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  1. #1

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    Selenium toning prints + printing lighter

    I've read references that selenium toner deepens blacks but also increases contrast. Does everybody print lighter and at a lower contrast grade when going to selenium toner? I've seen that people sometimes selenium tone prints days and even weeks after making them and that makes me wonder how they know what the final print will look like? It seems like the only way is to make a bunch of different prints at varying exposures and then toning and taking the best one, but that seems like a waste of paper and time and you'll always settle for a print that isn't as good as it could be.

    Is there a certain formula for knowing how much lighter to print or how much lower your contrast grade should be when you know your going to tone in selenium, kind of like a dry down compensation?

  2. #2
    Ole
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    It all depends on the paper, I'm afraid. One paper I use has to be printed very dull and lifeless, then opens up wonderfully in selenium toner and gives brilliant highlights and deep, velvety blacks. Another seems to loose a little density and contrast...
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  3. #3

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    I don't use selenium much, but have in the past. my experience is that it (in general) will darken prints, there is some control of this based on toner concentration, and paper type. The reality is that the toning process has some variance built into it. If you want to be more accurate, you could make a bunch of test strips of an image, and tone to each strip at a different time. You could then quick wash and dry them. Look at them under the light source of your choosing and make the judgement call.
    I tone all my prints (I use Nelsons gold toner), this is the method I use. Even the, there is always some variation from print to print.
    (Nelsons, BTW will make increase contrast by darkening the blacks, but will have an increasing bleaching affect on the midtones and highlights based on time in the toner. Go figure).
    Don Sigl
    www.drs-fineartphoto.com

  4. #4
    Jon Shiu's Avatar
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    You just need to experiment and use experience. The reason being that every image is different and I personally can't tell which version is best until they are finished. So, I print several versions taking 5% exposure time off successive "final" prints. I don't think you need to lower contrast.

    Jon
    Last edited by Jon Shiu; 10-18-2006 at 07:48 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Mendocino Coast Black and White Photography: www.jonshiu.com

  5. #5

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    Since selenium can be counted upon to darken blacks you need to be careful not to print your blacks overly dark.
    Claire (Ms Anne Thrope is in the darkroom)

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    Thanks!

  7. #7
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Toner also changes the image tone (aha!) of papers. I've been printing on Nuance graded paper recently and found out that while toner (KRST 1+19) did not add much contrast to my print, it could alter the tone significantly, from cold to neutral to warm, as time of toning increases. I find that a warm tone photo has less apparent contrast than a neutral one, so that it makes it a little softer.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

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  8. #8

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    Do what I did. I made prints with stepwedges, then I tone different ways and reference to the base print.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by vet173 View Post
    Do what I did. I made prints with stepwedges, then I tone different ways and reference to the base print.
    Can you elaborate?

  10. #10
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    I have found that selenium only seems to affect the dark tones. I do not make any density adjustments for selinum toning. A slight kick in the blacks for me is a good thing, I have never seen selenium muddy down the shadows.
    When printing with papers to Sepia tone, there are those who make the print slightly darker and flatter to compensate for the bleaching effect of Part A.
    I do not change the print very much as I use a very diluted bleach A and then tone with part B. As well I then Selenium on top of this.
    I believe that the Sepia toner protects the highlights and midtones and the selenium protects the shadows for greater permance. *Tim Rudman may want to jump in here*
    The combination of light sepia and strong selenium on a cold tone paper is one of my favorite looks .

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