toning, drying at home
well... i'm safely returned from paris, with a box of prints ready to mess with. i'm gonna do some toning (on the kitchen counter) and have a few questions for the home darkroom gang...
1. i have the fotospeed sepia kit -- how do i know when the toner is exhausted... and what do i do with it? down the sink? if it's not exhausted, can i re-bottle and use later?
2. do i need to refix?
3. how do you dry at home -- hang 'em on a washing line?
4. how do you flatten yr. prints?
1. I've not used the Fotospeed kit, but in general as toners become depleted, the symptom is that it takes progressively longer to achieve a given color change. So when the time required to achieve the color you are looking for exceeds your patience in waiting for that change, then your toner is exhausted. Until then, put it in a bottle for reuse. I've found that heating the solution a bit makes up for partial depletion. In our area, its acceptable to dispose of ordinary darkroom chemicals by dumping them down the drain, but you may want to check with your local regulations.
2. You don't need to refix, but it is a good idea to rinse toned prints in hypoclear since some toners contain fixer (especially selenium - it contains ammonium thiosulfate).
3. I dry my prints face down on fiberglass screens. I know that some people hang them from a line - that's fine if you have a wide border because you will almost certainly crimp the corner where you attach it to the line. Some people simply place their prints on dry cotton towels
4. I use a heat press to flatten prints, but an alternate is to put them under a stack of books for a few days.
The fotospeed sepia is an odourless variety so OK for the kitchen from a smell point of view. However I would be reluctant to use chemicals in the food area in general and thiourea is a known carcinogen (can induce cancer) so be careful, be clean and thorough. It has not been shown to pose a risk when used conventionally for print toning AFAIK, but chemicals and food are a no no mix in general.
You can rebottle.
It will stop working well when getting exhausted. When you think this is happening, replace it rather than squeeze the last molecule out of it as highlight re development will suffer.
You don't need to re-fix provided you tone to the end point. If you pull early from the toner there will be undeveloped silver halide left and this will 'print out' in daylight over time unless you fix. In this case fixing may also lighten the print so I would never snatch early from the toner (unless after a special bleach look effect)
On the other hand you don't need to bleach fully and often the best results are from partial bleaching in a more highly diluted bleach. Then you keep the blacks black instead of brown and have a black/brown split, which can be v attractive. Its all a matter of preference though, not right or wrong.
Do make sure the prints are hypo-cleared and well washed before the bleach though, or tonal loss may occur.
I prefer to dry hanging. Others prefer screens. There are good reasons for either, but either will do fine.
Also, you may see a whitish deposit on the surface when the prints dry. This can scuff and mark and become more obvious with handling. If so, rinse in water with a little stop bath added and rewash.
Have fun. There are lots of little tricks you can apply to sepia toning to modify your results, but it is a very easy process.
Thank you Louie and Tim,
Guess I'm officially evicted from the kitchen and will move on over to the bathroom!
I meant to ask, will the bleach become exhausted, too? Is it the same principle at work... once it stops working then I know it's exhausted?
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
I saw a clip of a Russian photographer - Alexi Titarenko - toning some prints (film was showing at his photo exhibit in Cobh last month). Didn't look like he was soaking them entirely, just sort of selectively sploshing something (the bleach bit??) in the area he was working on, and then rinsing it straight away. He had something that looked like a mini-mop!
I made loads of extra prints, so I look forward to experimenting!
you can re use the bleach, it last a long time and the times will just slow down
selective bleaching may be what you saw, hard to tell
The bleach just gets slower Catherine. But if you start out with v dilute bleach don't work it too hard. You may find that redeveloping in the toner becomes poor. I suspect the bromide (the bit needed for redevelopment) runs out before the ferri component (the bleaching bit) stops working, - just my theory though.
Originally Posted by fluffy_penguins
Yes, you can bleach selectively. The toner then only tones the areas bleached.
Catherine. If you want to see what can be done in terms of different combinations get Tim Rudman's book:"The Photographer's Master Printing Course" It has a very comprehensive section on toning which is well illustrated.
To which I would add "The Photographer's Toning Book" also by Tim.
Originally Posted by pentaxuser
N'ah. I have a better idea.
Tim: come back to Ireland immediately. We miss you.
The lith printing course up in Dublin was great. Next time... come to Cork. The weather is warmer. (Har har... it's freeeeezing here).
just give the word fluffy ;-)
Originally Posted by fluffy_penguins