View Full Version : selenium toning

jonathan smith
24-Mar-2006, 11:19
When using selenium to tone prints, should the fixer used (before the toner) be used only for selenium? In other words, is it OK to use the same batch of fixer for both prints that are going to be selenium toned as well as non-toned?

Also, does anyone out there combine brown toner and selenium to achieve a polytoner-like effect? If so, do you use to seperate baths (brown and selenium) or do you physically mix the two toners in the same tray? Is it safe to do this?

Thanks- Jon

Dean Cookson
24-Mar-2006, 11:35
Yes, it's okay to use the same fixer for both sets of prints. Ideally though, you should be two-bath fixing all of your prints. *Especially* the ones you're going to tone. Selenium is great for calling attention to improper fixing technique by staining your prints.

On the second question, I highly recommend picking up The Photographer's Toning Book (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0817454659/ref=wl_it_dp/002-0102995-2531253) by Tim Rudman. All you ever wanted to know about toning prints.

Scott Davis
24-Mar-2006, 11:35
If you're using the fixer BEFORE the toner, then it really doesn't matter as far as the fixer is concerned what you do afterwards. The only way I'd make a distinction is if you are planning on using a hardening fixer for the untoned prints. Then I would use two separate fixers, one with hardener for the untoned prints, one without hardener for prints you plan to tone. Using a hardener in your fixer will make it very difficult to tone your prints and/or unpredictably alter the tone you achieve. I once tried to use Berg's Brown toner on prints that had been fixed in hardening fixer. Instead of a brown-to-copper tone, I got PINK, and a partial solarization in certain highlight areas. It worked ok for that particular image, but it was NOT what I was expecting or wanting. To tell the difference between a hardening and non-hardening fixer, the easiest way is if the fixer says "Rapid" in the description, it probably is a hardening fixer. Kodak Rapid Fixer is sort-of an exception to this. If you mix it according to directions, it is a hardening fixer. However, Kodak is very nice and separates the hardening agent into a separate bottle, so you don't have to incorporate it if you don't want to. The hardening agent is Sulfuric Acid. Some examples of other non-hardening fixers are Photographers Formulary TF4, Ilford Hypam, Heico NH5.

If you want to tone in more than one type of toner, this is called split toning. It can be done quite successfully, but it requires considerable patience, because each toner should be done separately, and you will need to experiment with multiple prints to determine which combination of toners, at which duration in each toner, gives you the result you desire. Do NOT mix toners in the same bath - while most are relatively safe individually, you don't want to take risks of creating potentially toxic fumes by combining solutions whose chemical interactions you are not knowledgeable of.

Glenn Thoreson
25-Mar-2006, 22:58
I use selenium and Kodak Brown toners. Don't mix 'em! Be sure to use Perma Wash after fixing and after each toning sequence. You can vary the times in each toner to get many effects. I'm still experimenting but have gotten some nice results. Go for it!