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  1. #1
    500+ Posts Ned.Lewis's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    Sonoma County, California

    Typical for Alt Process

    I'm having a lot of fun playing with gold toners and salt prints. Today I am going to try gold borax followed by gold thiocyanate toners, which Christopher James says will give "deep burgundy" tones. I'm using paper negatives and each exposure is a few hours, so it's slow but it's also fun.

    It seems like there is always a lot of contradictory information about alt processes, but I had to laugh when I read about gold borax toners. Look at these:

    Christopher James:

    Prepare this toning solution at least an hour before use and work with it at room temperature.
    Ellie Young:

    The toner must sit for approximately 1 hour before use to allow the acidic gold to become active through contact with the alkaline borax. The color should change colour from pale yellow to clear as it becomes active.
    Coming Into Focus: A Step-by-Step Guide to Alternative Photographic Printing
    edited by John Barnier:

    Gold borax toner is only usable for one half hour after mixing.
    Wilson's Photographic Magazine, Volume 53:

    This bath can be used as soon as mixed.
    Talk about contradictions! One source says it won't work unless you wait an hour and another says it won't work if you wait more than half an hour!

    I made gold borax toner yesterday an hour ahead of time, and it did tone nicely but not as fast as the gold thiocyanate toner I tried the day before. I could not detect any change in color at all when I made it. The gold thiocyanate toner briefly turned dark then quickly turned clear again when I made it.

    Today, I think I'll try using the borax toner right away instead of letting it sit for an hour!

    Update, 15 minutes into the toning: I think Wilson's Photographic Magazine wins. Identically exposed print of the same negative (as much as that is possible exposing with the sun ), the borax toner appears to work just a bit faster right after mixing. Coming into Focus is wrong because I successfully toned a print yesterday after waiting an hour. James and Young seem wrong because it is obviously working fine right after mixing, and if anything a little bit better.
    Last edited by Ned.Lewis; 10-06-2014 at 07:56 PM. Reason: update
    Some photos: Ipernity
    ( pinholes and solargraphs mixed in among the rest)

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