As discussed in my previous post I was not happy with this image in the standard flat grey of Ilford MGFB or Warmtone papers. So I ordered some selenium and performed some tests. This image has been toned at 1:6 dilution for 15 minutes. The color shift began after 4 minutes in the dark tones and was fully toned by about 12 minutes. Overall I like this image better now.
I also toned the image from the classic paper for the same time but it was too purple of a tone for my liking. 3 minutes would have been fine for archival purposes.
Below is a comparison of before and after toning (upper left corner) for the different papers.
My first darkroom was a temporary setup in my apartment bathroom with a sheet of plywood over the sink and trays in the tub. It was cramped and kept me bent over so would get backaches.
Fast forward 20 years and I took a class at an arts center about 20 miles from home which was a proper space with all the bells and whistoles. It was a bit far to drive often so I started looking at my garage closet as a new spot to do my printing. I got rid of as much junk as I could and basically carved out a 6×6 room for the darkroom area. It also contains the water heater so is only usable on one wall.
The enlarger I started with was fairly compact so I could get away with about 30 inches for the enlarger and the rest for a dry sink. I inherited a larger 4×5 enlarger and it takes up more visual space and sticks out of the workbench area by about 6 inches so I have to work from the side.
Storage above and below holds most trays, tanks, chemistry, paper, and other stuff. Washing and drying is usually done inside the house or outside if warm enough. I have a plywood top I can put on the sink if I need a dry work space. Inside the sink I can arrange trays large enough to process 8×10 easily or stack them for 11×14. For bigger I have to set up trays in the adjoining garage. I am thinking I may see out a slot processor for larger work in the future.
Maintaining temperature in the space is easy in winter with a small space heater except for very cold days. Summertime I resort to using ice filled bags to cool down chemistry. I would like to add the luxury of running water one day with a proper drain. I have padded the floor with rubber matting for comfort and warmth.
It is a minimal design with just the items I need. I do have storage shelves outside the room for empty bottles and things I do not need in the darkroom. I keep my paper and some supplies in the house until I need them.
After printing the Cooper Creek image and being a little disappointed with the color and contrast I decided to re-print it using a warm tone paper. There are tons of images of warm tone paper prints having a deep rich brown color on the internet. What no one tells you is that is the result of using a dark brown toner, not the natural color of the paper. The natural color is just slightly warmer in darker tones and whites.
My first experience with the warmtone paper was that it took longer to expose and develop using my standard Ethol LPD at 1:2. Overall the shadows appeared softer but going overboard on the contrast grade was not helpful. Time was increased from 9 seconds to 16 seconds under the enlarger at Yellow 40 and Magenta 50 which was same as Ilford MGFB Classic for contrast settings. It also took the image about 45 seconds to first appear so I extended development time from 2 to 2.5 minutes. I assume when dry the warmtone paper will be less white on the borders. The difference in color is subtle between Classic and Warmtone. I did get more out of the dense bushes but it just looks lighter and not as “harsh”. So I did achieve what I was looking for except for the warm brown rich color. So my next darkroom experiment will be toning using selenium to see if I can alter the colors toward brown.
Update: click to see the results of toning