Stains on Prints : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I took some 16x20 prints off the drying rack this morning. I had 8 of what were supposed to be the final good stuff. Unfortunately I noticed that 4 of them had pink stains on them. I have not seen this before. I know I cant't fix these, but I would like to avoid the problem in the future. I will list what I did and perhaps someone can lend some insights into the stains. The prints are on Forte fiber paper (variable contrast). They were developed in fresh Dektol at 1:4 for 4 minutes, stopped with 28% glacial acetic acid (45 ml/l of water), fixed at least 3 minutes in Kodak fixer and washed as described by Bruce Barnbaum. The prints were then dried and left for a few days. I then soaked them in water for about 15 minutes and put them in fresh fix for another 3 minutes. I spot bleached all of them in the same manor. Interestingly enough all the bleaching was done below the areas of the stains. The prints were stored in water awaiting toning. They were then toned in 1:30 Rapid Toner for 3 to 5 minutes and then washed thoughly. They were then squeegied (spelling) and the put face down on my racks. Two possibilities are a dirty piece of plexiglass that I squeegied on and the second fix was used imediately after mixing it and it was milky although everything was dissolved. Any ideas ?

-- Paul Mongillo (, June 02, 2000


I forgot to mention that I soaked the prints in Kodak hypo clear for 4 minutes after each fix. The second time was after toning.

-- Paul Mongillo (, June 02, 2000.

mouse urine?

-- Bill Mitchell (, June 02, 2000.

Good guess Bill. I actually gave the mouse urine some thought, but unless the mouse urine defies the laws of grvity, I don't see how it can be that. Maybe I should get a new cat just to be sure.

-- Paul Mongillo (, June 02, 2000.

sprayed tomcat urine?

-- Bill Mitchell (, June 02, 2000.

Paul, Did you fix the prints after bleaching and before putting them in the toner? It doesn't seem so from your post. That could be the problem...a reaction to toner from the bleach. You might try re- fixing the prints and see if the stain comes out. Everything else seems to be correct procedure. Was the second fixer bath non- hardening? The even though the stains were above the bleached areas, the bleach may have contaminated the areas, or contamination may have coem from your hands. I'm just making a guess, based on problems I have had in the past with stains.

-- Doug Paramore (, June 02, 2000.

All of the joking aside, I do not understand your processing steps. The initial processing of the prints seems fine, but I would have fixed for a bit longer. I'm not much of a glaciel ascetic acid fan, I have always preferred water, or a very, very dilute stop bath of ascetic acid. I don't know what a wash as described by Bruce Barnbaum is, but an adequate wash should be an adequate wash. From here on is where I don't follow what you are doing. You say that you dried the prints, left them for a few days, rewashed them, and then re-fixed them. Why did you re-fix? that makes no sense! You then say that you spot bleached, but you give no details of what or how you bleached. Did you not thoroughly rewash after fixing and bleaching, and what did you use to bleach with? To me this entire process is suspect. I really do not think that your problem is a dirty piece of plex, and I certainly do not think that you have a problem with your fixer mixing. I think that you need to rethink your entire processing procedure! Fred

-- fred (, June 02, 2000.

The only toner I ever use is Viradon but I have found that if I don't go straight from the fixer to the toner I get orange-pink splotches. Any wash in between is sure to get me splotches. I suspect if the print were really, really washed first I could do it but that would require an archival wash twice - once before and once after the toning. Have you used this sequence before with success or was this your first try?

-- Erik Ryberg (, June 03, 2000.

Paul, I assume you are using selenium toner and a two-bath fixing method with standard (i.e. not rapid) sodium thiosulfate based fixer. The first 3 minute fix and wash/dry seem all OK to me. However, the toning sequence you use can cause the stains you mention. I have always transferred prints to be toned directly from the second fixing bath to the selenium toner without any intermediate water bath (as recommeded by Adams, et. al.). Kodak warns that not adequately washing prints before toning can result in just the stains you describe. Transferring the prints straight from the fix to the toner prevents stain formation since the chemical levels in the paper are uniform. The problem seems to come from partially washed prints which have varying levels of residual thiosulfates, etc. I'm not sure of the exact chemistry, but I'll wager if you skip the water storage step you'll solve your problem. Hope this helps, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (, June 03, 2000.

I assume the stains are on the front rather than the back of the print. If so, are your drying racks clean? Chemical residue on drying racks can cause staining. For that reason I always dry my prints face up.

Doremus - You've touched on a point I've always wondered about. As you say, Adams et al suggest going straight from the fix to the selenium toner. However, the instructions on the bottle say to wash thoroughly before toning, which seems to contradict what Adams et al say. I take it that you follow Adams et al rather than the instructions. Correct? And you don't get any stains? I've always hypo cleared and washed before toning, then washed again after toning, which uses a lot of water. If I'm understanding you correctly a lot of time and water would be saved as compared with following Kodak's instructions.

-- Brian Ellis (, June 03, 2000.

The only time I'm gotten stain is when I went from fix (reg Kodak) to Sel rapid 1:20. It was an overall pinkish stain. The problem can be prevented by an intermediate bath in Kodalk 1/4 tsp/Qt H2O. But since then I do a partial wash-30min, dry, then selenium tone the prints I like

-- George Nedleman (, June 03, 2000.

I believe that Adams placed his prints in a bath of plain hypo prior to selenium toning. If you are using regular thiosulfate fix, I think your fixing should be for closer to 10 minutes, and the fix should be non-hardening if you plan to selenium tone. After toning I would recommend three minutes in Kodak hypo clearing agent with agitation, followed by a 1 to 3 hour wash, depending on your water and your washer.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, June 03, 2000.

Thank you everyone for your very helpful responses. I'm pretty much convinced that the problem was with the toning process. There seems to be more than one view on this. Some say go staight into the toner from the hypo, while others say wash completely before going in. Ansel Adams say straight in from fix. Bruce Barbaum lets his soak in a try of water after the second fix before he tones them. I'm not sure why I bleached my prints after the second fix instead of before this time. I'm not sure why that would have caused the problem, but I won't do that again. I guess in light of the differnces of opinion I had better follow the directions on the Selenium toner and wash thoughly before toning and wash again after.

-- Paul Mongillo (, June 05, 2000.

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