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  #1  
Old 25 Feb 2002
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Mailing exposed film

Someone asked the question in another thread (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/ubb...ML/000012.html) but I'm repeating it here to give it more visibility...

Have you ever had any bad experiences mailing your exposed films (priority of course, don't want to have them lost!).

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  #2  
Old 25 Feb 2002
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Hai,

A good idea is to have the film developed and printed locally. Then send the prints and the negatives seperatly. One of them will surly make it back home.
It would be such a shame if you picture's get lost in the mail... and I think, even with priority, there is a good chance of loosing some mail. Ofcourse depending on the erea where you are.

Maarten
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  #3  
Old 25 Feb 2002
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I shoot slides. It's trickier to find a good lab for slides than for print film, that's why I would prefer to send it back home to my usual lab.

I found some responses to my question on Photo.net, searching for "Fedex DHL". People have ordered fresh film in the US and had it shipped overseas, others have shipped back home their exposed film for processing, all apparently without problem.

Many recommended to wait to be in a large city (eg. Karachi, Nairobi, J'Burg) to process the films and send the slides back home. They usually did so for fear of x-ray machines during shipment, although none of them reported an actual problem with shipping fresh film (or even tried to).

Overall the most compelling reason for processing film on location is to be able to look at your pictures at least once before sending them home. When you are on the road for several months or for a couple of years, it matters a little bit.
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Old 26 Feb 2002
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At the very least you want to process a few rolls to make sure your camera and all lenses are still working...

Shipping with Fedex or DHL from most places in the world back to Europe or North America should be fine. should be...

We prefer to process locally, although this can be a problem, depending on where you are. Even with slides - and we do both prints and slides - there should be a local shop in all major cities where the pros get their work done.

We then ship home in several batches, alternate rolls.

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  #5  
Old 26 Feb 2002
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Specific question:
Should I hang on to my films or mail them home when I go touring in Marocco for a month? Has time (lets say 3 weeks) such an influence? And is it therefore worth the risc / costs to mail them home?
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Old 26 Feb 2002
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A month in Morocco should be no big deal - I'd rather keep the film and have it processed with my usual lab afterwards. Of course, you have to make sure you don't subject it to much heat, as even an evening unprotected in your top case under the blazing sun can ruin it (just as leaving it in the glove compartment of a car on a Spanish summer would). Think insulation, like in the middle of tightly packed clothes, and try to leave the bike out of the sun (easier said than done sometimes).

My bike has black hard bags & I keep the film in the top case (altough it's better off in the sidestand-side pannier of your bike so you can always park the bike in a way to keep it in the shade). If we stop for a meal by the bike, for instance, I'll throw a light-colored towel over the top case (you do carry a towel, don't you?). The temperature difference might be as high as 15 degrees afterwards, compared to not doing so. Thus, light colored luggage is a good idea in hot climates!

If you were to stay longer than a month, I'd say go with Grant's approach. It's a very sensible one. (There, boss, I said it. Shall we kiss now?)

Roberto.
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Old 27 Feb 2002
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Gotta say I'd much rather kiss your wife!

RE your comment on light colored luggage - I powdercoated mine white, way back in '86, and haven't regretted it. The temp difference is truly amazing.

At the end of a long hot day in the sun my film is only just lightly warm - positively cold in comparison to a black bag.

I keep it in an insulated cooler bag (for sandwiches etc) near the bottom of my right pannier away from the exhaust. It's not particularly protected other than that - all the clothing is on the left because it's the only stuff I don't mind getting cooked by the exhaust. It's plenty cool enough. After 4 months in Africa, film still processes beautifully.

NOTE: Don't use pro film, it deteriorates from the moment you buy it, whereas amateur film is still ripening. A little warmth is probably good for it! but only a little...

For a month in Morocco, agree 100% with Rob. Hang onto the film for sure.


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Old 27 Feb 2002
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size="2"> Gotta say I'd much rather kiss your wife! </font>
That's just as well - I'm now in the process of letting her know I'm finally selling my current bike for a 1150 GS... and that she'll have to drive me down a couple thousand km to get it. So she'll probably much rather kiss you instead than me, too!

Just don't disclose the fact that you also ride... ;-)


[This message has been edited by Photog Rob (edited 27 February 2002).]
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  #9  
Old 17 Mar 2002
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I gotta admit - I've agonised over this one. I intend to process my neg film as dev only in reputable labs , and then post them, and take my slide film with me until I reach a big city with a Q-lab where I can relax about the state of the typically temperamental E6 chemistry.

This advice coming from an Agfa employee of 10 years takes some getting used to, but I know what an absolute b.tch it is to keep that process in tolerance. Kodak lets a lab become a Q-lab member only when they submit their process control strips via densitometer and modem on a regular basis, hence professionals use almost always q-lab.

The reason I will dev the slide films and then post them, is the advent of new x-ray machine being employed in more and more international hubs. Unlike a normal x-ray used for your handluggage which has a cumulative fogging effect on unprocessed film, this new machine ( CT 5000 )uses a powerful thin beam to cut through anything you`d care to mention, the result on film being positively fatal. That's a chance I'm not willing to take, even with Fedex, and especially in light of increased airport security after September.

For more info see : http://www.agfa.com/photo/products/film/xraycontrol/

So I'd agree with the comments about making sure you gear is actually working, and also that it's nice to see some of your images when you are not likely to see them again for ages.

And Grant - I'm impressed about your comment about amateur film 'ripening' - that's exactly what happens. Keeping film in a fridge or freezer will always extend a films use by date, and yes indeed - pro film is much more susceptible to temp differences. I'm using joe-standard touratech boxes ( when I'm not crashing ), and the reflective properties of the aluminium does an admirable job of keeping the films cool.

One thing I did have to take care of though, was to use insulation tape on each individual canister to avoid the aluminium dust from the cases getting into the film. Guess I'll have to line the cases damm it. The vibration in those cases should bever be underestimated. It pulverised my vitamin tablets, and the film canisters cut through multiple layers of newspaper. ( I got no idea how people transport laptops and still get them to work.... , perhaps my suspension is just too hard... )

Sorry this got a bit long winded...

Jeremy

[This message has been edited by Jeremy Andrews (edited 17 March 2002).]

[This message has been edited by Jeremy Andrews (edited 17 March 2002).]
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  #10  
Old 18 Mar 2002
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Jeremy,

thanks, good info on the Q-labs!

RE the aluminum dust - there is a solution, and it never fails to amaze me that no one - especially Touratech et al don't offer it.

Just anodize them! It's easy to do before the bags are assembled, but now you'll have to completely disassemble them. Once anodized, you'll have no aluminum dust problem, and your gear won't be covered in black. Also the anodizing actually makes them stronger, as it in effect surface hardens the aluminum. You lose the shiny surface inside and out, the surface is a dull silvery sort of color. (Which is probably why Touratech doesn't do it - not so pretty/shiny)

We then powder coated our boxes white, outside only. Very cool. (temp wise

As for the vibration, I saw the pics you posted somewhere re the newspaper - impressive! Perhaps your suspension is too hard / poor quality.

We carry everything in multiple stuff sacks, nothing loose, with a thin layer of foam on the bottom as shock absorption, and that's it. Fragile stuff, including film, is in a padded bag of some sort. 150+ rolls of film without canisters fits nicely in ziplock bags in a 6x6x9" padded / insulated "lunch cooler" bag by Outdoor Research - available in Canada / USA.

That same bag is still in perfect condition and ready to go around the world again.

Hope that helps!

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