Quick toning question (Sepia II)
I am about to make my first foray into the world of toning. Of course, I bought toner before reading up... so now I am stuck with Kodak Sepia II, which I understand is quite ugly. I am going to tone some prints that I don't care about all that much just to get the practise. I have got a lot of help on this and other subjects (Thanks Dave!)... but just realized one more thing:
On the package it says to use under safe-light conditions.
I was under the impression that toning could be undertaken under "normal" light... I was hoping to do it somewhere where I have a little more ventilation as I understand the stuff really stinks... but if I have to, I'll wait 'till night fall and wear a gas mask
Also, I have heard conflicting reports on hardeing and after fixing... can someone give me a straight forward "yes" or "no" on that issue?
Thanks in advance for all your help,
Here is what Kodak says on their site:
Sounds like the safelight conditions are optional. I have used regular Kodak Sepia toner with room lights on and have never noticed a detrimental effect.
Note: The bleach bath (Solution A) converts metallic silver in the print to light-sensitive silver bromide. You may want to bleach the print under safelight illumination to minimize the effect of light on the image. However, the effect is extremely small, and may not be noticeable.
As for hardener, I have never used a hardening fixer on prints and have never had a problem. I have always heard that you should not use a hardener on prints that are going to be toned, but Kodak seems to believe that you should use a hardener if you are not toning and use a hardener after toning if you are toning the print. I don't have any idea what they think we are doing to our prints that might cause us to need a hardener. I have never had any kind of emulsion problem with a fiber or RC print.
As for the color, I have never used Sepia II, but I like the regular Sepia for certain prints. I usually don't bleach that much and then selenium tone the print after sepia toning.
Thanks a lot, that really does straighten things out for me!
for the most part, toners work better with prints that have been fixed with a non-hardner fixer.
Nelson's gold suggest fixing after toning with a fixer that contains a hardner.
And yes, you can tone under normal light conditions. The new version recommends a safe light condition. Some bleaches will begin to re-develop on their own if left under normal light conditions, so perhaps this is their thinking
Kodak's Sepia II toner isn't ugly per se, though I think the effect is generally more pleasing with warm toned papers than with cold toned papers. The final results are greatly dependent on the paper and the lighting conditions present when viewing the print. What looks really horrible under typical flourescent lighting can be transformed into something quite pleasing when viewed under the much warmer glow of incandescent light.
My experience with Kodak's Sepia and Sepia II toners with various papers is as follows:
- Adorama's house brand of cool toned papers - Not the best. This paper has a brilliant, almost blue white base that does nothing to enhance the warm tones produced by this toner. Avoid this combination. It's not at all bad, but not great, with the same emulsion on a DW fiber base. Adorama offers a warm toned paper under their house brand, but I've never tried it. It might be good.
- Agfa MCC 111 DW glossy fiber base and MCC 118 DW semi matte fiber base - Both are good, though I really like the results with MCC 118 best because the base is a very warm cream color. I've gotten a lot of compliments on prints made with this combination. The MCP 310 RC Glossy and MCP 312 RC semi matte papers are pretty good too, but the best is the MCC 118.
- Kodak Polymax fiber based papers - another nice combination, but not quite as warm as the Agfa's MCC 118 semi matte.
- Kodak's Polycontrast and older Polymax RC - not bad, but nothing to write home about either.
You don't need to work under safelight conditions. I do all my toning in the laundry room where I have running water and flourescent lighting. Never noticed any problems with fogging though I do keep the light levels lower than normal as a precaution.
Yes, the stuff stinks, but it's not overpowering and it won't make you sick if you just open a window. Don't stick your nose in the tray and breath deeply. You'll be fine.
Hardening fixer or no? Honestly, I can't tell the difference in the finished print and I've used both. The only difference I've been able to observe is that bleaching can take a bit longer with a print that's been subjected to a hardening fixer.
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Thanks for the input - its much appreciated! I am going to be trying a variety of papers that I have printed, just to see for myself how all this looks - this is going to be a trial run by a long shot!
I dilute part A as the new formulation is very fast working, I also prefer coldtone papers vs warmtone for sepia. As well try a strong selenium after you have sepia toned on a cold paper .
Ugly? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What have you got to lose, a piece of paper and a little time? You'd be in the darkroom experimenting on something else if you weren't toning this print.
I think Adorama has warm-tone paper now. They don't see fit to list any darkroom stuff in their ads any more, so I can't check at the moment.
Thank you all - my first try was a relative success. Personally, I don't think its ugly, albeit probably not the right thing for all situations. But, hey, that's why there are so many - for all tastes and applications and combinations of both!