First attempt at sepia toning
Well, I tried my first attempt at sepia toning a couple of prints done a few days ago, in Berg two stage (bleach and toner) sepia. I'm a little disappointed, and a little intrigued;
There were 4 prints total, of two different subjects; all of them came out more yellow than brown. The first print done, a portrait shot, I'm actually happy with. The shot, while lacking in artistic merit (it was really just a quick test shot done to see how my petzval handles), came out ok.
The one I'm a little disappointed in was a shot of the side of a hill and trees; it was fairly low contrast, and I thought the sepia would kick it up a notch (BAM!) but instead it seems to have retained, or even lost some of the contrast in the original scene.
I had two prints of this same neg, one about one stop lighter. The darker print seems to have done okay, but I seemed to have misunderstood something about split-toning. I only bleached to get rid of the highlights, thinking that sepia-ing them, while leaving the darker tones alone would be what increases contrast.
However, while in the bleach bath, it seemed like the denser areas of the print disappeared before the highlights did. I pulled the first print as soon as I saw this happening (the denser areas were around the periimeter of the print) and what ended up happening was that the denser areas toned, but the middle of the image with the lighter tones didn't. I may be doing them in trays that are too small, as these were 8x10 contact prints, and I was doing them in 8x10 trays.
All in all, I'm satisfied at the first baby steps. I'm gonna plan a trip to Yosemite in a few days to try and get some more negs to develop. :-)
I do have to say...I completely understand the love and devotion to the tactile sensation of developing your own film and prints. Especially prints. Watching them come up in developer, under safelight, has to be one of the most magical feelings a person can still have nowadays.
I'll post some scans of the final prints tomorrow morning, in case anyone wants a good chuckle... They're drying right now.