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  1. #1
    pstake's Avatar
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    Sulfur toner chemical fog

    I made the mistake today (and also once before — last week) of toning a print in my darkroom with all my paper stored nearby. I afterward read several references to the fact that sulfur toners such as the sepia toner I was using, which smells like rotten eggs, can chemically fog paper.

    I'm mostly calm. At least on the surface. My girlfriend says I look "distracted."

    I have several packages of new paper that can not be easily replaced.

    Can anyone tell me if there is a simple test to look for chemical fogging? I did take two scraps, one from my metal paper safe and one from inside the lightproof bag inside a box, and place them in developer. I didn't see any fogging in the form it usually takes in my experience, cloudy gray.

    Anyone who can set my mind at ease before I stay up all night running tests on all my paper?

  2. #2

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    Don't worry about it. Just don't do it any more. No harm done.

  3. #3
    eddie's Avatar
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    I keep my paper outside the darkroom, for that very reason. Still, I've done some toning with the paper in the darkroom, without a problem. It was only for about an hour, and the paper was about 7 feet away from the toner. I wonder about the cumulative effects, though. I think PE, Gerald, and others would know.

  4. #4
    MattKing's Avatar
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    I'm quite sure that the paper's packaging provides a lot of protection.

    Storing paper where there is a lot of sulfur in the atmosphere would be problematic.

    As would leaving paper behind a light baffle that isn't also a barrier to the movement of air.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  5. #5
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    Many people do this. Don't worry about it. Your papers are not fogged.
    Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.

    http://www.flickr.com/kediwah

  6. #6
    pstake's Avatar
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    Thanks, everyone. I'll let you know if I have any negative effects. And I WON'T be toning in the same room as my paper, anymore.

  7. #7

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    Best to leave the paper in the darkroom and do your toning someplace where there is plenty of ventilation. Hydrogen sulfide is a very poisonous gas that has caused the deaths of many sewer workers in the past. The toxicity of H2S is comparable with that of hydrogen cyanide or carbon monoxide. It is particularly dangerous since it first dulls the sense of smell so that people are not aware that the gas is still present in dangerous amounts. Small amounts while they may not reach toxic levels can cause a nasty and persistent headache.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery



 

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