View Full Version : Advice needed for travel in heat/good film protection

13-May-2007, 19:18
After much research It would seem as though putting silica pack in ziplocs containing the holders is optimal. However keeping the holders at even temp while in my car as I'm traveling in the desert seems risky.

You would think that some case company like pelican would have a case that is heat resistant/controlled, that would allow for keeping things under specific temps. After looking I cant find anything, any ideas?

And finally I cant deel with the thought of mailing my film to ny only to have it scratch itself in transit. Does anyone place exposed color film into sleeves or protectors to avoid this problems.

as always input is appreciated

13-May-2007, 20:09
Which desert and what time of year?

For example, in Jordan or Saudi Arabia in January, this is a non-issue. That much I know from personal experience.

If you are going to be somewhere in high heat, desert or otherwise, it's a matter of common sense. Don't leave the film in a situation where it can cook, such as in a parked car with the windows rolled up. No need to maintain a specific temperature. About a year ago I discussed this issue with a Kodak rep, in the context of motion picture film, which is damn expensive and which they say is more sensitive than still film, and he told me, given that I was talking about a week-long trip without access to cool storage, not to worry about it, apart from not letting the film bake in a vehicle, covering it in the sun in black cloth, etc.

But of course if others here have a different experience, I'd love to see what they say.

Frank Petronio
13-May-2007, 22:00
People have been shooting out in the desert for 140 years or so. Don't fret over it!

13-May-2007, 22:14
People have been shooting out in the desert for 140 years or so. Don't fret over it!

Yes, it is a place that I absolutely love to photograph. Probably, because it takes a lot of work to get a memorable image.

My last trip it was about 100 every day, but I didn't worry about the film at all. It stayed in the trunk of the car or in my pack. It suffered no ill effects. FWIW, film is a lot tougher than many give it credit for.

John Kasaian
13-May-2007, 22:19
I guess I'm paranoid. In areas where it going to be very hot for a very long time I'll keep film holders in a cooler (no ice, just a cooler) for a bit of thermal protection in the car with the windows rolled down a crack. Actually I do this anyway, coolers are just so handy for this and they don't look like anything photo oriented so I suppose it deters thieves (but not bears, who equate "Coleman" and "Igloo" with food)

14-May-2007, 04:18
Plain coolers without ice is fine to avoid sudden temp changes or to protect against direct sunlight. Practically any sort of box will do really - just keep the film out of direct sunlight.

In my experience, if you're in a hot and humid enviroment then coolers with ice can cause condensation which will make negs stick together. If you're in a hot and dry environment, the only real worry is dust not heat. In either cause, humidity and dust are your real problems, not heat.

Silica is seriously over-rated: saturates in most tropical environments rather quickly and unless placed in truly air-tight compartment permanently, is probably practically useless.

14-May-2007, 06:34
Silica is seriously over-rated: saturates in most tropical environments rather quickly and unless placed in truly air-tight compartment permanently, is probably practically useless.

This bears repeating.

Every time someone has a question involving moisture protection, the quick answer given is "silica gel dissicant." Unless this is used properly, it's most likely to be useless and could be counterproductive.

First, it has to be used in an air-tight container. If the container is not air-tight, the gel will merely draw in more moisture until it saturates itself. The ironic thing about this is that most containers are not "convection engines."
Unlike heat, humidity does not migrate to evenly fill a space unless there is already a convection engine moving warm air from one place and replacing it with cooler air. Most homes are convection engines (which we fight with insulation and compartmentalization); most closed containers (even if not air tight) are not convection engines. That means the humidity level in a container will tend to stay at that level even if it changes outside.

This is operational even within an open room, if there is nothing already moving the air. If you purchase a few cheap hygrometers from a home store and station them around your living room or family room, you should discover that even in that open space, humidity levels can vary substantially. Normally the corners near the floor will be more humid than the center of the room. You may also find closets and cupboards to have different humidity levels. Humidity levels migrate very slowly unless there is already something moving the air.

Film is hygroscopic, but it will have already absorbed enough moisture to equalize with the surrounding air. If that's not enough to have already caused sticking or other problems, then retaining that level isn't a problem. Wrap it and don't "sweat" it.

Only if the incident environment is already humid enough to cause sticking (well over 90 percent humidity) or you intend to refrigerate the film in its container to less than the dewpoint of the humidity of the incident environment might you need to reduce the humidity in the enclosure. In that case, you need to use an air-tight container and make sure the silica gel is fresh and you've calculated the amount of gel necessary to reduce the humidity in the container to the necessary level. When you seal it, don't open it again with an expectation that the same silica gel will continue to be effective.

14-May-2007, 07:36
thanks for the heads up on the silica.

As far as heat, The empty cooler seems pretty logical, and I've heard film has a tolerance I'm just trying to take all precautions.

10-Jun-2007, 08:08
I'm reading this post kinda of late for my reply to be of much help, but...

When traveling with film in the trunk of a car, I place it in a "Playmate" lunch box with a 1-liter Nagalene wide-mouthed water bottle that is filled with water and kept frozen in my refrigerator for such purpose. To limit moisture/condensation inside the Playmate, I wrap the bottle with an ordinary plastic grocery bag. Even on the hottest of days there is still ice left in the bottle and the film remains cool. If travel is extended, I stop at a Carls, McDonalds or wherever there is self-service soda vending and replenish the ice. Finally, all my vehicles have been of reflective color.