades 2 and 3 . The MCC seems to give the same deep blacks as Ilford MGIV with standard developers, but a slightly warmer tone. If you have negatives that don't require extremly soft or hard paper and you can do without split filter printing, nothing beats Ilford Galerie. Then of course you have the variations with different developers and toners, but that makes an endles amount of variations. Good luck with whatever you choose.
You can also try the new Oriental Warm tone :
Oriental Warmtone VC FB - Smooth Gloss (New Warmer Emulsion Formulation!)
That paper get beautiful blacks and it tones beautifully.
There's alot of talk about matt Ilford MGIV here. I'm assuming it tones the same as the glossy MGIV I've been using for years? There's nothing special about the matt that I'm missing?