Selenium first or selective bleaching first?

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Cheryl Jacobs

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Question (possibly an inane one):

I have a print that I love, except that it needs some selective bleaching (farmer's reducer) in one area for it to really sing. I've printed on Ilford MG fiber warmtone, and plan to tone in selenium.

Is the correct order to use the reducer first, then tone? That's my assumption, but I'd rather not ruin a good print if I'm wrong. Assuming the bleach comes first, is it advisable to do yet another rinse/hypoclear/rinse before toning?

As an aside, any tips on using the reducer? Sounds simple, but I've never done it before.

Thanks in advance.
 

David A. Goldfarb

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I would do the bleaching before toning with a thorough wash.

There's a great article on local bleaching by Bruce Barnbaum in Special Issue #11 of _Photo Techniques_, "Mastering the Black and White Fine Print."
 
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Cheryl Jacobs

Cheryl Jacobs

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Thanks a bunch.

Just one more question, because I'm not clear on this: are you saying that when you selectively bleach and then selenium tone, the bleached part will tend to tone browner than the rest of the print? Or is that only when bleaching is done AFTER the toning?
 

ann

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so aggie, that is your secret about the toning you talked about. bleaching after toning. I will have to give it a try. And you are just using straight "ferri". I usually mix a little weak fixer and then bleaching in the manner you described that Bruce was using. Nice to know i am teaching my students the same manner of a master. :D
 

fhovie

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Barry Thornton, in his book, Edge of Darkness, recommends a light Selinium tone first. Since the toner will work on the shadows first, if you stop it beofore it gets to the highlights, the highlights will be bleachable and the deeper shadows will be protected. This is a good way to add "sparkle" to a print because it increases the contrast a little. Also, the bleach should be very dilute so that it would take several minutes for each increment of lightening. Les McLean starts with a 10% solutions of Pot Ferri and then mixes it 1:60 with water to bleach. I have used these with good success both before and after - with Forte papaer, the post selenium bleach creates a rich chocolate brown color.
 

KenM

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fhovie said:
Barry Thornton, in his book, Edge of Darkness, recommends a light Selinium tone first. Since the toner will work on the shadows first, if you stop it beofore it gets to the highlights, the highlights will be bleachable and the deeper shadows will be protected. This is a good way to add "sparkle" to a print because it increases the contrast a little. Also, the bleach should be very dilute so that it would take several minutes for each increment of lightening. Les McLean starts with a 10% solutions of Pot Ferri and then mixes it 1:60 with water to bleach. I have used these with good success both before and after - with Forte papaer, the post selenium bleach creates a rich chocolate brown color.

While I understand that Barry knew what he was talking about, I don't agree with the reasons for toning before bleaching. It only makes sense that when you bleach, the highlights will be affected much quicker than the shadows, simply due to the amount of silver deposited on the paper. I personally doubt if a light toning has any effect on the shadows. Besides, why take a risk that you may tone too much, and then have the print stain when you try and bleach?

Then again, if you think it works, then it works. For you. :tongue:

Regarding dilution, I don't bother measuring - I go for a light, light yellow solution. If it bleaches too fast, I add some water. If it's too slow, I add more bleach.

I like bleaching to be visible as I bleach, so I can take what I'm trying to bleach just about as far as I want it to go, followed by immersion back in the fix, which causes it to jump a tad (a very small tad) before the bleach is neutralized. If it takes too long to bleach, you run the risk of going too far, since the area being bleached will change too slowly. Kind of like cooking a frog - raise the temperature slowly, and he'll never know he's being cooked, until it's too late.
 
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Cheryl Jacobs

Cheryl Jacobs

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Aggie, yup! I see what you're talking about now. I actually used this method only once or twice, and it was not at all fresh in my head when I did the interview with Kodak. So, yup, I failed to note the technique as yours....but please note that I did tell Kodak that the technique was not thought up by me. I simply couldn't remember under the gun where I'd heard it.

So, publicly, sorry I didn't credit you. It would have been nice if you had said something at the time so I could have corrected my mistake.

- CJ
 

Mark Pope

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For some reason, I can't see Aggie's posts in this thread, so haven't a clue whether it's necessary to refix after bleaching.
I do recall that at a fine print workshop in 2000, Barry Thornton advocated bleaching before toning. I can't for the life of me remember if we refixed afterwards..:sad: As you can see, I've not used this technique for a very long time, but I have a print that I'm currently working on that might well benefit from it.
 

Aggie

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For some reason, I can't see Aggie's posts in this thread, so haven't a clue whether it's necessary to refix after bleaching.
I do recall that at a fine print workshop in 2000, Barry Thornton advocated bleaching before toning. I can't for the life of me remember if we refixed afterwards..:sad: As you can see, I've not used this technique for a very long time, but I have a print that I'm currently working on that might well benefit from it.

After the bleaching you use the fix to stop all action. So in essence you are refixing after it all. Wash as you would normally do.
 

Claire Senft

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Our Dear Agatha can say quite a bit with ditto marks. She is well on her way to avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome.

This is what on does when at 4 years of age they are driving semi trailers with 16 speeds reverse and 132 speeds forward.

Generally speaking, slective bleaching after toning in selenium is not advised due to the possiblity of staining the print. If you do it and get no stains then thats 1derful.
 

Aggie

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Our Dear Agatha can say quite a bit with ditto marks. She is well on her way to avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome.

This is what on does when at 4 years of age they are driving semi trailers with 16 speeds reverse and 132 speeds forward.

Generally speaking, slective bleaching after toning in selenium is not advised due to the possiblity of staining the print. If you do it and get no stains then thats 1derful.

LOL, in 91 I had the Carpel tunnel surgery but from my work getting certified through Pima Community College in Tucson as a field archeology worker.

There are tricks to keeop the print from staining. You work with the print wet on a plexiglass or other surface you can use the suction of the water to adhere it to. The opaque white works best since you can put a light source behind it to shine through and better illuminate it. This taught to us by Bruce Barnbaum. But for the toner since it is over all, you place the whole print into a tray of diluted Potassium Ferricynide and water. When it turns a yucky horrible bright orange pull it. Do not be afraid of that orange color. When you wash it it fades, and fades more to a rich dark chocolate brown when it dries. But once you have the bleaching done to the orange, make sure you place the whole thing in fix. All action of the bleach stops. Then wash as normal for a fiber print. I used TF4 fix. I used Kodak rapid selenium topner, and standard Pot Ferri from PF. Play with old work prints first to see what happens. Temp plays a large part in it as well. The wamer the water up to about 100 F will make it work faster. cooler for those who are afraid of vapors that might result still works but takes a long time to get that really yucky orange look to the bleached print. I worked in a nice ventilated room.

It's fun to play with. I've been wondering what would happen using other metal salts instead of selenium.
 

Steve Sherman

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Farmers Reducer is nothing more than Part A is Potassium Ferricyanide and Part B is ordinary Thiosulfate, (fixer). Hence, there is some final bleaching action which takes place after the ferricyanide has been washed off the print. Do not over bleach before the putting the print in ordinary fixer for your final fix.

Jay Dusard taught me his technique for bleaching, he would use a tiny spotting brush and meticulously brush each part of the highlights. If you’ve never seen his prints in person, they are truly on a different level.

As Aggie said, the milk plexiglas works best with the print on an angle with running water just below the area you are bleaching to immediately dilute the ferricyanide as it runs off the print.

BTW, I mix the ferricyanide to a weak urine color and work from there with the selenium toning the last step. Barnbuam teaches his method using a cotton ball to gentley apply bleach to selective areas. I have never had good luck with this method, at least with the warmer toned papers I tend to use these cotton ball areas would always take the selenium at a faster rate and different color than the rest of the print.

Steve Sherman
 

Aggie

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Farmers Reducer is nothing more than Part A is Potassium Ferricyanide and Part B is ordinary Thiosulfate, (fixer). Hence, there is some final bleaching action which takes place after the ferricyanide has been washed off the print. Do not over bleach before the putting the print in ordinary fixer for your final fix.

Jay Dusard taught me his technique for bleaching, he would use a tiny spotting brush and meticulously brush each part of the highlights. If you’ve never seen his prints in person, they are truly on a different level.

As Aggie said, the milk plexiglas works best with the print on an angle with running water just below the area you are bleaching to immediately dilute the ferricyanide as it runs off the print.

BTW, I mix the ferricyanide to a weak urine color and work from there with the selenium toning the last step. Barnbuam teaches his method using a cotton ball to gentley apply bleach to selective areas. I have never had good luck with this method, at least with the warmer toned papers I tend to use these cotton ball areas would always take the selenium at a faster rate and different color than the rest of the print.

Steve Sherman

Bruce taught us using a sumi brush. He also had that rubber tubing hose running with water, to let it flow right below the area he was selectively bleaching. That way you didn't have streaks on your print from the Pot Ferri running down. But for the chocolate brown toner, do Selenium tone first. I usually took it as far as the eggplant purple color. then when you bleach it afterwards in again you are correct Steve a urine colored solution (I put the whole thing in a tray the size of the print. Play with it and watch it turn this yucky orange color. It barely bleaches it. Instead what happens is a color change. I freaked and screamed in the darkroom at the college when I thought I had ruined the print by turning it orange. I mean that orange could have glowed in the dark. Instead of round filing it in the learning bin, I washed it and had to keep checking the prints to see which one was really the one that had been orange. Drying it made it rich and just the right darkness. See what happens when you play in a darkroom, all sorts of things are born.
 

lee

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"Jay Dusard taught me his technique for bleaching,"

they do not call him Captain Ferricynide for nothing.

lee\c
 

kunihiko

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Hi,

I have never had good luck with this method, at least with the warmer toned papers I tend to use these cotton ball areas would always take the selenium at a faster rate and different color than the rest of the print.
Right now I have a problem like this and need help.
When I want to bleach localy, I bleach, re-fix, wash, then tone, but the bleached part get color changed. That color is just like the color which I get from tone-then-bleach method.
Is this simply an inadequate wash between bleach and tone ?
How can I avoid this color change ?

Thanks
 

Steve Sherman

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Hi,


Right now I have a problem like this and need help.
When I want to bleach localy, I bleach, re-fix, wash, then tone, but the bleached part get color changed. That color is just like the color which I get from tone-then-bleach method.
Is this simply an inadequate wash between bleach and tone ?
How can I avoid this color change ?

Thanks

The only reason I can put to this happening is because the warm tone papers I tend to use have a very soft emulsion / surface and any abrasion to that surface can cause a discoloration. I would recommend using ever so slight pressure whether you are using cotton ball, Q-tip or small spotting brush.

Remember, fixer does have some effect on the reduction of silver, it completes the bleaching process. Second, make sure and wash thoroughy before selenium toning.

As a last resort you could print the overall print slightly dark and put the entire print into a quick bleach bath so that the entire print has been exposed to Potassium Ferricyanide (sp.)

Hope this works for you
 

kunihiko

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Thank you very much, Steve.
I will go over my workflow.
 
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