Friday, February 4, 2011

Zero Catastrophe Rate

I think I'm coming to terms with selenium. Last night my toning results weren't quite what I expected but they roughly matched my last outcome. I can live with consistency. Especially when that consistency excludes disaster.

Piano, Coleman, FL - Kallitype
Just a note - the images here are scans of the untoned kallitypes, which look closer to the actual selenium toned prints than the scans of those prints do. Yeah, doesn't make a lot sense to me either.

For the time being I've settled at diluting Ilford's Rapid Selenium Toner to 1+200 and letting it rest for about 10-20 minutes. By letting it sit for a while, it seems to dissipate a bit of the ammonia stench that not only burns the nostrils but wreaks havoc on prints. I honestly doubt there's any real effect at this low dilution but it makes me feel better. This is my voodoo science, doubt it at your own risk.

The Other Piano, Coleman, FL - Kallitype
The changes produced by the toning are very subtle. Contrast is given a slight bump at the expensive of highlight detail.

The color shift is also very subtle. Originally the prints were much more reddish brown. The selenium rolls them ever so slightly back toward neutral, although they stay very warm.

The biggest challenge has been determining how much toning to give them. The prints in the toning bath look much different than the dry prints the next morning, which look slightly different from the dry prints several days later.

Chair, Coleman, FL - Kallitype
All together, I've been thrilled with the outcome of this round of printing. I'd love to ride this wave of success but I'm down to only a couple of sheets of paper left and trying to find someone with a stock of Arches Platine would be a wasted effort. Rumor is that the next run will be in March. 

Skylight, Coleman, FL - Kallitype


  1. Good work, man. I'm heading over to my pro store this afternoon to pick up my enlarged transparencies. I don't have a lightbox but I have the SoCal sun and hope to get a few working prints this weekend.

  2. Three weeks later, I've finally posted... also considering building an even shoddier light box...