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  1. #1
    Marco B's Avatar
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    Question regarding Sepia toning

    Hi all,

    I have just today, for the very first time in my life, sepia toned an image. I was absolutely *** thrilled *** to see the results! Although I have been printing my own images on RC, and now almost exclusively on FB, paper for some three years now, it more or less felt like finally receiving my analog photography "driving" licence ;-)

    What craftmanships are lost in the digital revolution?... Shame (or pity?) on those former analog photographers that completely turned digital and closed their darkroom for ever... Printing this way in my darkroom is so much more satisfactory.

    Anyway, I have one question:
    Before attempting my "first sepia", I have created 5 almost identical FB prints based on a single negative, just some slight variations in exposure to test the effect of the toning.
    I kept two of the images untoned, for comparison.
    When all 5 prints were doing their final wash in fresh running water, I noticed there was a slight, barely noticeable (I noticed it just in comparison to the untoned images) brown toning even on the *unexposed* parts of the toned images, compared to the untoned ones.

    My question:
    Is this normal? Or is this the result of a possible incomplete fixation? I regularly check my fixate, and nothing seems to be wrong. Fixation times have also been more than OK... What causes this, or is this indeed normal and does the toning also slightly affect the unexposed white parts of a photo?

    I did make one mistake. I have thrown the first of the three images I toned straight from the bleaching bath into the toning bath (well, I guess a bad habit from the normal printing practice ;-) , where you do not have to wash inbetween the baths). I have actually not seen any detrimental effects in the final image quality, but admitably my toning bath is slightly contaminated with the bleach bath. Can this be a cause, or am I worrying about nothing?

    Cheers,

    Marco

  2. #2

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    Marco, what paper are you using for sepia toning?

  3. #3
    Marco B's Avatar
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    Hi John,

    I have been using my last "stock" of AGFA Multicontrast MC111 FB paper. The toner was AMALOCO T-10 Sepiton, I think it's actually a dutch brand that makes this (I am living in the Netherlands), so you may not know it.

  4. #4
    Marco B's Avatar
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    Two additional remarks:
    - The paper was the "Glossy" variant.
    - As the instructions that came with the T-10 Sepiton clearly stated that it could be used with day- or normal electric light, I have indeed been doing so, so I have not been toning in subdued "dark-room" type of light.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco B
    Hi all,gMy question:
    Is this normal? Or is this the result of a possible
    incomplete fixation? I regularly check my fixate, and
    nothing seems to be wrong. Fixation times have also
    been more than OK... Marco
    And how do you check your fixate? Do you use a two
    bath fixate? Do you check your prints using the ST-1
    sulfide test for residual silver? Dan

  6. #6
    Jim Noel's Avatar
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    The only danger in going directly from the bleach to the toner is the rapid deteriation of the toner. I am not familiar with th brand you used, but all bleach - redevlop toners are similar.

    Be sure you thoroughly wash the prints prior to bleaching. This will help eliminate uneven toning or spotting. 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.

    Since toning has really turned you on to the darkroom look for Tim Rudman's Toning Book.

    Normal room light is the thing to use with sepia so that the progress may be easily monitored.
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Films NOT Dead - Just getting fixed![/FONT]

  7. #7
    bill schwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marco B
    Is this normal? Or is this the result of a possible incomplete fixation?
    Marco,

    Although I do not have experience with the paper you are printing on, could it be wash times? Very often if I have an underwashed image when going to toning, I will get a staining of the highlights and white borders. This seems to happen more often with warmer tone papers.

    Normally I follow this procedure:

    - Wash for 45 minutes to an hour after fixing.
    - Hypo-clear bath, then short rinse.
    - Bleach bath at a dilution of 1:9
    - 1-2 minute rinse
    - Toning bath
    - 1-2 minute rinse

    Many times I will repeat the last 4 steps several times while building the tone I desire. After I am satisfied with the tone I go to a rinse of about 10 minutes before going into a very diluted hardening bath. I then go through a normal archival wash before drying and mounting. I use the hardening bath as a resolution to the problem I was having with the paper I print on continuing to tone even after washing. The slight hardening bath was suggested and it works very well.

    Bill

  8. #8
    dlin's Avatar
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    The bleached print is somewhat sensitive to light. The bleaching procedure rehalogenates the silver in your print, which is why you can redevelop it in toner or another developer. Try doing your toning procedure under very low intensity tungsten lighting or even safelight conditions. Avoid any flourescent lighting or direct daylight.

    All the best,
    Daniel

  9. #9
    Marco B's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    Thanks for the answers. Some specific responses:

    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 (inadequate washing). 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.

    However, up to now, I have been doing an indirect test by testing my fixing bath silver content using two methods (just to be sure):
    - Tetenal test strips that show the actual 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.

    Bill:
    I have washed the prints for some 45 minutes in running 20 degrees celcius water before (and after) toning. Actually, I do not have "stains", the coloration is only very slight and completely uniform over the unexposed parts of the print. So it isn't also an issue in terms of easthetics, actually, it fits the print. I was just worried and curious how it came about, since I would not have expected coloration in parts that were supposed to be "silver-free".

    My conclusion up to now, considering responses:
    I think the coloration is normal, especially taking into account what Jim said:

    "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."

    I think indeed it may simply be caused by my particular toner / paper combination. I may be doing a test in "darkroom" type situation soon as a final test to be absolutely sure, in combination with a print type test as suggested by Dan.

    If anyone has something else to remark or contribute, it is of course still welcome... I have included the toned image below for all of you to enjoy (well, hopefully ;-)...) Please note that my scanner still needs proper calibrating, so the scanned image looks a bit more redish and colourful than the original sepia toned print.

    My personal homepage: Beam of Light

    Marco


  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by dlin
    The bleached print is somewhat sensitive to light.Daniel
    The bleached IMAGE is more precise. By bleach time there is
    not to be any other silver present. Dan

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