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  1. #1

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    Split toning. Selenium/Sepia

    Forgive me if this has been done to death.

    I am trying to get down a look I like where the shadows and mid tones are untouched and a slight sepia tone in the high lights.

    I am using Ilford WT Glossy FB and I toned in Selenium 1:9 for about 4 minutes. Not much color change but I figured the shadows and mid-tones were protected. Washed well and bleached until i could see the highlights lighten then washed again. The sepia tone took to the highlights and much of the mid tones and maybe even further which is what I did not want. So after another wash I decided to go into selenium again. This time everything turned very brown. So my question any suggestions? Should I have just let the selenium go longer? Does anyone have a procedure or recommendation of a particular toner that works better for what i am trying to achieve.?

    Any comments or opinions are greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Bob Carnie's Avatar
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    First off your dilution and time will advance too far into the image with the selenium and its hard to sepia over that.

    I use a dilute bleach and sepia , and then use selenium to tone the shadows.

    so , sepia for highlights first , then selenium for shadows, with the Ilford WT once you do this it will be very hard to keep the shadows and midtones nueutral and you may want to dilute the selenium or shorten your time. In my darkroom the shadows would pick up a reddish cast with your method.

    Quote Originally Posted by padraigm View Post
    Forgive me if this has been done to death.

    I am trying to get down a look I like where the shadows and mid tones are untouched and a slight sepia tone in the high lights.

    I am using Ilford WT Glossy FB and I toned in Selenium 1:9 for about 4 minutes. Not much color change but I figured the shadows and mid-tones were protected. Washed well and bleached until i could see the highlights lighten then washed again. The sepia tone took to the highlights and much of the mid tones and maybe even further which is what I did not want. So after another wash I decided to go into selenium again. This time everything turned very brown. So my question any suggestions? Should I have just let the selenium go longer? Does anyone have a procedure or recommendation of a particular toner that works better for what i am trying to achieve.?

    Any comments or opinions are greatly appreciated.

  3. #3
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I second Bob's advice.

    I do the sepia first, using a very dilute bleach (1:10) for about 40 seconds (depending on how dark the print is; darker = more bleach time) with constant agitation. Rinse thoroughly, dunk in sepia for two minutes. Wash for 15 minutes. Then I use warm (75-80*F) selenium at about 1:20 to neutralize the otherwise slightly green shadows of MGWT. Be careful at this stage, because when you take the paper out of the selenium, it will continue to develop in the wash water, especially if the wash water is slightly warm. Some trial and error required.

    Like Bob says, it is very tricky to keep both shadows and mid-tones neutral like this, but it can be done. My favorite paper for this, Forte Polygrade, is sadly no longer here. But Ilford MGWT is great too.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

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  4. #4
    Katie's Avatar
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    I, too, Sepia first, then Selenium. Based on info from Thomas and Ian. They know what they are talking about!

  5. #5
    Derek Lofgreen's Avatar
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    I split tone a lot of my prints too. But I selenium tone them and then sepia. I dilute my selenium 1:30 and tone for about 4 minutes. Then wash. When I sepia tone I only leave in the bleach to clear the highlights ever so slightly, so only about 15 sec or so in the bleach, then into the sepia tone for 2 min. It gives a great depth and keeps the shadows black but the highlights are just a touch brown. Hope it helps.

    D.
    My Photography Site www.lofgreenimages.com and My Blog

  6. #6

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    Thank you all so much for your input. I will def try it out.

  7. #7
    Marco B's Avatar
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    Toning to completion with a dual sepia / selenium toning stage, and keeping a more or less neutral tone with just slight sepia tone in the highlights, is impossible with Ilford MG warmtone in my experience. Ilford's Warmtone papers just responds to strongly to toners for that. You can do partial tonings with very dilute sepia bleach and selenium toner like the others above all suggested, but even than it will be a lot more difficult than with some other paper types.

    For more controlled toning responses, and toning to completion with quite neutral tones, the "normal" Ilford MGIV FB is the easiest choice.
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  8. #8

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    You may find that a light bleach, wash, re-develop, wash, dilute selenium sequence gives you a better result. WTFB will change colour with a bleach and redevelop which is less obtrusive than sepia.

    A lot depends on the sepia toner recipe as well. Write down everything - temperature, dilutions, time, and secondary colour change (dried) - or you will never duplicate it. I speak from experience 8-)
    I feel, therefore I photograph.

  9. #9
    paulie's Avatar
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    i use a sulphide brown toner and sel. sel first for about 1 min i 1-20 and the a drop or two of sulphide in a tray of water and your done

  10. #10
    brian steinberger's Avatar
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    I agree with Marco, try Ilford MGIV. Sepia tone first, then selenium. Make sure you dilute your bleach and bleach until you see the slightest lightening of your highlights. Wash and tone, then into selenium for 4-6 minutes at 1:9. This is a wonderful combination when blacks need to stay coolish black.

    The problem with MGWT is that when you sepia tone first, not matter how subtle, the bleach also affects the other areas of the print, you just cannot see it. Because of this once into the selenium the toning action moves swiftly to brownish red very quickly (which is beautiful in its own right!). I have had luck achieving a split tone with a very very short bleach then develop in sepia, wash and the tone for 1 min in selenium at 1:19. This keeps the shadows rather warmish black. Any more time and the image would take off going too warm. I've been experimenting with toning in selenium first with MGWT, 2-4 minutes at 1:19, then subtle sepia toning over the highlights. I find this works better for a split tone on MGWT, but make sure you wash in between sepia and selenium.

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