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  1. #1

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    Fomatone lith prints and long toning in Selenium. A killer!

    Hi!

    Occasionally I scan internet for inspiration in general and lith prints in specific.
    My current favourite paper is Fomatone MG Classics 131 with extreme possibilities and a wide range of achievable colors. But, I canīt find these colors in the pictures on the internet. Why?
    There are more or less only the linear yellow-reddish nuances from an untoned or short toned print but really far from what is possible to get.

    Donīt if it is news for you but there is a procedure that really get Fomatone into bloom. The secret is Selenium. Eh? Ye, Selenium but during looong time in the bath which create an extended range of colors and even the lith grains develop and change their characteristics. A lot!
    I ususally fix in Ilford Hypam 1+4 for two minutes which might make sense and affect the outcome from Selenium toner.

    Most pictures seen are toned in dilute Selenium for conventional prints and archival purpose and mainly the recommended 2-6 minutes, but try else. Dilute 1:9-1:14 somewhere (or even stronger) and put the print in for 15 minutes or more. You will discover a journey in changed characteristics and it is really possible to see the change in real time.
    For instance, a typical warm yellowish Fomatone print will cool off after approx 2 minutes and turn into a tri-split cold print with grey, purplish and/or greenblue tones.
    Suddely this change again around 5 minutes and a warming up will occur with color shift towards coffee. Patience pays off and further development is to be expected. After 10-12 minutes even the grain will start to change and it will get more accentuated. Kind of...grainer but still soft. Waiting even longer and the tone will shift again and end up in a sweet sweet ginger color that is to kill for.

    In general, a softer high key print will benefit the most of this method but even a dark print will change.
    The Selenium will eventually decrease the contrast which happens in long toning sessions as well. Dark black areas will come out in a warm reddish tone but highlights will remain as llight as initially. So DONīT TOSS POOR OVERDEVELOPED PRINTS AWAY!!! It is possible to recover bad prints and you will be surprised what is achievable with Selenium.

    Note, I usually use Kodak Rapid Selenium toner and i believe there might be different compunds from different brands that affect the toning effect on lith prints. Donīt know. Donīt dare to try...hehe.


    Get into the dark room and try it! As the Master himself once stated in one of his books: "You are hereby warned!" ;-)

    Good luck!

  2. #2
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    Thanks......I've recently started using Fomatone a bit and found that you can get nice yellow/purpleish brown splits with a very brief dunk in selenium. I'll have to try this. Thanks for sharing.

  3. #3
    Robert Hall's Avatar
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    How about a nice image to show the color?
    Robert Hall
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    Technology is not a panacea. It alone will not move your art forward. Only through developing your own aesthetic - free from the tools that create it - can you find new dimension to your work.

  4. #4

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    Its lovely in gold toner too! I need to get me some selenium.

  5. #5
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Interesting about the color after toning for a long time.

    I do tone most of my prints, both conventional and lith. But I rarely use Fomatone anymore for that purpose, I usually use Fomabrom 112 or Ilford Warmtone. The Fomabrom turns extremely grainy, and the Ilford is smoother.
    I use a combination of sepia, thiourea, selenium, and (soon!) gold toners. I'm thinking about mixing my own thiocarbamide in the future, but need a few other things to click first.

    Thanks for sharing your findings. That is a good reason to come back and read these forums.

    - 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

  6. #6

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    I also love Fomatone Classic for normal printing, developed in Fomatol PW and toned in Selenium (Adox in my case) - up to two minutes for a cooling effect and intensified blacks (i like) or more than two minutes for that reddish tone that is accompanied by a decresed max black again. Never had the patience so far though to try 15 minutes or so in the toner - but i will try, thanks for that.

    Only drawback in my opinion is the relatively low sensitivity of the paper and long development times so I plan to do a comparison - fomatol + short selen vs eukobrom developer (vs Adox MCC).

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Hall View Post
    How about a nice image to show the color?
    -Robert, iīd love to but mainly printing on 12x16" papers I have made it difficult for me to find a scanner suitable for sharing my prints. I will download pictures later this year and Fomatone will contribute most in the portfolio.

  8. #8

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    Yes, it is really surprising what happens in Selenium. By curiosity I stressed the method myself earlier this spring and extended the toning times. Tim Rudman suggest toning in hot toner and I suspect the result may be similar. I have not compared yet but weīll see.

    Note, in general, lith prints are far more reactive in toner than conventional prints. Typical toning of an Ilford MGIV Fb for instance, is mainly for archival purpose with a benefit of getting rid of the greenish cast and also deeper DMax. The conventional developed paper will eventually end up in a warm(er) purplish tone and finally also decreasing contrast somewhat (eating the blacks) which is kind of cool too but this happens already within 6-8 minutes somewhere and I admit neither I do have the patience to continue since it is kind of boring and truly linear. It is not even in the same league as lith prints.

    The merging starts almost from the very beginning and you can see the colors creep from lith grain to lith grain and when grain itself starts to change in characteristics it is getting really exciting. It is very easy to snatch at certain point when you find the color attractive. Though, I recommend to use a failed print to learn how the color changes over time. Taking the best print at once you might miss the goodies beyond the point where you snatch it from the toner. Take a "bad" print and let it run for...say 20 minutes and learn what happens. Remember the time when the most attractive appearance occured and aim for that with the best picture. ...and, the failed print might even evolve to a killer after some Selenium. ;-)

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by AFlood View Post
    Its lovely in gold toner too! I need to get me some selenium.
    Yep, Iīve heard so but the only bottle I own is still unopened. Expensive stuff!

    The difference is that Gold toner affects the highlights first and Selenium the blacks. Hence, a good combo where selen tone the blacks and gold the lights with possibilities to find tri-split in a cool way.

    Yes, go get some Selenium! (...and copper toner/blech...hehe)

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    The Fomabrom turns extremely grainy, and the Ilford is smoother.
    -Thomas, do you have recommendation how to agitate the Fomabrom? I just purchased a box and will start some experiments. Iīve previously tried Forte Bromofort and it is told to share similar "problems", i.e flow lines, etc.

    I often lith print Adox Nuance Warmtone (a great paper for lith by the way) and the rather long developing times render flow marks on the paper. My "salvation" agitation method on the Nunace paper is to frequently shake/rattle the paper once in bath (with gloves of course) and also lift it up once in a while to really remove used up developer from the surface. Iīve concluded this method also gives a smoother distribution of grain which commonly is seen on many prints. Clean blue skies for instance tend to look "uneven", kind of dappled. Cool sometimes but not always.
    Having an oversized tray to enable paper to freely float around doesnīt seem to be efficient enough to kill flow marks.

    I suggest "brom" papers are worse. Any hints how to agitate?

    BTW, I heard the fixed graded Fomabrom papers appears to have better lith response than the Variant. Correct? Hm...I do have the Variant one so I hope it is the opposite.

    Ha en bra dag!
    Last edited by laparn; 09-11-2009 at 07:47 AM. Click to view previous post history.

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