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Old 10th January 2021, 09:43 PM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is offline
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Default Getting Brown Tones with Selenium?

I was looking at a Gallery pic on Photrio in which the person had used Ilford WT paper and selenium at 1+3 and had achieved a great brown tone which if anything looked better than most sepia toning I have seen

It is difficult to describe but it just looked a brighter, richer kind of mid brown than I can recall seeing with sepia

The only example of Ilford WT paper and selenium I had seen was also quite attractive but has a kind of peachy pink look that was certainly different to the brown look that was in the Photrio Gallery

This was the look that the lady demonstrating Ilford selenium toner managed to get in that Ilford Darkroom Guide video

I asked questions of the picture owner and he confirmed that what he had placed in the Gallery as a scan of his print was what he was looking at in the print

Of course that leaves the question: Is what I saw on my screen the same as he saw on his? It might just be possible that my VDU is set differently but I mentioned its brown sepia look and he in reply did not suggest it wasn't a brown tone in the print in his hand

The only difference between what he had used and what was used in the Ilford video was that it was Ilford selenium on the video whereas his selenium was Rollei RSE Selenia Toner Version II.

So has anyone here tried this selenium toner with Ilford WT paper and if so does it at 1+3 give a definite brown tone as opposed to the peachy pinkish tone with Ilford selenium as demonstrated on the Ilford video

I should add that having looked on the Macodirect site about this toner it does mention reddish-brown tones so maybe this Rollei toner has a particular brown look but while I have heard that reddish-brown may be a characteristic of all selenium toners, the brown on his picture I saw seemed to have very little in the way of even a hint of red

Thanks

Mike

Last edited by Mike O'Pray; 10th January 2021 at 09:50 PM. Reason: Needed additional info on Rollei Selenia toner
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Old 11th January 2021, 11:15 AM
Alan Clark Alan Clark is offline
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I have found that the colour produced by selenium toning Ilford Warmtone fibre paper depends on which print developer was used to make the print. When Ilford brought out their warmtone paper my print developer of choice was Agfa Neutol WA. Selenium toning turned these prints a cold purplish colour which I didn't really care for. Then eventually Ilford brought out their warmtone print developer. Ilford warmtone paper developed in this, and then selenium toned, comes out a much warmer colour. Much nicer than the Neutol WA prints. But I wouldn't say it is brown. Perhaps you should ask the photographer on Photrio what print developer he used.

Alan
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Old 11th January 2021, 11:47 AM
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Rob Archer Rob Archer is offline
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I find the results with selenium toner vary enormously depending on paper, developer and toner dilution. I find a stronger toner (1:5 or more) gives warmer browns than 1:9 which gives a 'plummy' tone to the shadows. I generally develop Multigrade WArmtone FB in either ID78 ( a home brew similar to the old Agfa Neutol WA) or Bromophen diluted 1:4 then tone in selenium (Fotospeed) 1:9. I usually only tone until the slight greenish tint has disappeared which takes about 5 minutes at 24 degC but occasionally I tone for a bit longer. See my pic at: http://www.film-and-darkroom-user.or...pictureid=5195
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Old 11th January 2021, 12:00 PM
Alan Clark Alan Clark is offline
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I don't usually use selenium toner to get a coloured print. Like Rob I usually tone only until the greenish tint goes. At this point the dark tones go darker, and contrast increases, and the print is enriched and is only a slight warm toned. I pull the print out of the selenium at that point.

Alan
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Old 11th January 2021, 01:32 PM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is offline
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Thanks all and while Rob's tone is brownish and quite a pleasant one at that, it is quite a way from the picture I saw in the Photrio Gallery

Frankly was afraid of getting the responses I have so far got. It was a bit of a puzzle to put it mildly to see how much of a rich and almost glowing brown he apparently had achieved but while I ask him to explain how he got there I feel that further probing would seem to be just that, namely probing as I got the impression I had got all he could give me or at least all I was going to get

Certiainly in Tim's Rudman's Toning book I never really saw anything like the kind of tone in his Selenium section that came near what I saw in the Gallery

It isn't looking hopeful.

Mike
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Old 11th January 2021, 02:14 PM
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skellum skellum is offline
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Good afternoon Mike.
Selenium is not the best way to go to get consistent and pleasing brown tones with Ilford papers.

With Ilford Multigrade classic selenium delivers a warm purple tone.
http://www.film-and-darkroom-user.or...php?photo=2417

On Ilford warmtone GLOSS paper it takes out the slightly green cast the paper sometimes shows and gives a muted brown tone:
http://www.film-and-darkroom-user.or...php?photo=1917

However, MATTE warmtone FB tone horribly in selenium. Shadows tone to a peachy-orange while midtones and highlights remain almost unaffected. I have no examples to show as they all went in the bin.

I dabbled with Slavich paper, which toned just beautifully in Selenium:
http://www.film-and-darkroom-user.or...php?photo=2478

Adox MCC fibre didn't change much at all.

If I really want a brown tone on Ilford I use Fotospeed sepia
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Old 11th January 2021, 03:20 PM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is offline
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Thanks skellum. The browns aren't bad in any of them but I'd agree the Slavich one is the best but you are right none really come close to the recent one that I saw in the Gallery.

I should just add that I only use RC paper and really has no immediate or probably long term plans to use FB

The print's owner. I note now on a return to the print doesn't say if it was FB or RC and I omitted to ask. I may now be seeing on my return to it a hint of reddish brown as well but this might be because I am now conditioned to see reddish brown having read that a hint of red is what is to be expected

If anyone cares to look at the pic for comparison purposes in terms of the tone I have described, it is in the Photrio Critique Gallery and is called the Old Boat Shed by a member called henpe

Thanks

Mike
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Old 11th January 2021, 05:42 PM
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I know he says selenium, but I wonder... In another photo (Sun Rising) he notes that he used Viradon so I'm wondering if he perhaps got confused and used it on Old Boat Shed too? I'm somewhat colour-blind so not sure if the tones are the same tho (and I guess they might differ with paper and developer).

Viradon is no longer available from Agfa but can be made from liver of sulphur and sodium carbonate according to the formula on Process Supplies website: https://www.processuk.net/storepage2677758.aspx
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Old 11th January 2021, 09:19 PM
Mike O'Pray Mike O'Pray is offline
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Thanks Bob, It is possible to be sure you have used one toner when it is a quite different toner but given my questions you'd imagine that this would have jogged his memory enough to cause him to review his details and unless he gets very close to sepia with other selenium prints then confusion to that extent seems unlikely but is not impossible.

The strange thing or perhaps not so strange on Photrio, is that when I mentioned the rich brown tones, no-one else said something to the effect that now I had come to mention it they had never managed that kind of a brown look either with selenium. In fact no-one else said anything at all in relation to the tone. It was in the Critique Gallery so the rest and there were quite a lot of "critiquers" were all maybe concentrating on that aspect

Mike
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Old 11th January 2021, 09:21 PM
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skellum skellum is offline
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Thanks Bob.
Viradon was superb. No bleaching, and the ability to tone anywhere from golden to chocolate brown just by varying the dilution.
Two different colours here:

http://www.film-and-darkroom-user.or...pictureid=3461

http://www.film-and-darkroom-user.or...pictureid=3511

I'll be following your link.
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