Ilford MGWT, Agfa Viradon, and B.B.King : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

Those who have seen the B.B. King portrait printed on MGWT have stated that the rich brown tones of this image was what drove them to try this paper. What most people didn't realize, at the time, was that this image was toned in Agfa Viradon. Needless to say, they were puzzled when their own images lacked the same tones when developed in standard developers. Now, those I've spoke with who have tried Viradon, at the 1:50 dilution, have stated that they have gotten a more yellowish tone. Does anyone know how to reproduce these tones on this paper using this toner?

-- Walter Massa (, June 16, 2000


I have never used Viradon with Ilfords paper, but with Emaks and Agfa Portriga-Rapid and got warm brown tones. That was without a bleach bath. Maybe a bleach bath before the toning will give a yellowish tone? Another way is to use a Sepia toner. Sepia is a yellow-brown tone.

BTW, your photo doesn't have to be a portrait of BB King. You can also tone photos of the rockgroup Queen, The Artist Prince and...


-- Patric (, June 16, 2000.

You do realize that the image you have seen is an ink reproduction of a photograph. When comparing photographs that I own with ink reproductions of these prints, its the tone that is different. Most printers use more than one color of ink to make a "black and white print". Keep experimenting with your toners, you may find the look you want. Polytoner is a toner that I use if I am trying to get something between Selenium and Sepia.

-- Jeff White (, June 16, 2000.

Hate to break the news, guys, but you will NEVER get that tone using Viridon. Fotospeed Odorless Sepia Toner allows you to vary the color of the tone by varying the amount of 'C' solution. This can be anywhere from a egg-yolky sepia all the way to dark chocolate brown. This is a terrific toner. Also, the portrait of Albert Watson was toned in Selinium 1:3 for 8 minutes (according to an Ilfopro newsletter.) To some extent, the choice of paper developer will affect the color of the tone. You may want to mix your own developer from one of the recipes in Steve Anchell's indespensible "Darkroom Cookbook."

-- Michael D Fraser (, June 16, 2000.

To get that sort of rich chocolate brown, tone in selenium toner 1:4 for about 8 minutes.

Viradon gives a lighter brown tone.

-- John Hicks (, June 16, 2000.

Speaking of Selenium Toner, it certainly is expensive, does anyone have a solution (sorry) other than Kodak Rapid Selenium Toner? I'm not a chemist, so I don't have the accurate scales (or patience) to mix toner from raw materials. Perhaps Photographers Formulary or similar company offers an easy to use kit?

In any event, my formula with MGWT is two minutes in Selenium at about 1:4 ratio, 10 second rinse, and two minutes in Kodak Brown Toner at about 1:20. The Selenium gives me the rich warm browns in the shadows, and the brown toner seems to finish the job with the midtones and a slight warmth to the highlights.

This is an incredible paper, I would encourage everyone to try it, especially now since the look is both retro, yet extremely contemporary (just turn on the television, nearly every auto commercial looks like it was toned in selenium!).

-- Bill Noll (, June 16, 2000.

Selenium toner is NOT expensive! You can use the same toner solution many times and save it in a glass bottle. I use selenium toner diluted 1+9 with Emaks paper, and I get a full tone change.

-- Patric (, June 17, 2000.

You can reuse KRST until toning time gets too long for comfort (yours).

-- John Hicks (, June 17, 2000.

selenium in its pure powder form is very toxic! I wouldn't mix it myself--stick to the kodak packaged version.

-- mark lindsey (, June 19, 2000.

are these portraits of b.b. king and albert watson in the new ilford newsletter? i'm afraid i'm confused as to what you guys are talking about.

anyhow, i never really liked toning until i saw the work of albert watson, who is absolutely one of my favorite photographers--ranking with richard avedon and edward weston. my favorite combination for a while was ilford MG IV FB and kodak sepia, not bleaching all the way. lately i've been trying to find a combination that will eliminate the bleaching step. MG IV FB in viradon looks a little purplish (eggplant) to me. i'll try the MGWT paper in viradon and selenium and see what i get.


-- brad daly (, June 19, 2000.

Thanks for the advice on reusing selenium toner (also, not mixing from powder). I do find the toning times to get excessively long relatively quickly. I've had fairly good success with replenishing the working solution straight from the KRST bottle, any advice against this?

BTW, are you sure that's B.B. King in the photo? I seem to remember the older gentleman holding a saxophone, not a guitar. I could be wrong on th

-- bill noll (, June 20, 2000.

The idea with MGWT and KRST is to tone to completion; it really doesn't matter how strong the toner is as long as it's _enough_, so replenishing straight from the bottle is ok.

Note that with really long toning times in strong toner you may excessively reduce the paper's D-Max.

-- John Hicks (, June 20, 2000.

Something no one has touched on here is water quality/mineral content of the tap water used. I took a workshop in Atlanta years ago with George Tice (he normally selenium tones), and he was amazed at the long toning times required as opposed to what he was used to in his dark room in New Jersey.


-- fred (, June 24, 2000.

Mixing KRST with HCA will also dramatically extend toning time.

-- John Hicks (, June 24, 2000.

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