""AS for the toning of the highlights, this could be a result of the combinatio of the warm tone paper and the particular sepia toner.""
This isn't correct. It doesn't matter what paper/sepia toner combination you used. Even though you might not think there was exposure, unless your highlights are bullet proof, some exposure will get there, and the sepia will interact with what little density there is. That is why you are seeing what you are.
In all actuallity you do not need to wash so long between the fix and the bleach/sepia. In fact, having a little fix can speed up the bleaching process, although I don't reccomend that as a "tool" unless you always do your toning the same way so you can get consistant results. I only rinse my prints for 1 minute before I put them in the bleach...under a fast stream of water. And there's a lot of things you can do to further expand the possibilities of sepia toning. Here are a few ideas:
1)Play with the amount of Ferricyanide you use in relation to the Bromide (the bleach part...part A). Kodaks formula was 50-60% ferricyanide to 40-50% Bromide. Doubleing up the ferricyanide will speed up the bleach time.
2)The amount of bleach time determines how much the sepia will tone. A quick bath will tone only the highlights and upper mid-tomnes, leaving the deeper tones and shadows unchanged. You can then use a selenium toner for the lower tones to achieve split tone look.
3)Bleach and fix several times before you do the last bleach/tone. You can control what values have what color, from a tanish color in the upper highs to sepia in the mid tones to dark brown (or purple if you use selenium like in #2) in the shadows.
Thanks for the tips and comments. Yes, it may indeed also be simply a matter of a slight exposure to the supposedly "unexposed" parts. Obviously, the toning is more revealing than a possible very light grey toning on my paper.
I will test this by running a few pieces of unexposed paper through my developer baths straight from their package, so without exposing them under my enlarger, keeping possible illumination to an absolute minimum. After that, if the papers are still being toned, either my package of paper has somehow been exposed (which I doubt, because I have seen the possible effects of that... and I always keep paper stuffed in the closed package, I only take out a piece of paper when I really need it), or Jim was right and paper can somehow slightly be toned depending on paper and toner used.
"Dan: Up to yesterday, when I bought the last issue of
Black & White Photography and read your comments, I was
unaware that it was possible to test for remaining silver in
"finished" prints, or to test for remaining sulphide
In the B&W issue, Silverprint advertised with a test for the
latter. I will definitely buy such a test soon, as I want to
make sure I'm up to "archival" standards with my prints."
For residual silver the ST-1 test is used. It is a toning test
which uses a very dilute sodium sulfide solution. See page 4 of
the following. www.silverprint.co.uk/PDF/Rapid_fixer.pdf
Be sure to read all of the Silver Concentration paragraph. You'll
see that your silver levels exceed even those of commercial
standards. So, you've a long long way to go to meet
For residual fixer the HT-2 test is used. Also a toning test.
Silver in the test solution will be toned by any sulfur left
in the emulsion. To approach archival levels the test
should show NO stain what so ever.
"However, up to now, I have been doing an indirect test by
testing my fixing bath silver content using two methods ....
- Tetenal test strips ... show the ... silver content in g/liter
- Amaloco X10 fluid indicator that turns milky white if the
fixing bath is exhausted."
"The X10 was recommended to me by a number of fellow
Dutch photographers as an accurate way of testing the
fixate. From my experience up to now and comparison with
the Tetenal strips, the X10 shows the fixing bath to be
exhausted somewhere between 2 - 3 g/liter silver
content (closer to 3 I think).
Strangely, the Tetenal included instructions did not
indicate a threshold value for an exhausted fixing bath...
So I had to compare to X10 to determine that."
"Up to now, I have seen no indication of "bad" or
inadequate fixation in any of my archived prints,
so it seems to be good."
Perhaps you are safe but single bath fixing and those very
high silver levels leave you far from archival. Dan
I think you will find that there was a very slight, almost unoticeable, gray tone in the highlights of the original print. Sepia toning makes this much more noticeable. You may have had just a little bit of fog on the paper, either from age or too much safelight exposure. Another possibility is that the prints were not completely fixed and washed. Any silver or silver thiosulfate complex left in the print will get toned. Fixing and washing are much more critical for prints that are to be toned. While we are at this, I would recommend a non-hardening fixer, like F-24 or F-34 for prints that are going to be toned. Unhardened prints wash more easily and usually tone better.
Again thanks for all the answers, I've learned a lot. I indeed still think I may have more of a darkroom safety issue, and slight fogging on my prints before toning, than a real fixing issue. Dan's reference to the Ilford document, with solid guidelines for max. silver levers in fixing bath, was very useful. However, I think haven't been doing that much wrong, because although I wrote that X-10 would indicate an exhausted bath at the - to high - 2 to 3 g/l level, I have never gone that far, and used a save margin. I have been taking into account paper usage as well, and that means I have usually refreshed my fixing bath well below the 2 g/l silver level, which should be save according to the Ilford document for medium term and commercial permanence. Well, maybe not an archival 150 years, but I would be interested to know how many people actually refresh their fixer at a max. level of 0.5 g/l, as would be required for that according to the Ilford document...
Anyway, as stated in my last post above, I do intend on running a few further test to determine a possible cause (whether bad fixing or fogging due to safelight). It may be sometime before I can report on the results...
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There are many who do that well and better.
Originally Posted by Marco B
A TWO bath fix is the norm and what you need
for great milage and archival results.
BTW, the HT-2 test, a silver for sulfur test,
is to be made after all washing and drying. It is
a test for Hypo levels remaining in the emulsion.
As Hypo and silver must and do go together
it is safe to assume that if Hypo remains
so does some silver.
Did you notice that silver levels are volumetric?
Did you notice that no mention of dilutions or brand
or type of fixer is made? Of course it's an Ilford PDF
so an easy matter to infer ... But it turns out to
be a very inclusive statement with regard to
fixers and their capacity.
As long as there is the chemistry present to fix
well, sodium or ammonium, brand x, y, or z, dilution
whatever, the capacity per unit volume remains the
same. Ilford's archival limit is 0.5 grams/liter. Dan