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Thread: Avoiding purple tones with selenium...

  1. #1
    Dwayne Martin Devorobin's Avatar
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    Avoiding purple tones with selenium...

    Hi Gang, has anyone worked out a way to tone ilford mg fb classic with selenium and keep it black rather than purple ish? I am using the stronger 1/9 mix but I get purple even with a short time of one minute. The selenium is ilford brand...

    Thanks

  2. #2

    Re: Avoiding purple tones with selenium...

    I haven't worked much with Ilford MG or Ilford's brand of selenium toner. But I would think that 1:9 is just way too strong to avoid the color shift. 1:20 or weaker I think might solve your problem. When I am treating a paper that insists upon color shifting, I sometimes make even much weaker dilutions --1:30, 1:45. I am only after deeper blacks, by the way --not necessarily archival effects. I frankly don't know myself, but some folks feel (presumably on respectable authority of some sorts) that there is no archival effect without a color shift. I'm not sure and venture no opinion on that question.

  3. #3
    jim_jm's Avatar
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    Re: Avoiding purple tones with selenium...

    I haven't used Ilford toners, but with Kodak Rapid Selenium I get very little to no color shift at 1+20 with Ilford FB MG Classic. I usually leave it in the toner for 3-5 minutes.
    Try the Ilford at a higher dilution and see if this helps.

  4. #4

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    Re: Avoiding purple tones with selenium...

    My solution . . . avoid selenium.

    Even at 1:20, I don't like the effect that selenium toner has on an image. (I print with Ilford Warmtone.) It would be nice to get the limited archival properties that Se toning can bring to an image. BUT, not at the expense of the image.

  5. #5

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    Re: Avoiding purple tones with selenium...

    Quote Originally Posted by Devorobin View Post
    Hi Gang, has anyone worked out a way to tone ilford mg fb classic with selenium and keep it black rather than purple ish? I am using the stronger 1/9 mix but I get purple even with a short time of one minute. The selenium is ilford brand...

    Thanks
    Dilute further or shorten toning time. Since your time is already short, further dilution is the most sensible approach.

    If you like this paper's tone without selenium toning, then just skip toning. The notion that very light selenium toning would contribute to print permanence is a myth.

  6. #6

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    Re: Avoiding purple tones with selenium...

    Print and Fix as normal (make several test prints or cut some prints up) - WASH !!!
    - Bleach print entirely or at least through the middle tones but the blacks should have some reduction using a reducing bleach (Farmers reducer or Pot-Ferri)
    - fully redevelop using 1/4 to 1/10 strength developer (may take 10-15 minutes)
    - WASH!!! (let dry, color may be warmer than before or less dense in shadows)
    - rewet, fully selenium tone - color will shift to more of a brownish tone.

    You can do the bleach and redevelop in room light. The effect is different for images with lots of highlights vs mostly dark tones. The redeveloper can be different than the original developer and may yield different results. I generally use LPD as the second developer as it has a warming tonality of its own when diluted 1:8.

    I like a 1:15 toner mix which is the compromise between speed and control if doing partial toning but it still goes purple if toning right after printing.
    Ilford MGFB Warmtone is a warmer color than the classic paper with selenium.

    Partial toning or full toning with Thiourea, Nelsons Gold Toner, or the poly toners will give you more color choices.
    If you use a dichromate bleach you will get a warmer tone than a reducing Pot-ferri bleach and yields more edge sharpness because it can harden and tan the emulsion in the darker tones.
    Pyrocat HD as the second pass redeveloper gives a warm olive-ish tone and has an increased visual sharpness. 10-10-1000 will do a couple of 8x10s but like film developing is used one shot. Slow redevelopment and image goes muddy for a while, let it fully develop. Paper will stain.

    Water quality may make a difference in all of this. Use distilled or filtered water if your area has lots of chemicals or impurities.
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  7. #7

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    Re: Avoiding purple tones with selenium...

    I'm completely with Neil on this one...I will only use selenium (or any other toner for that matter) if I absolutely feel that it actually helps a given image to achieve what I want it to visually. All else (including any supposed gains in "archival" properties) is secondary!

    Oh...yeah (not so fast Oren!) - the actual question: I find that 1:19 for between four and seven minutes, at least for Ilford Classic, gives a tonal shift without going purple. But YMMV.

    As for MGWT? I'd much rather not tone at all...but go to a developer like Moersche SE-6. Incredible stuff for subjects like this: (have cooled those highlights somewhat in final prints)

    Click image for larger version. 

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  8. #8
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Avoiding purple tones with selenium...

    Depends on the specific paper and developer involved. Good ole Galerie graded paper was the only one I ever worked with that didn't shift brownish in selenium. Purple-brown was more characteristic of Brilliant Bromide, and now MCC VC paper. When I want a true cold tone, I tone with gold chloride instead; but it's ironically coolest when you use a slightly warm developer first, like 130. MGWT and similar warmtone VC papers tend to split tone if that is taken far enough; but that's a slightly different topic. I personally use selenium very very conservatively, for just a tweak of extra tonal depth or balance in relation to other toners. It sometimes makes all the difference between a nice print and a truly outstanding one.

  9. #9

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    Re: Avoiding purple tones with selenium...

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Depends on the specific paper and developer involved. Good ole Galerie graded paper was the only one I ever worked with that didn't shift brownish in selenium. Purple-brown was more characteristic of Brilliant Bromide, and now MCC VC paper. When I want a true cold tone, I tone with gold chloride instead; but it's ironically coolest when you use a slightly warm developer first, like 130. MGWT and similar warmtone VC papers tend to split tone if that is taken far enough; but that's a slightly different topic. I personally use selenium very very conservatively, for just a tweak of extra tonal depth or balance in relation to other toners. It sometimes makes all the difference between a nice print and a truly outstanding one.
    Another vote for Gold. I use Kodak Blue Toner which goes cold blue with warmtone papers. I love gold with chloride rich papers like Azo, just goes pure black.
    I use Kodak Selenium strong, 1+3, 2 minutes @ 20C. With Ilford RC, I get better D max, not purple.
    As described it's very tricky, extend toning times with VC papers (like the famous Polywarmtone) and it splits like crazy.

  10. #10

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    Re: Avoiding purple tones with selenium...

    Temperature has not been mentioned, and I note that Devorobin lives in Sarasota, FL, though presumably with air-conditioning. In any case, selenium toning speeds up as the temp rises. You might wish, along wit hthe higher dilutions recommended above, to hold your toning bath at 68 degrees F, or a bit lower.
    Philip Ulanowsky

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