Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Thread: Travelling to Ethiopia

Hybrid View

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Somerset, England.
    Posts
    69

    Travelling to Ethiopia

    All,

    At the end of this month (April) I will be travelling to Ethiopia for a two week stay. I intend to take with me a Crown Graphic and a few boxes of b&w sheet film (Adox 25). I will be flying from London Heathrow to Addis Ababa and during my stay taking three internal flights.

    Having read various discussion threads online, I gather that there are two ways in which it all ends badly;

    1. Customs and Immigration ask to see inside the 5x4 film boxes, and i'm unable to do anything about it.
    2. Having been through 5 sets of hand luggage x-ray machines my film is destroyed


    Has anyone go experience of travelling with LF gear and film in country such as this, and could give me some advice. I came across one thread where the advice given was to send the film in advance by special courier...but to Ethiopia I cannot see this being 1. affordable and 2. very easy.

    I hate to ask the questions, as it's a little defeatist, but should I just forget the idea, accepting that the risk is far too high, and just take my Nikon FM2 and a bunch of safely sealed 35mm film?

    I look forward to your responses.

    Matthew

  2. #2
    I have no idea where I am now.
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    243
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Rolfe View Post
    All,

    At the end of this month (April) I will be travelling to Ethiopia for a two week stay. I intend to take with me a Crown Graphic and a few boxes of b&w sheet film (Adox 25). I will be flying from London Heathrow to Addis Ababa and during my stay taking three internal flights.

    Having read various discussion threads online, I gather that there are two ways in which it all ends badly;

    1. Customs and Immigration ask to see inside the 5x4 film boxes, and i'm unable to do anything about it.
    2. Having been through 5 sets of hand luggage x-ray machines my film is destroyed


    Has anyone go experience of travelling with LF gear and film in country such as this, and could give me some advice. I came across one thread where the advice given was to send the film in advance by special courier...but to Ethiopia I cannot see this being 1. affordable and 2. very easy.

    I hate to ask the questions, as it's a little defeatist, but should I just forget the idea, accepting that the risk is far too high, and just take my Nikon FM2 and a bunch of safely sealed 35mm film?

    I look forward to your responses.

    Matthew
    Matt,

    I returned from Djibouti in February, I had a Hasselblad and a Speed Graphic for film. What I did was keep all of my film on my carry on and let it get x-rayed. The carry on scanner is much lower power the the ones used for checked baggage. Addis Abba is a modern airport with modern gear. So they have the low power scanners. I also carried a film changing bag and kept an eye on the inspectors to see if they were trying to inspect my film. If they want to inspect it put it in the bag and let them have at it. No one has ever messed with my film that has gone through the scanner. Also most times film only gets scanned where you are leaving from. So it should only get x-rayed one time, maybe twice.

    Are you planning on developing while you are there? If not I would look into it. While I was resistant at first the folks here convinced me to do my own developing. I was sick of paying large sums of money and waiting for a month or two to get my film back. I was able to develop color negatives without running water or any way to heat the water. You could bring dry chemicals and mix them on site. That way you would not have to worry about the film getting scanned again when you leave. There may also be a place there that develops film.

    In the end I would not worry too much about it. Take your Graphic and have a good time.

  3. #3
    indecent exposure cosmicexplosion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    sydney
    Posts
    659

    Re: Travelling to Ethiopia

    Quote Originally Posted by Kav View Post
    I was able to develop color negatives without running water or any way to heat the water. You could bring dry chemicals and mix them on site. That way you would not have to worry about the film getting scanned again when you leave. There may also be a place there that develops film.

    would love to heart more about your colour developing!


    and...

    A member here told of how he developed his film in snap lock bags, more to save developer, but it could be a good trick on the road, to save carrying trays. but thats another story.
    through a glass darkly...

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Somerset, England.
    Posts
    69

    Re: Travelling to Ethiopia

    Kav,

    Thanks for your response, just what I was looking for. All the other threads I've looked at have been pretty negative about taking sheet film abroad.

    I'm heading to the Simien Mountains for a four day trek so a LF setup is an absolute must!

    I had thought about developing whilst I was there but was a little concerned about taking chemicals (powedered) abroad - have you had any issues?

    Matt

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Posts
    364

    Re: Travelling to Ethiopia

    Some years ago I went to Egypt. My film was scanned 12 times, it was fine. It was 100 ISO.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    727

    Re: Travelling to Ethiopia

    I've traveled extensively with 4x5 and I've had no problems to date. I actually re-pack my Portra 160 so I can fit 50 sheets into what was a 10-sheet box. (I use black film bags from Freestyle inside of the boxes.) I normally travel with 200-300 sheets.

    As long as you pass your film through the carry-on x-ray machine, you should have no problems. I've run film through quite a few passes with no noticeable affects. The problem will come if you DON'T allow your film to be x-rayed. That is when they'll want to open it.

    I know some folks have had good luck with changing bags, but try to explain to someone whose language you don't speak why they need to stick their hands into a black bag before opening your box. That's asking for trouble in my opinion. I do carry a changing bag and I do think it's a good idea as a last resort. But I doubt your 25-speed film will be affected so I'd strongly advise to just send it through the machine.

    The other precaution I take is to print out labels that say something like "Photographic film, open only in complete darkness" in both English and the languages of whatever countries I'll be visiting or traveling through. Sure, it can be ignored, but it can also let someone know what's in the box who might genuinely not understand, and I think it is a sign of respect that you took the time to mark your film in their language. This might be tough in Ethiopia since there are so many languages, but in general I think it's good advice. If it's a language I don't speak I generally contact the fixer I'll be working with in the country and have them translate it for me.

    Have fun!

  7. #7
    CantikFotos's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Micronesia
    Posts
    122

    Re: Travelling to Ethiopia

    What are you taking for malaria?
    "There are two dirty words in photography; one is 'art', and the other is 'good taste'." - Helmut Newton

  8. #8
    I have no idea where I am now.
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    New Bern, NC
    Posts
    243
    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Rolfe View Post
    Kav,

    Thanks for your response, just what I was looking for. All the other threads I've looked at have been pretty negative about taking sheet film abroad.

    I'm heading to the Simien Mountains for a four day trek so a LF setup is an absolute must!

    I had thought about developing whilst I was there but was a little concerned about taking chemicals (powedered) abroad - have you had any issues?

    Matt
    I have not been hassled over taking powder chemicals and a liquid bottle of PhotoFlo with me. It always goes in my checked baggage, and I expect TSA to inspect all my bags when flying with it. The thing is if you take chemicals then you need tanks and other equipment as well. Do you want to pack all of the stuff too? For a week or two I might not. I lived in Africa for 7 months and change. I had time to develop my own film. Im going to Thailand for a few weeks and will not be talking any of my tanks or chemicals with me. You can look into getting film developed while you are there. That's what I am planning on doing on my next trip.

    How are you sending your camera? Checked baggage? Carry on? How sturdy is your bag/case? I like Pelican cases. I abuse them to the extreme. And the have plenty with padded dividers that work well for photo gear if you can move it around while you are on the move. But you give up the ability to travel light with that kind of gear. With that in mind I am taking soft bags and will have my cameras/lenses/film as my carry on.

    Quote Originally Posted by CantikFotos View Post
    What are you taking for malaria?
    You should be starting your malaria meds a week or two before you leave. Get one it if you have not done so already.

  9. #9
    Tautatis tautatis's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
    Posts
    69

    Re: Travelling to Ethiopia

    I have travelled extensively in Africa. In all case, never once i have been asked by the host country's customs authority to open my bags. If you are a foreigner coming into the country as a visitor you will not be asked by customs. As one of the members said here, just put your film in your carry on bags and you will be fine. Where in Ethiopia would you be visiting? The South is more interesting, both people and landscape!

    Enjoy,

    Tautatis

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Bangkok, Thailand
    Posts
    1,028

    Re: Travelling to Ethiopia

    On a long trip I often develop black and white on the road for two reasons. One, I don't have to risk exposed negatives in scanners (I do travel a lot, and normally carry exposed film through airports, and have never had a problem except the one time I foolishly forgot the film in a checked bag). Two, instant gratification and the ability to ensure I have a good negative. I sometimes do contact prints as well, if i am out for a month or so.

    That all being said, I live in the tropics, so am used to developing at high temperatures, and my process is pretty loose...

    Take the camera and have fun. You will never regret it; whereas, if you don't take it you always will.

Similar Threads

  1. Tripod and Travelling
    By tom thomas in forum Location & Travel
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 29-Mar-2011, 14:42
  2. Travelling for a year; so which LF camera?
    By Ti29er in forum Introductions
    Replies: 89
    Last Post: 21-Dec-2010, 13:47
  3. A travelling exhibition...
    By jim kitchen in forum Announcements
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 15-Oct-2010, 20:14
  4. Travelling with a 4x5 and a low budget
    By tzibs in forum Darkroom: Film, Processing & Printing
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 14-Aug-2006, 13:34

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •