Wait... so selenium toning does not improve archival properties?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by ChrisBCS, May 16, 2017.

  1. ChrisBCS

    ChrisBCS Subscriber

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    So in my reading about selenium toning, I'm seeing things about how so-called "light" toning, traditionally done to improve image permanence, is not worth doing. But I'm unable to actually find any data or primary sources...
     
  2. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Selenium toning is archival if done fully. Sulphide toning provides good protection even if done briefly as Ina minute or two!
     
  3. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Tim Rudman's Toning book confirms your understanding.
    Ilford's data sheet for their version of Selenium Toner indicates that full toning occurs in 2-4 minutes with fresh, 1:20 toner.
     
  4. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    My understanding is that the selenium will attach itself to the silver which indeed provides protection.. As Ralph points out one would have to tone to completion with selenium for the image to have attachment from deep shadows to highlight silver.

    This is IMO a very ugly look way to red... Tim Rudman's approach and others(me) will sepia first which takes care of the highlight region and then selenium which takes care of the shadow.

    This look is a very appealing colour balance which I am happy with.
     
  5. michaelorr

    michaelorr Subscriber

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    @Bob Carnie, i have been watching and re-watching just recently some videos have done on lith and toning in sulfite and selenium. I will practicing soon in my bathroom on these techniques thanks in part to you. - Thank you!

    Two artifacts that i have not reconciled yet regarding selenium as follows -

    1. Having read the AA book The Print and having procured a print by the Ansel Adams Gallery done by Alan Ross quite some years back, The selenium seems to darken the shadows so as to add some contrast, and to provide the archival protection by completing the silver valence to prevent recombination (maybe not the right word in chemistry context as opposed to electronic solid state physics) leading to oxidation. The print tone in the print i have from AA gallery seems to be mostly black, not blue and not aubergine. I love to stare at that print, "Early Morning, Merced River" and do like the apparent full tonal range of traditional silver gelatin prints.

    2. Having no other means at the moment to print 8x10, i have contact printed some negatives on Ilford MGIV in a closet with a ceiling light. Then i toned in selenium - it turned aubergene withing seconds (less than 30). Well, my wife love "sepia" photographs and loved my results, but i was rather taken aback that i was not producing what i had desired in the print.

    So, i don't understand the cause and effect of selenium either "warming" or "cooling" or just "deepening" the tones of a print.

    >michael
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Both Ilford and Kodak's Selenium toners greatly improve archival permanence without toning to completion. It's the attachment to the silver that's important not totally replacing it with Selenium. Ilford's 2-4 minute selenium toning time is protecting both the shadows and the highlights.

    Ian
     
  7. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Please remember you can only get my results if you drink good Canadian Beer while printing and toning.

    thank you for looking at my crude videos, will be doing a bunch more in future on different aspects of printing.
    Ps Ian has been the utmost help to me over the last ten years understanding chemistry, and he likes to drink beer also which makes him a good in my books.
     
  8. michaelorr

    michaelorr Subscriber

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    Videos not crude - absolutely crammed with knowledge very well imparted. Looking forward to the more in the future, Bob.

    I learned to drink beer while in college (say it isn't so! Dad was a big fan of beer but, me not 'til college) while hanging out (me, a spectator) with a bunch of musicians in the Omaha Symphony Orchestra after performances - all who pushed me onto Moosehead Lager. Well, it is canadian, but it only loosely resembled "beer" to my liking. Still, it is easily an order of magnitude better than either Bud or Fosters... Is Molson canadian?

    Do you think the carbonation would add some hyperactivity in development?
     
  9. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    Michael,

    I'll take a shot at addressing your questions.

    First, the question of how much selenium toning protects a print: partial toning gives you partial protection. That may be enough for your print, especially if it was fixed and washed well. Tests on microfilm, however, have shown that there needs to be a rather drastic change in image tone for significant protection to be achieved. The practice of toning a print for a few minutes in very dilute selenium toner to make it "archival" is not really going to help print permanence much. That said, toning for a change in image tone and/or increase in D-max will provide protection to some extent. These latter should be the reasons for toning, not increasing print permanence. A well-processed silver-gelatin print that is stored well and not subjected to pollutants, etc. has a very long life by itself.


    As for toning for a specific change in image tone or for increasing D-max: The rate of image color change depends on the time in the toner, the strength of the toning solution, the particular paper you are toning and the developer used. There are some papers that tone very rapidly and some that tone hardly at all. If you are getting a tone change that you do not like, tone for a shorter time or change to a weaker dilution. If I had a print that changed tone withing 30 seconds, I'd be diluting a lot more; I like toning times in the 3-6 minute range. To increase D-max without any image change at all usually requires a paper that doesn't change tone much in selenium. That said, toning in more dilute toner and pulling the print before any significant change in image tone occurs will usually increase density in the shadows by a noticeable amount.

    Hope this helps,

    Doremus
     
  10. michaelorr

    michaelorr Subscriber

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    @Doremus Scudder thanks for the myth busting! Certainly helps explain the otherwise discrepensies in experience, both which i have seen in person. @Ian Grant also appreciate your insight.

    Between you two, it seems that "to completion" is not necessary to achieve "protection", which helps me choose how to proceed with selenium to accomplish both tone and protection. I wish i had notes on the dilution i used at first. All i know is the paper. I will be moving on to AZO/LODIMA next and play around.
     
  11. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    There are two entirely different issues toning to increase and helping with permanence and toning for visual effect, i.e. sepia toning with abig shift in image colour and tone.

    While the second sepia toning is more stable image permanence and archival properties are not just related to the form the of silver component in the emulsion, far more important is the fixing and removal of semi soluble silver thiosulphate intermediary complexes formed during fixing. If they haven't been removed they will cause issue regardless, either during toning or much later in the form of staining of the base.

    Ian
     
  12. tedr1

    tedr1 Member

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    @michaelorr thank you for putting a name to the color sometimes produced by selenium toning, that deep red-purple tone, the word "aubergine" is perfect!
     
  13. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    It's just French for eggplant (and for meter maid).
     
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  15. michaelorr

    michaelorr Subscriber

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    @Ian Grant yes i think i am understanding a bit better, and by tone above my poor choice of word - meant to refer not to color shift tone but rather the dmax mentioned by @Doremus Scudder. If appropriate paper is chosen, i should be able to use a weaker selenium dilution, and tone for dmax, not change the color too much and still achieve more stable image. This for a normal print - lith will have a different aesthetic i am looking for, including the "split toning" of sulfide and selenium after lith development.

    I will get the hang of this more as i move along, but it is good to know that when i selenium toned the first time and it went to a new color it wasn't because chemistry was bad or i did something wrong.

    @faberryman meter maid? Would sure like to hear of the etymologic logic on that one...
     
  16. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    French meter maids used to wear eggplant colored uniforms and so aubergine was used as slang when referring to them. It's been many years since I lived in France, so I may be dating myself.
     
  17. tedr1

    tedr1 Member

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    Where I come from it is aubergine :smile:
     
  18. michaelorr

    michaelorr Subscriber

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    Well that is pretty cool -thanks!
     
  19. Doc W

    Doc W Subscriber

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    I was quite surprised to discover this thread. Am I missing something? Ever since I can remember, selenium toning was a recommended way of protecting a print. The shift in colour and contrast was a bonus. Also, I have never heard of the idea of toning "to completion." To complete what? I thought you were supposed to be careful about toning too much because at a certain point, one would lose the effects on contrast. Have I been living in a fool's paradise? :surprised:
     
  20. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    Some toning is better than none butsulphide toning isa better protection for highlights than selenium.Doing both is best and gives the print act some of the brilliance it had when wet.
     
  21. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

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  22. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    One thing about selenium is that it will soon let you know that you have not fixed and washed the print! I use it for D-max mostly. It works very well with fine shadows (think grass or sand).

    I only warranty my prints for the (remaining) lifetime of the photographer :cool:
     
  23. K-G

    K-G Subscriber

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    +1

    Karl-Gustaf
     
  24. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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  25. Gerald C Koch

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    I can remember when it de rigueur to add a small amount of KRST to HCA working solution. It probably had little effect on archival permanence. Just one of those untested myths so loved in photography.
     
  26. oldtimermetoo

    oldtimermetoo Subscriber

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    It is also German for eggplant where my wife comes from, however when I planted a garden, I found that different varieties had different colors in addition to different shapes. Ahhh such is nature. Seems you just can't depend on anything........Regards!