Here's a dilemma I'm struggling with. For a couple years, I've favored and used warm-tone papers. Why? I dunno for sure; I just kind of like the richness and warmth. I've thought this richness and warmth enhances some, but not necessarily all images.
Now I find myself gravitating back to standard neutral tone, but one of rich blacks and whites.
So I'm curious. Anyone else waffle back and forth like this? Or have you stuck with one particular type of paper, warm tone or neutral? What was the basis of your decision to stick with the particular tone you've selected?
Yes, I waffled through a big stack of papers. Here's my story and I still like the results.
Yes I have gone back and forth between neutral/cold tone and warm tone papers for longer than I am willing to admit. In my early days cold tone was provided by Agfa Brovira and warm tone was supplied by Agfa Record Rapid. But looking back on my work, past and present I seem to prefer neutral tones for landscapes and warm tones for portrait and some still life work.
My mainstay papers today are Ilford MG FB for neutral and for warm tone I use either Ilford WT or Forte Polycontrast WT.
About 2 years ago I did a series of tests comparing neutral tone papers and developers and warm tone papers and developers. I am still kicking myself for loosing the neutral tone work but did document my findings on warm tone papers and developers. I am planning to update now that I have received a bunch of papers from J & C.
I have used mostly Ilford FB and Bergger FB over the last few years. Perhaps for the last year or so I gravitated to Ilford WT and Bergger WT just because it gives me the option to tone for color change. Some images that I print I do extras of, some to tone and some not. Then I decide which I like better.
I use mostly LPD developer and when I know I will tone for sure I will use Zonal Pro Warmtone Developer.
These developers don't seem to do much until I selenuim tone but I like the color when I do.
My only problem is when I decide not to use selenium for a color change then I can't selenium tone for strickly archival purposes either due to the sensitivity of these papers to selenium.
That's where I am now, tomorrow, who knows.
Until recently I used neutral toned papers throughout my time in photography. I have recently tested the JandC Polywarmtone and it is a nice paper (for a warm tone paper). I am still drawn back to neutral toned paper however.
I have recently decided that I am moving back into graded papers exclusively. I have used Seagull VCFB for the last several years. Recently I printed on some Seagull graded paper that I had on hand and it has a richness and depth that the VC paper doesn't have.
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I'm glad to I'm not alone in facing this dilemma
Michael, seems our experiences are pretty close together.
Don, I've bounced between graded and MG paper too. I came to the realization that his was the Ansel Adams syndrome - a whole library of papers stocked on the shelf, trying to find that ultimate combination that makes a good match between paper and negative. No wonder Phil Davis went BTZS.
Essentially, I'm trying to keep things simple. I haven't gone totally to Azo contact printing yet and still have use for enlarging paper. I have been using J&C Warmtone based on Don's recommendation, but (the dilemma again) there's still much room for a neutral tone paper.
LooseGravel gave me the idea of checking on Kodak Polymax again. I used it a while back when I made the jump to FB. Noticed something I hadn't seen before. Its available in single weight and also in a warm tone (the C surface). After using Azo for a while, I've come to like the single weight (contrary to the Teachings of Ansel again). This polymax single weight is highly tempting.