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  1. #1

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    Selenium toning warm tone papers

    So - someone help me out quick. I'm finishing my printing as you're reading this on Ilford Multigrade paper and am ready to put the prints in the Selenium toner. However, for the first time ever, I also tried out some Ilford warm tone paper on a portrait type image. Wow, what a difference in tone of the image - I really like it.

    So the stupid question is - should warm tone paper also go in the Selenium toner with all the standard paper or will it screw up the image tone?

  2. #2
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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    I personally have done a lot with Ilford and other warm tone papers in selenium, I really love the color. I find that you get a stronger color shift than with the normal Ilford paper in selenium, so do watch the prints to make sure that you like the results, don't assume the same time in the toner will do, it might not.

  3. #3
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    First I would say don't put more than one print in the selenium toner at one time. You can re-use selenium toner and I encourage you to do so. It doesn't matter what paper you put in the selenium toner, one kind after another, its not going to hurt anything. As far as Ilford warmtone, I also love this paper. If you like the tone of the paper straight out of the fixer, I would recommend atleast toning in selenium diluted 1+9 for 1-2 minutes. This will give increased Dmax without altering the tone of the paper very much at all. This is what I've noticed from my experience.

  4. #4

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    It's been years since I actually made my own prints, but I agree that Ilford warm tone is beautiful by itself and selenium toned. I can't see that putting different papers in the toner together would matter much except that I always processed prints one at a time so I could watch the results (plus sometimes the prints can stick together and that's no fun).

  5. #5
    Martin Aislabie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Dozer View Post

    So the stupid question is - should warm tone paper also go in the Selenium toner with all the standard paper or will it screw up the image tone?
    Don't - at least to start with

    If you are Toning for an effect you must watch the print change colour in front of you to know when to pull it from the Toning Bath.

    Have an untoned sheet next to the toning bath for comparison - and do not stare at the print in the toner but repeatedly glance at it - your eyes quickly become accustomed to the change and don't see the gradual progressive build up of tone.

    If you are Toning to a known pre-determined time - then yes - you can tone 2 sheets at the same time - but back to back - so the print face is outward facing on both sides.

    Never tone 2 sheets with the emulsion facing the same way - you will get uneven toning and cannot recover the situation

    Good luck

    Martin

  6. #6
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I'll reinforce that you don't want to put more than one sheet in at a time for maximum control, unless you're toning for permanence with more dilute toner, in which case Martin describes well how to immerse the prints back to back for even results.

    How I do this:

    Four trays, three with water, one with selenium toner - in the sequence: water, selenium, water, water.

    I keep all the prints I want to tone in the first water bath.

    Then, one at a time with only one print in the tray at any given time, I lower the first print into the tray with selenium. I usually use it at 1+4 at about 80*F to obtain a color shift.

    I continuously agitate the tray for an even result, making sure the entire print is immersed.

    When the print is done I move it to the next tray of water, and as I do so I take the next print in the pile and put it in the selenium.

    I am careful to only use my right hand (with a nitrile glove on it) to move prints from the selenium bath, and only my left hand to move anything from water to another bath.

    About 40s into the toning of the second sheet I move the already toned print into the fourth tray, which becomes a holding bath.
    This leaves the third tray empty and ready for the next print, and then I rotate them like this until all the prints are toned to my liking.

    Then I move the prints, one by one, back to the original tray in which they were originally held.

    Finally I give the prints a good washing of about an hour in a print washer.

    Hang or lay on screens to dry after squeegee.

    I hope that helps.

    - Thomas
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  7. #7

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    Thanks guys for the advice. I went ahead and put the warm tone in the Selenium to try it out. I was surprised that it didn't change the tone as much as I had anticipated (feared). I think the dilution on my toner is getting a little weak and need to add a little more Selenium to it to juice it up.

    For what it's worth - I always do selenium toning on inspection not strictly according to time. I have a try with untoned prints soaking in water next to the selenium and when the color change looks right to me I pull it. For my toner, that ranges from normally between 2 and 5 minutes depending on the paper type. I was concerned about this Ilford Warm Tone paper because I had never used it before and the color looked so good pre-toning, I didn't want to really change it.

    I tried two identical warm tone prints - one for 2 1/2 minutes and one for 5 minutes and the colors look pretty much the same. However, with the cold tone paper, the color has a more definite color shift with times up to 5 minutes. What is my dilution on my toner? I don't know and does it really matter? I don't think so. Also, I only tone one print in the tray at a time. There must have been confusion on that from my original question.

    Attached is the print in question in case anyone is interested. Hope the warm tone color reads well on your monitors.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails victoria 31 warm.small.jpg  

  8. #8
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Well, dilution does matter. Stronger dilution tends to produce more of a color shift and weaker dilutions don't really change the tone much, but may neutralize a slight green tint you get with MGWT, especially if you process in neutral/warm tone developers such as Dektol or Ilford Multigrade.

    I find that if I use Ilford Multigrade warmtone I get a color shift after about 30 seconds with 1+4 dilution at about 80*Fahrenheit. At 1+9 I don't get much of a tone shift.
    I have tried regular MIGV as well, but don't get any color shift at all, other than perhaps just a slight increase in black density, and may get a hair cooler (I'm not sure about the latter yet).

    As long as you like the results - good going.

    Try the multi tray method I use. Once you get into a rhythm you can really churn out some prints. It's efficient.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  9. #9
    Colin Corneau's Avatar
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    All good advice. I've noticed you have to find what works for you, and only work gets you that.

    I have noticed Ilford's WT paper tones a lot more dramatically and more quickly than their regular stock, but that's just my observation.

  10. #10
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brian steinberger View Post
    As far as Ilford warmtone, I also love this paper. If you like the tone of the paper straight out of the fixer, I would recommend atleast toning in selenium diluted 1+9 for 1-2 minutes. This will give increased Dmax without altering the tone of the paper very much at all. This is what I've noticed from my experience.
    Thanks. Untoned Ilford MG Warmtone developed in Dektol is as beautiful an image color as I've ever seen. I've been worried about how to tone it without it going too cold on me.

    What happens if you tone it too long? Do the colors get all magenta or do you just lose the warmth?

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