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Hallo, I am from Germany. I am looking for Anselm Adams prescription for toning. Knows anybody the original chemistry ( it is not the Kodak Selenium toner!) Thank you

-- Bernhard Schoene (Bernd.Schoene@lrz.tu-muenchen.de), September 08, 2000


Bernhard, Gr|_e aus Wien!

Ansel Adams used Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner diluted 1:9 to 1:20 (depending on paper and desired amount of toning) with Hypo-Clearing Agent. However, I would recommend that you mix it just with water, since the life of the Hypo-Clear is very much less that that of the toner and use a separate Hypo-Clear bath after the toner. Adams (and I too) transferred the prints directly from the second fixing bath into the toning bath without a rinse in between. This is important if you do not want your prints to stain or tone unevenly. The alternative is to wash them completely and then tone them, but this just adds an extra step and wastes time. (Adams techniques were for fiber base paper and not RC. RC paper tones too and shouldn't be that much different, but I don't use it.)

As you might have guessed, toning is not an exact science. Different papers tone more or less intensly and take different times to reach the same color. Also, each photographer has her own preferences and different subjects seem to require different amounts of toning as well. Stronger dilutions will give you more color change, weaker ones simply strengthen the blacks a little and provide some measure of protection for the silver in the emulsion. You must experiment till you find what you like. Fortunately, you can do all this in the light and keep a duplicate print close by to compare the changes to.

Kodak recommends discarding the solution once toning times become too long, but I find this environmentally irresponsible. Also, here in Austria selenium must be handled as a toxic waste product (Sonderm|ll) and cannot be disposed of in the sewer system. I keep a plastic bottle of selenium toner working soution (I dilute about 1:6 since I like a rather marked color change) which I replenish with small amounts of concentrate when the toning times get to long. I have one such bottle that I have been using for longer than a year and have had absolutely no problems other than having to filter out the black precipitate occasionaly (use coffee filters). I test my prints for residual silver and residual hypo regularly.

I'd be happy to expound further if you have any questions, but this is long enough already. E-mail me if you need more information.

Hope this helps. ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (ScudderLandreth@compuserve.com), September 09, 2000.


I checked my 1968 copyright version of Ansel's The Print. On page 116, for toning formulas appears this statement:

"Numereous toning baths are formulated in the Photo-Lab-Index, in Photographic Facts and Formulas, (Wall and Jordan) and in many general textbooks. I use the selenium toner for general work. In previous editions of this book I gave the formula for preparation of this toner from the basic chemicals. However, since selenium is a quite poisonous substance in its 'metallic' state it is best to obtain it in the relatively safe liquid form, such as the prepared Kodak Selenium Toner." (and it continues)

Maybe someone has the formulas from either the cited sources or an earlier edition of The Print. Regardless, his recommendation for current work is clear.


-- Fred Leif (frederickl@aol.com), September 09, 2000.

Hello Bernhard, Has already mentioned selenium is very toxic and it's far safer and easier to purchase the verious prepared selenium toners available today. Back in the late '70's, early '80's selenium toners were almost unavailable here in the UK so I used to prepare my own. I used the Kodak formulae T-55, it's from Kodak's information sheet AJ-900(H) published 1975 and is diluted 1:5 for use. This formulae is not the same as their prepared selenium toner. The earliest edition I have of Adam's book "The Print" is published 1950 and even then he was using Kodak's prepared selenium toner. Regards,

-- Trevor Crone (tcrone@gm.dreamcast.com), September 09, 2000.

I scanned some pages from the two versions of Ansel's "The Print" but others have already filled in the details very well. It seems he did favor Kodak selenium especially by the second book. What you do with the used toner is a problem. I send the scanned pages.

But, while we are here, Ich eine fragge haben. (Sorry--I need to practice German. That was about all I know!) My wife and I are traveling to Munich in December and wending our way to Frankfurt over about a twelve-day period. I don't know how many cathedrals she can tolerate. From a photographer's point of view (as opposed to an historian) which should we visit? Ulm, Speyer, Worms, Wurzburg?

Thank you.

-- John Hennessy (northbay@directcon.net), September 10, 2000.

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