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

  1. #41

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

    It's been a few years since I've flown with film, but when I've asked for hand inspection, they just swab the exterior and lip of the Ziplock I keep the film in. Their concern would be any residue left on the baggie, which will set off the alarm. Which mine did, but can't remember why. This sent me for the up close and personal choice of full body scan or a pat down. I went for the buy me dinner first pat down since the body scans were new and people were rightly concerned, at the time. Usually I just let the film sail through the machine. But with the new technology, I'd ask for the hand inspection.
    notch codes ? I only use one film...

  2. #42
    the Docter is in Arne Croell's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling by Air In July: How should I handle LF Film?

    Quote Originally Posted by nitroplait View Post
    For this experiment, obviously it did.
    I have only heard statements like yours often repeated, but never seen the results.
    I am not sure if you are referring to my post above (#35), but that was NOT checked luggage, that was carry-on with one of the new CT scanners. I would expect checked luggage CT scanners to have a similar effect.

  3. #43

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

    I recently returned from a family trip to France (June, 2022). I took four sheets of Ilford FP4+ in 4x5 (3 exposed, 1 unexposed) and ran a 'scanner fogging test' on our return flights. All four sheets were in a TMAX-100 nested box and bagged in the Ilford bag within the nested boxes. Outbound, both flights were US in origin, only went through security once - TSA readily accepted a hand check request. Return flights; Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Heathrow - went through security at each airport.

    At CDG, there was no way they were going to do a hand inspection - at least that was the impression they gave me when I asked if they'd hand-inspect the disposable camera my daughter had taken on the trip. Granted, I'm not fluent in French, but I did give an honest effort to make the request in French. At Heathrow, had I pressed, they seemed like they would have done a hand inspection. One of the inspectors at Heathrow even went to a supervisor to ask what film speed was safe to run through the scanner - he was told 800 and below. I'm not up to speed on the scanner technology, but these appeared to be a newer variety, presuming they were CT scanners at both airports.

    I've developed and scanned two of the negatives; the blank/unexposed negative and the one attached. I can't see any discernible fogging/impact on the negative that would leave me to believe it was a result of being run through the scanners. The unexposed sheet looks consistency black, albeit with what looks like some dust and residual water marks during drying. Note to self; do a better job at removing the water when hanging the negatives up to dry.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #44
    Niels
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    Re: Traveling by Air In July: How should I handle LF Film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Arne Croell View Post
    I am not sure if you are referring to my post above (#35), but that was NOT checked luggage, that was carry-on with one of the new CT scanners. I would expect checked luggage CT scanners to have a similar effect.
    No - my comment was directed at JP. It is often repeated that checked luggage scanners are particularly bad, but I have never seen any evidence that it should be worse.

    For my wife's trip to Japan in June I did the following experiment:

    Exposed every second frame on a 35mm roll of HP5+ and cut it in 3.
    I distributed the strips into 3 regular metal film cassettes.
    Put one in her checked luggage, one in her carry-on bag and kept the reference strip at home.

    Her journey was as follows:
    Copenhagen -> Paris, De Gaulle -> Tokyo, Narita
    After a layover: Tokyo, Haneda -> Komatsu
    Return:
    Komatsu -> Tokyo, Haneda
    after a layover: Tokyo, Narita -> Paris, De Gaulle -> Copenhagen.

    The hand luggage was xray'd prior to all flights: Copenhagen, De Gaulle, Haneda, Komatsu, Narita, De Gaulle (6 times)

    I don't know if checked luggage is xray'd on all legs of a flight, or if scanning for a connecting flight is omitted. In any case I would expect the checked luggage was scanned min. 4 times.

    I developed the 3 strips together upon return and there were absolutely no visible signs of fogging on any of them.

    It is certainly very likely that no bag, checked or hand-luggage, went through a CT scanner, but in this scenario there were no evidence that checked luggage was exposed to stronger radiation than carry-on.
    ----
    Niels

  5. #45

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

    Quote Originally Posted by nitroplait View Post
    No - my comment was directed at JP. It is often repeated that checked luggage scanners are particularly bad, but I have never seen any evidence that it should be worse.

    For my wife's trip to Japan in June I did the following experiment:

    Exposed every second frame on a 35mm roll of HP5+ and cut it in 3.
    I distributed the strips into 3 regular metal film cassettes.
    Put one in her checked luggage, one in her carry-on bag and kept the reference strip at home.

    Her journey was as follows:
    Copenhagen -> Paris, De Gaulle -> Tokyo, Narita
    After a layover: Tokyo, Haneda -> Komatsu
    Return:
    Komatsu -> Tokyo, Haneda
    after a layover: Tokyo, Narita -> Paris, De Gaulle -> Copenhagen.

    The hand luggage was xray'd prior to all flights: Copenhagen, De Gaulle, Haneda, Komatsu, Narita, De Gaulle (6 times)

    I don't know if checked luggage is xray'd on all legs of a flight, or if scanning for a connecting flight is omitted. In any case I would expect the checked luggage was scanned min. 4 times.

    I developed the 3 strips together upon return and there were absolutely no visible signs of fogging on any of them.

    It is certainly very likely that no bag, checked or hand-luggage, went through a CT scanner, but in this scenario there were no evidence that checked luggage was exposed to stronger radiation than carry-on.
    Now I'm scared to fly
    I wouldn't assume everything is treated the same. They can't Xray everything.

  6. #46

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

    Until 2019 I flew regularly both domestic and international with tri-x and portra 400 sheet film. From my experience going through LA, Boston, and Heathrow among many others - I did not find it worth the stress and commotion that asking for a hand check caused. Sometimes they would, sometimes they wouldn't. It was never relaxing or expedient or a fun conversation to have.

    My solution was to simply leave it in my carry on bags and let it get run through the scanner and not say anything to the TSA crew. I did not have a problem with scanner lines or X ray damage. When I was in Europe a few times I sent the exposed film back via fedex or usps equivalent. But sometimes I let it run through the scanner 2, 3 or even 4 times. My worst issue was once an important box of like 100 exposed sheets sat in some German Post office sorting facility for almost a month, not moving, when I mailed it back and didn't pay for the most expensive rush shipping.

    I never put film in my checked luggage though. Walead Beshty made this whole process a centerpiece of one of his well known projects:
    https://www.actionstakenunderthefict...ncy-works-2008

    a teacher of mine once described how in 2002, she had a huge box of exposed 7x17 film from weeks of shooting and asked for a hand check and then as she was watching they started to take the tape off and open the box, she lunged at the agent shouting NOO, and they threw her on the ground and pulled out weapons....

  7. #47

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

    Quick summary of my international July 2022 travels with three boxes of 5x12 and 20 rolls of 120 HP5+.

    Portland OR: Hand inspection using the explosive detection tabs, no issues at all after requested.

    Narita, Japan: No issues with 120, and lots of questions about the LF film after I requested a hand inspection. Eventually they brought out a dark bag and inspected the LF film by hand inside the bag.

    Vancouver, Canada: OK with the 120, but absolute refusal to do a hand inspection without opening the film boxes. Spent 45 minutes arguing, speaking with supervisors of supervisors of supervisors. I was given the choice to open the boxes or go through xray. I went through xray with no noticeable fog. They were polite but inflexible. They told me to use the lead bags next time, and that there are no high-low adjustment settings on the machines.

    I did leave one sheet of film in my filmholders that were checked in as an experiment. I haven't developed it yet...

    Next time I will try the lead bags.
    Last edited by Jason Greenberg Motamedi; 8-Sep-2022 at 07:52.

  8. #48
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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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". 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.
    Doesn't the jet's metal skin protect against a lot of that?

  9. #49
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    Re: Traveling by Air In July: How should I handle LF Film?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernard_L View Post
    How certain is the statement that film sent as a parcel (as opposed to luggage) will not be subjected to CT?
    I'm interested by actual experience, not internet lore. Especially private-to-private mailing; parcels from stores might have relaxed rules.
    I'm curious if there's a difference between how USPS handles packages vs. Fedex and UPS?

  10. #50

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

    So, my experience this summer (in Europe): I flew from Germany (Cologne-Bonn) to Portugal (Faro) with Chamonix 4x5 and loaded holders. Normal good ol´scanners, no CTs. No problem at all with security, like always. I had the holders in transparent plastic bags with a printed DIY sticker (``Do not CT scan, film will be ruined``) though.

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