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Thread: Storing exposed film on the road

  1. #11
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Seattle, Wash.

    Re: Storing exposed film on the road

    Quote Originally Posted by andreios View Post
    I have only recently moved to the larger format so I don't have more than one or two empty boxes...
    That's okay, if not ideal, if you're careful.

    On one extended trip w/ just a few holders, I had only one film-storage box (and no cardboard "dividers" inside), so I had to make careful notes about which sheet was on the bottom, which sheet was on top of that one, etc. When I got home, first thing I did was split the sheets into appropriate multiple boxes (N-1, N, N+1); otherwise, I just knew I’d either lose my field notes, or the notes would, eventually, stop making sense to me. BTW, while I was splitting the single stack of sheets into their multiple boxes, in the dark, I found this simple sounding task to be more dangerous and confusing than it sounds! It takes some pre-planning before you switch off the lights.

    As for others who still enjoy the privilege of traveling w/ envelope film (Quick Loads, etc.), you can use each envelope’s unique, factory-stamped number to help organize your separate field notes about them. Or sometimes, I’ll write brief notes directly onto the envelope ... carefully!

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Jul 2017

    Re: Storing exposed film on the road

    Resurrecting this thread like a phoenix rising from a, erhm, box of film? Or something. I haven't had enough coffee yet.

    I read over the link provided earlier on ( and could maybe use a sanity check on my plan.

    I'm going on a trip, mostly for business, but with some hiking trails nearby and the chance for a great sunrise. Plus showing off my Intrepid 4x5 to my coworkers. So this is more of a shakedown/practice kinda thing than something super serious. I'm hoping to work out the kinks of travelling with my 4x5 for a hike in May.

    I planned on taking 2-5 films but not many sheets of each. I'm for sure hoping to expose some Velvia 50 (it'll be my first time trying both 50 and on 4x5 - I've used 100 in 120 format once). Since I'm flying I didn't want to just bring all the film boxes and have film I won't shoot get x-rayed. Thus I was thinking I would consolidate films into fewer boxes at home so I can free up tow empty boxes to take with me (for unexposed and exposed films). I wasn't going to worry about N/N-1/N+1 at this point.

    To know what film is what I was going to rely on notches and perhaps dividers. I don't have enough dividers unless I stole those from my film boxes at home. Instead I was going to use rice paper or I have some spare plastic inkjet paper (used for printing hiking maps and things) that I thought might work well. I was more worried about making sure I had the right film for loading the holders. At home I expect I can take my time to sort things out.

    Making sure the film doesn't slide around or rub on each other I know is a thing but otherwise does this sound sensible? If it works it would be pretty great for my longer hike in May (I'd expect to take more film then but still wanna keep the amount of boxes I need as low as possible).

  3. #13

    Join Date
    Jul 2017

    Re: Storing exposed film on the road

    Ran out of time to not figure something out so I decided to do mostly what I was thinking up above. I'm bringing 5 films - Ektar, Portra 160, Velvia 50, Delta 100, Fomapan 200. I put them in my box in the order listed. This keeps the sheets that have similar feeling notches further apart so I can better tell what sheet I'm choosing to load. I used the cardstock and black bag from the original box (an Ilford FP4 box) and used the plastic paper in between the films.

    For my exposed box I'm bringing print-file 4x5 sleeves. I tested it out and 4 of those can fit in the box with film in them, meaning I can store up to all 16 sheets I'm bringing with me. I didn't have an extra black bag to use and I read this is a good idea to help avoid dust or scratches since negatives won't be rubbing against each other.

    I wrote down notes of what the notch codes are as well as the order, and I'll likely take a picture on my phone of the notch codes on the back of the boxes. I guess I'll find out how well it goes in about a week!

  4. #14
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    SF Bay area, CA

    Re: Storing exposed film on the road

    Your biggest problem juggling that many fresh film varieties is that the more often you open the same box, the more likely that cardboard dust etc will get on the film. You already have to repack them to begin with.

  5. #15's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Winona, Minnesota

    Re: Storing exposed film on the road

    There are so many solution. When I look for ways to store and/or mail exposed film ... well just surf!

    And there are so many more!

    I am inclined to contract my own, but could it do it better.

  6. #16

    Join Date
    Jul 2017

    Re: Storing exposed film on the road

    Yeah in hindsight the bags would have been better than the PrintFile sheet. I ended up, as I thought, of not exposing all that much film from the trip. I still have a few BW sheets to dev and 1 sheet of E-6 to send off, but the color Ektar came out great.

    I thought having to find the film by touch would have been difficult but I got used to it. I just had to pay attention (organizing the sheets that kept similar feeling notches further apart helped).

    For my next trip I plan on taking more boxes to make things easier. But for backpacking, I think limiting the boxes as much as I can makes a lot of sense. This method, perhaps with the addition of the black bags, may work out. Very valid point made about dust though (definitely will be a problem in that situation for sure).

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