Gold toner and highlight density
My question is does gold toner add highlight density to prints.....
I have use this toner very little on its own (rather more with sepia). My observations so far have been that it adds considerable density to sepia toned images as well as turn them peachy or gold dependiong upon degree of both toners.
But, for straight untoned prints, I think I have observed an increase in density like with selenium, but unlike selenium hitting the dense areas first, it seems to give a little flattening (density gain) to then highlights. Is this right? I ask as I have some prints which have already been selenium toned and have great blacks etc, but could do with a tiny amount of extra density in the highlights. Before committing, do you think a spell in gold would help take the edge of these highlights (which are obviously not paper base white, but do have an amount of tone).
Currently the prints sing in an averagely lit room. However, under direct spot illumination (such as under display conditions) they are a fraction too bright in the highlights. It is miniscule, but annoyiing me!!!!!! I'm hoping gold is the solution, preventing a reprint of 20x16s!
It's highly unlikely, with Gold toning the silver is gradually replaced by gold.
But your prints are already selenium toned, gold toner is expensive, photographic paper isn't.
Toning isn't a way of improving a poor print
Originally Posted by Ian Grant
I'm not sure this is correct. I have read comments to the effect of the Gold actually coating/plating the silver which would explain general density gain (which is definitely the result in gold and to my eye it is more across teh tonal scal than selenium, which has far more effect on shadows relative to highlights). Gold toner is expensive, but per print moderately toned, is cheaper than 20x16 Oriental Seagul paper! There is also the time involved when I have other images to print. Also, as stated the prints are perfect in a well lit room. All I am after is a miniscule flattening of the highlights for direct spot illumination a la display conditions (exhibition). I would undoubtedly keep untoned prints for sale to customers who would display in a normal room without halagon spot illumination. I often print to 2 densities for this reason, as offering a choice to the paying public ensures that you have a suitable print available for either direct or indirect illumination. A print made for direct spot illumination, will look a tad flat and dark under bright ambient conditions. Selenium and Gold work in different ways and with different results. I believe selenium works shadows up and Gold from highlights down. Selenium is often used in conjunction with gold (usualy for different reasons). I am seeking confirmation of the highlight density gain issue and asking how significant this may be with delicate highlights. I may as well just try it....it aint going to do any harm!
you are correct about selenium working from the shadows up and gold working from the hightlights down. That is why some of use both. I haven't really paid that much attention to the specific amount of change, rather than there is a different look that i like very much.
I will be in the lab tomorrow and will check some prints more carefully with regard to the highlight density. Or perhaps we will be lucky here and Les will chime in with his usual great tips. He does a lot of duel toning with these metals.
Tom is correct in my opinion. In toning with metals such as gold, palladium and platinum there is considerable evidence that the precious metals actually plate, or perhaps even replace the silver. I was involved in a rather long thread about this several months ago on a couple of other threads and during the course of the exchange of information did some testing of kallitype prints toned in palladium and platinum. The tests involved bleaching the toned kallitype prints in a strong solution of Kodak R-14. If you bleach an untoned silver print the image will bleach away to virtually nothing, but a print toned with palladium or platinum will retain up to 95% of its original density. I did not bleach any of my gold-toned kallitypes but I suspect that a well-toned gold print would fare just as well because the chemical mechanism of toning is thought to be the same as for palladium and platinum.
Originally Posted by Tom Stanworth
BTW, in my experience with toning kallitype prints, using both gold, palladium and platinum, the end result of toning is to give slightly more contrast by opening up the highlights a bit and adding density in the shadows.
Anyone seriously interested in toning silver gelatin prints should consider obtaining a copy of Tim Rudman’s The Photographer’s Toning Book. It has extensive information and also many beautiful examples of toning.
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I've not noticed a significant change in highlight tonality as a result of gold toning, I use Tetenal or Fotospeed, perhaps a different toner such as Nelson Gold may affect the highlights. As Ann says, I do a lot of split toning with selenium and gold, selenium first and that increases the contrast by darkening the lower values in the image, followed by gold which significantly affects the higher mid values and bright highlights. I usually tone the print in selenium for up to 2 hours, I've even tried it for 4 hours but got bored, followed by a wash and then another 2 hours or so in gold. These times are just a guide for I always pull the print when it's at the colour I want it. The reason for the long toning times is purely because I experimented with times and temperature many years ago and liked the results. The process takes practice to learn to recognise the right time to pull the print but it's fun and a good hi fi is essential. Once you learn to anticipate the split you can get some quite exquisite results with this combination. If you work on the basis that the selenium changes shadows first and gold affect highlights first you will soon learn to anticipate. Don't be afraid to experiment and use different strength selenium, I use 1 to 4, 1 to 9 or 1 to 15 sometimes at very high temperatures. Gold is not diluted. I never tone by time as is sometimes suggested simply because of how the toners affect shadows and highlights. How can you have a standard time for prints of widely differing tonality.
Experiment and enjoy.