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Thread: Iron Blue Toner

  1. #1
    Marco Fantin
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    Iron Blue Toner

    I experimented with iron blue toner and liked some of the results. The brilliancy of the tones is unlike anything I have ever seen. It definitely has some uses.

    Here are some of the results; they are all scans of 8x10 contact prints.

    I made a youtube video/tutorial about the process.

    Any comment or critique is highly appreciated.



    Full toning:


    Partial toning:






    A blog post with plenty of details at this link.
    My Youtube Channel - Darkroom and large format tutorials

  2. #2
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Iron Blue Toner

    Great images!

    I have not seen the video yet, but I use to make iron blue toner (T-12) for our students occasionally. Pulled the formula out of Elementary Photographic Chemistry, Eastman Kodak Company, 1941 Edition. Ferric Ammonium citrate, Oxalic acid, and Potassium ferricyanide...4 grams each to make a liter (all mixed separately, then combined). Sweet, but there was not a lot of call for it.

    Edited: Nice video!

    I see that T-12 is about half-strength of marcookie's. For T-12, toning time is "10 to 15 minutes until the desired tone is obtained. Then wash until highlights are clear."

    The bridge image is stellar...perfect toning.
    Last edited by Vaughn; 7-Apr-2020 at 19:10.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  3. #3

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    Re: Iron Blue Toner

    I like toning better than making cyanotypes, as you can still get a black Dmax if you pull print early...

    Don't have the details handy now, but there is a variation where the print is dipped in a borax solution during toning to produce a colder steel blue/grey tone also...

    Steve K

  4. #4
    Between here and there
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    Re: Iron Blue Toner

    Looks gorgeous! I have done cyanotypes (only trials as yet) on the Adox Baryta paper and they look rather similar to the full toning example.
    "Be still and allow the mud to settle."

  5. #5
    Marco Fantin
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    Re: Iron Blue Toner

    Quote Originally Posted by LabRat View Post
    I like toning better than making cyanotypes, as you can still get a black Dmax if you pull print early...

    Don't have the details handy now, but there is a variation where the print is dipped in a borax solution during toning to produce a colder steel blue/grey tone also...

    Steve K
    Washing in 0.1% borax will slowly fade the color to blue gray, and eventually revert the color back to pure silver (after very extended washing). If you attempt, make sure to thoroughly dissolve the borax; it takes a lot of time, and a single undissolved crystal will ruin the image (it happened)..
    My Youtube Channel - Darkroom and large format tutorials

  6. #6

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    Re: Iron Blue Toner

    great work. Have you tried more diluted chemistry or changing the ratios to alter tone? And would bleaching after the toning still impact the highlight areas or does it alter the blue too?
    Adventure is worthwhile in itself. ... Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn't be done. -- Amelia Earhart
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  7. #7
    Marco Fantin
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    Re: Iron Blue Toner

    Quote Originally Posted by esearing View Post
    great work. Have you tried more diluted chemistry or changing the ratios to alter tone? And would bleaching after the toning still impact the highlight areas or does it alter the blue too?
    I have tried the toner at about 50% once. It did not reach the full toning after several minutes, and seemed to have stopped.

    I am not sure about bleaching.. it would for sure bleach any remaining silver metal, and I would bet it would alter the color as well. The blue toner appear to be really sensitive in several aspects: it gets weaker quickly, and the color can change simply by washing too long or washing with water at different pH levels. I would not be surprised if bleaching would alter the color.
    My Youtube Channel - Darkroom and large format tutorials

  8. #8

    Re: Iron Blue Toner

    IIRC from Tim Rudman’s books bleaching will strip most direct toners off the print. So save the Iron Blue, Copper, etc. for the last step.
    --- Steve from Missouri ---

  9. #9
    bob carnie's Avatar
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    Re: Iron Blue Toner

    I have had untold failures and some success when I used Iron Blue Toner.... to the point that I moved to tricolour gum over palladium... the failures were too much for me to handle after printing, sepia, gold, selenium and then Iron Blue.. Drove me absolutely crazy.Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Camera 3.jpg 
Views:	38 
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ID:	202477here is one example that worked for me I think.

  10. #10
    Marco Fantin
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    Re: Iron Blue Toner

    Quote Originally Posted by bob carnie View Post
    I have had untold failures and some success when I used Iron Blue Toner.... to the point that I moved to tricolour gum over palladium... the failures were too much for me to handle after printing, sepia, gold, selenium and then Iron Blue.. Drove me absolutely crazy.Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Camera 3.jpg 
Views:	38 
Size:	100.4 KB 
ID:	202477here is one example that worked for me I think.
    I agree that it is a tough toner, especially to get reproducible results. I read in the book by Eddie Ephraums that he had to stick three prints side by side on a single sheet of plastic and soak them together, side by side, to get the same toning and washing.
    My Youtube Channel - Darkroom and large format tutorials

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