Remember that selenium toning affects the silver that is present in the neg. Where you have empty shadows (ie. clear film-base) there is no silver and therefore no increase in density from the selenium. The overall contrast is increased, as the difference between "no silver" and "silver plus selenium" is larger, but nothing is going to magically recover detail that you didn't place on the negative.
You could always try making a copy negative and reversing it, or make a copy of the copy. The quickest thing to try would indeed be using a harder developer, as many have pointed out.
Edit: I have just recalled that, during a 25 sheet try out, I seemed to get a slightly higher contrast result from the Adox MCC remake of the Agfa papers, than from Ilford. Perhaps that would be an option?
what dilution do you use your dektol ?
Originally Posted by tkamiya
if you are using it 1:2 or 1:3 you might increase it to 1:1
or even a higher concentration of developer ...
you might also look into split filtration printing if you aren't already doing that
it might also help you get the contrast you want ...
there is an article on les mclean's website
right ... here: http://www.lesmcleanphotography.com/...ull&article=21
good luck !
A better and safer way to boost the negative contrast is to tone in selenium diluted 1+4 from stock. About 5 minutes should do it.
Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch
Also bleaching and then redeveloping, particularly in any pyrogallol developer, works very well.
I don't plan to read all the foregoing bits of advice, so forgive me if I repeat something already mentioned. Some VC papers will not reach DMax given only high-contrast exposure using magenta or
blue light. You might need to supplement this with at least a token amount of white light, but keep it
brief unless you add an ND filter. You can only develop so long - maybe four minutes of so in a silver
rich paper, until it hits the max; after that you only increase fog. And it does help to use premium
papers. But even that can be boosted by a combination of selenium and gold toning (rinse between
these steps, though the order is unimportant). Some papers are way better in this respect than others, and image tone differences are an inevitable and possibly desirable by-product. There are more advanced ways to do it to: contrast-increase masking, neg intensification or duplication, etc.
i think, you are best of with the bleaching suggestion.
I'm really bad at bleaching..... So far, every time I tried, I ended up basically destroying my print.
I was using matte surface paper which tends to look lower in contrast. I'm going to use glossy and use more concentrated dilution of Dektol to start. I'll report back when I have some results. Thanks everybody.
All the above plus you could give a try with Dokumol. Very strong dev.
A contrast increase mask is very powerful.
some enlargers using dichroic filters won't go all the way to a real grade 5. Others will. If using dichroic filters I'd suggest trying and Ilford G5 filter. It may well give higher contrast.
Also use new paper and definitely not old stock.
Also get some benzotriazole and mix up a 1% solution. Add 5ml of 1% solution to one litre of working strength developer. This will give contrast a bit of a kick. Add more if necessary.
Also warming up developer will give a little boost to print contrast.
Also under exposing and over developing can sometimes give a boost in contrast, especially on graded papers.
do all the above and you should get a decent rise in contrast.