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Thread: Traveling by Air In July: How should I handle LF Film?

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    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Traveling by Air In July: How should I handle LF Film?

    We will be traveling within the USA iun July; one direct hop from Houston to Denver and return. I have not flown with LF gear for five years or so. What should I do with the film??
    Drew Bedo
    www.quietlightphoto.com
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    Re: Traveling by Air In July: How should I handle LF Film?

    I put the film in a ziplock bag, and ask for hand inspection when I go through the TSA check. I just returned from flights where I had the hand inspections done in Austin TX, Newark NJ, and Toronto, Canada, and had no problems. My backpack with the camera is always pulled out from the scanner, and I have to explain to TSA what it is. The shape of both my collapsed Canham 4x5 or my Rollei 6006 are unusual enough not to be recognized during the scans. As for 4x5 boxes, I typically put the exposed sheets back in the Ilford box under the "envelope" containing the unexposed sheets.

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    Re: Traveling by Air In July: How should I handle LF Film?

    I always put my film in X-RAY proof film bags -- lead lined and pretty cheap -- just in case.

    I always ASK for a hand inspection.

    Chances are the TSA agent will not know "what you got", but if you have any problems ask for a supervisor. There are TSA regulation sheets -- on-line -- regarding film, that you can download and bring with you to show to whoever you run across.

    You probably won't have a problem, but it's better to be safe than sorry. You do not want to be in a position where they want to X-ray the box or open it up.

    I've been forced to open a single 35mm film canister. It ruined the IR film, of course. Funny thing is they never asked me to open the camera, which held the same thing.

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    Re: Traveling by Air In July: How should I handle LF Film?

    good luck drew! I did hand inspect within the states before the pandemic and the young TSA guy didn't even know what film was.
    some suggest shipping film to your destination and shipping it back so you don't have to deal... not sure it is an option but might be something to think about
    I also had someone freak when a camera went through XRAY they thought it was some sort of device, until I opened it ... then it was OK. same thing happened
    to friends with a small tripod for a polaroid camera and one of those answering machine beep in the phone things back in the day so who knows
    it's been suggested ( photo engineer over on photrio ) that having the film in a plane in sky is more radiation than the X-ray machines in case you were wondering ..

    have a nice trip!

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    Re: Traveling by Air In July: How should I handle LF Film?

    Quote Originally Posted by jnantz View Post
    it's been suggested ( photo engineer over on photrio ) that having the film in a plane in sky is more radiation than the X-ray machines in case you were wondering ..

    have a nice trip!
    More Internet "confusion". It depends on what the radiation level is set on the TSA machine. They can set it LOW or HIGH. And it depends on the ISO of the film.

    If you mail film it gets "shipped" on an airplane that is exposed to the same radiation in the sky. Don't bother shipping it. TSA can always X-RAY it if it is shipped.

    Just DON'T get it X-RAYed by TSA. Ask for hand inspection -- as required when requested by TSA rules. Just bring a copy of the rules -- and show up 1/2 hour early, just in case.

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    Re: Traveling by Air In July: How should I handle LF Film?

    Quote Originally Posted by xkaes View Post
    More Internet "confusion". If you mail film it gets "shipped" on an airplane that is exposed to the same radiation in the sky. Don't bother shipping it.

    Just DON'T get it X-RAYed by TSA. Ask for hand inspection -- as required when requested by TSA rules. Just bring a copy of the rules -- and show up 1/2 hour early, just in case.
    not really internet confusion.

    sometimes you get TSA people who have no idea what they are looking at and they ruin film, at least if it is shipped, it ONLY gets radiation from the sky (it won't be opened and ruined by TSA). how does it get ruined by the TSA? Sometimes they don't listen when you say "it's light sensitive film and has to be opened in complete darkness" they just open and ruin it. no fun, money wasted and time wasted shooting it, but it's a good "internet rant". At least if it is shipped it ONLY gets bombarded with atmospheric radiation and not opened and ruined through human error or hubris ... not saying all TSA people will wreck the film, but you never know which person you will get, it might be the hobby photographer who says "is that a Hasselhoff you are using" or the person who I got who said "WTF is film"...

    Drew, a strategy I hear works is take a box of film and make sure it is taped shut(clear tape!), and when you return put the exposed film back in the box and tape it shut(clear tape!) so it looks unopened. some used to say if it is taped shut they won't ask for it to be opened to search the unexposed / exposed film ,
    good luck!
    YMMVFTSITW

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    Re: Traveling by Air In July: How should I handle LF Film?

    the big issues at the moments seems to be that old school xray machines are being replaced by CT scanners at certain locations. The old carry-on xray machines weren't a problem, I even flew ISO 1600 film that wasn't affected. I've never encountered the new machines but the word is that even a single scan can cause issues. Kodak has officially warned about them:

    https://petapixel.com/2020/01/27/kod...uin-your-film/

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    Re: Traveling by Air In July: How should I handle LF Film?

    Quote Originally Posted by jnantz View Post
    not really internet confusion.
    One minute you write "having the film in a plane in sky is more radiation than the X-ray machines in case you were wondering .."

    Then you write, "at least if it is shipped, it ONLY gets radiation from the sky".

    Confusing? Contradictory? It can't be both. But it is.

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    Re: Traveling by Air In July: How should I handle LF Film?

    Quote Originally Posted by xkaes View Post
    One minute you write "having the film in a plane in sky is more radiation than the X-ray machines in case you were wondering .."

    Then you write, "at least if it is shipped, it ONLY gets radiation from the sky".

    Confusing? Contradictory? It can't be both. But it is.
    Sorry for the confusion..
    Yes I suggested when shipped it’s ONLY radiation from the sky and not the potential of boxes opened by TSA agents …hope that makes sense…. I suggested that it doesn’t matter about the airport scanners cause they supposedly don’t bother anything but high speed film, but pointed out that human error / hubris can potentially bother all film.. I’ve never had a FEDEX, UPS, or USPS agent open / inspect film or paper like my luggage . I guess there is always a first ( hope not ! ). People go on and on ( or used to at least ) about the scanners zapping film but forget ( and photo engineer reminded us ) that there is more radiation from traveling in the sardine can in the sky than the scanners …. Hope that makes more sense….( sorry if it still makes no sense ). I haven't travelled with film in about 6 years, the last time I did it was from Boston to Zurich or maybe it was Frankfort ( I can't remember I got really sick and the trip is kind of a blur ) do remember I didn't have film issues though
    Last edited by jnantz; 20-May-2022 at 20:21.

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    Re: Traveling by Air In July: How should I handle LF Film?

    Fedex. B&H will send it by Fedex to your destination for free. Then send it back home. Of course this is assuming you have a place to load holders.

    Travel by air used to be fun.

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