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Thread: A starting-point guide to Marshall's spotting dyes and Ilford Warmtone Fiber

  1. #1

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    A starting-point guide to Marshall's spotting dyes and Ilford Warmtone Fiber

    Print spotting techniques vary. Fade-proof India ink used to be used (maybe still is) by many leading photographers, using an extremely fine stippling technique to darken areas larger than a small point. Done well, at normal viewing distance one only sees it with close examination.

    The venerable Spotone dye has not been made for many years. Marshall's still makes some, but the two don't blend in solution; you use one or the other.
    For newcomers using Marshall's (like me), I offer at least a starting point for attempting to match color/tone with the paper I use mainly, for areas in which a lighter-than-black spotting is needed. This can only be very general; variables abound, especially with the addition of toning. If anyone has more precise recipes, please post!

    For untoned WTF, try
    5 drops of Neutral Black
    4 drops of Blue Black
    3 drops of Selenium Brown
    to 1 drop of Brown (strong stuff!)

    Because with the VC papers selenium toner affects the darker values more than the lighter, fairly full toning may indicate two recipes for spotting dye.
    For rich brown tones resulting from toning in about 1:5 selenium toner for several minutes, for the darker values try
    3 drops of Neutral Black
    1 drop of Blue Black
    1 Drop of Brown

    For the middle and higher values, and for more dilute toning solutions (such as 1:19) where toning is not carried so far, the following may get you in the ballpark:
    4 drops of Neutral Black
    1 drop of Blue Black
    1 drop of Brown
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/156933346@N07/

  2. #2

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    Re: A starting-point guide to Marshall's spotting dyes and Ilford Warmtone Fiber

    I have a bit different approach. Since I use different papers and tone to varying extents, one color recipe just wont work.

    I keep wells of the separate colors in a dimpled palette (looks kind of like a mini egg carton with wells for the colors). Four of the wells have fairly concentrated Spottone dyes, a bit of distilled water and a drop or two of gum Arabic.

    When spotting, I'll take a brushful of the dominant color I need and add to it from the other wells, mixing and adding water till I get the shade and tone I need. When I move on to another print, I'll add what I need to the working well or mix up a new one.

    After spotting a group of prints, I just let the dyes dry out in the palette. The next time I need to spot, I just need to add water (I've got an eyedropper bottle with distilled water along with my dyes, etching scalpel and other retouching supplies).

    I've never used the Marshall's dyes and likely won't have to. I've got enough Spottone to last me a while...

    Best

    Doremus

  3. #3
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: A starting-point guide to Marshall's spotting dyes and Ilford Warmtone Fiber

    I use the Marshall equivalents of Spot Tone. For all my FB MGWT needs, which include those toned with gold chloride, selenium, and sulfides (often split-toned), all I need is Neutral Black, Selenium Brown, and a small amount of Olivetone if dealing with warmer splits. There is no set ratio, because it varies with every single print, and even different portions of the same print.

  4. #4
    Greg Davis's Avatar
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    Re: A starting-point guide to Marshall's spotting dyes and Ilford Warmtone Fiber

    I have switched to the black spotting dye from Kodak’s old color print set (solid not liquid type). I find it matches Ilford Warmtone nearly perfectly.

  5. #5
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: A starting-point guide to Marshall's spotting dyes and Ilford Warmtone Fiber

    How can any one hue of dye perfectly match paper outcomes which are inherently varying? Dark tones in MGWT can trend downright blue-black if brought to full density potential, while lighter tones trend warmer.

  6. #6
    Greg Davis's Avatar
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    Re: A starting-point guide to Marshall's spotting dyes and Ilford Warmtone Fiber

    Dim lighting. Works every time.

  7. #7
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: A starting-point guide to Marshall's spotting dyes and Ilford Warmtone Fiber

    Good one. But I prefer ultimate DMax. That's easily achieved with test strips by leaving them in my little toaster oven too long.

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