Unexpected sepia toning effect

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Yesterday, i sepia toned a batch of prints with my usual kodak sepia toner ( you know, the rotten eggs compound) . Since they were about 40 16 x 20 i could only wash 12 0f them at the time in my washer, so some of them had to wait in a tray full of water. At my surprise, when it was the turn of the last batch i saw that some prints, the ones printed on warm tone paper ( ilford mg IV warmtone) had toned much more than when i stopped the toning( i almost always apply split toning by bleaching only the highlights), and in a irregular way causing some areas to be toned more than others, achieving reddish tones, that i admit are quite attractive.. My set up for sepia toning consists of : 1) Tray water for prints soaking

2) bleaching bath

3) water tray for rinsing

4) toning bath

5) water tray for soaking

This has never happened to me before, How could the toning process have gone further after toning and soaking in water?

I want to try to control this effect to achieve irregular toning in a controlled manner because it mightr have some attractive possibilities, if i only knew for certain what caused it!!

Could the bleaching stage have gone further even after rinsing , toning and soaking?

I think i can achieve this effect by bleaching highlights first , then taking the print off the tray and then applying the bleach locally in areas i choose and then tonng as usual.

I still don't know what causeed the effect yesterday , which i don't want to be repeated in an accidental way.

Anybody knows what went wrong?

-- domenico (applethorpe@earthlink.net), May 08, 2002


Sounds like the prints continued to tone while sitting stagnant in the holding tray. especially because you mention that the toning is irregular. If you want achieve the same effect, just bring the toned prints into the holding tray before the final wash and let them sit for awhile before washing.

-- Per Volquartz (volquartz@volquartz.com), May 08, 2002.

I had a similar surprise. It has to do with the warmtone paper. The color continues to change in the wash stage. The way to stop it is to use a hardening fixer or just a hardening bath (I use the Sprint alum hardener converter) first as the final fix, then wash, bleach and tone. That should do the trick. I also use the no odor sepia toners, that smell is tough to take! good luck!

-- Erik Gould (egould@risd.edu), May 08, 2002.

Immediately the print has achieved the degree of toning that you want, soak it for 3 min in a 10% solution of sodium sulphite. This stops further toning. Then wash as per usual.

-- George Hart (g.hart@liv.ac.uk), May 09, 2002.

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