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  #1  
Old 4 Mar 2004
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Slides in Africa: storage and development

Hello everybody,

at the end of the summer we want to start a trans-Africa trip, basically going down the west coast all the way to SA and back up by the east coast.
I will take some digital pictures to put in emails to friends and relatives, but mainly i want to take slides.
I wonder how to handle this best: i can put the blank film in the fridge, but once i used the film what would be my best option?
Are there any reliable places to develop slides along the way or should i send all film to Europe?
If so, how can i store it untill i reach a place where i can send it from? For example i don't expect to be able to develop or send film between Nigeria and Namibia.
Should i store the used film in some coolbox, cooled by some icepacks from my fridge and switch these every day? Are there any better options?
How long can i store used film this way without ruining it?
If i choose to send the film home (Belgium) what would be the best/safest way (DHL, diplomatic post, ...)?
Any good advice would be appreciated.
Greetings,

Koen
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  #2  
Old 4 Mar 2004
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Hey!

Film are much more robust then people think.
I ride a bike and have no other option then to store my film (slides) in the alu-boxes. Sometimes it’s hot, sometimes it’s cold but the film has never been damaged.
Every 3-4 months I send films back home with DHL.

It’s easier to transport undeveloped film so I never develop the film before I send it back. From time to time I shoot some ordinary film and get it developed locally to see that my camera still works and to analyze my pics. It’s also nice to send the pictures home to friends and family back home:-)

In Africa the price for sending films (less then 1 kg) was around 50 Euro and the films were back in Europe in 3-5 days.

Good Luck!
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Old 4 Mar 2004
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Hi AliBaba,

i hadn't expected a reaction this soon! You should change your username to Lucky Luke (faster than his own shadow).

Thanks for the info. I guess i'll stick to my original tought then: i'll just stock the film in a coolbox and send it back home every 3-4 months by DHL.
I like your advice about the checking of the camera also: it would be very frustrating to return home and find out i've been making bad pictures because of a camera malfunction.

I know it's kind of a personal preference, but what slide film have you been using in Africa, and did you like the colors of the resulting slides?
I've been using Fuji (Velvia if i remember well) film on an earlier trip to Irian Jaya, but some slides look a little bit (too) blue.

Greetings,

Koen
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  #4  
Old 4 Mar 2004
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my advice is to definitely NOT have your slide film developed in africa. NOT even south africa. send it home somehow or take it back with you when you go home and have it developed somewhere reliable.

i had film developed in cairo, dar es salaam and cape town. quality varied from poor to complete sh*t (in cape town in an upmarket shop...) film from the trip that was developed in germany and england turned out perfectly... i have learnt the hard way
enjoy
ChrisB
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  #5  
Old 5 Mar 2004
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I agree with Chris....

Personally I prefer Velvia 50... It's a great film (I have heard bad things about the Velvia 100 but I haven't tried it)

Hmm, the colors of Velvia is strong but I wouldn't say they turn out blue.
A lot of people don't like to use Velvia on skin-tones, but people in Africa have (as you know) completely differnt skin then us and it works fine.

When/if you shoot portraits remember that your picture might be overexposed because of the dark skin...
If faces are dominant in the picture it might be smart to spot-meter on people faces and then underexpose with 0,5-1,5 EV.
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Old 5 Mar 2004
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BTW... Velvia is not the easiest film to find in Africa. I found it in Nairobi (Ya-ya shopping mall), Dar Es Salam, Windhoek and Cape Town.
I'm sure you will find it other places if you have to but it was "impossible" in the north (Tunisia, Niger, Chad, Sudan).
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Old 5 Mar 2004
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my favourite is velvia 50asa too. when developed correctly i didn't notice any particular colour abberation.
cheers
ChrisB
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  #8  
Old 26 Apr 2004
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I may be a bit late but, depending on what you want to do with the slides, I'd suggest considering the digital route:

I took slides throughout my Africa trip for fun and for my website. I too made the mistake of getting them developed as I went:

Cape Town - ok,
Harare - ok
Dar Es Salam - good
Nairobi - crap

If you do get them done locally only get one roll done first. if thats ok give them the rest, in batches.

But;

- it is a pain finding and storing film.

- costly to send it home (work out your cost per roll - film/shipping/developing, it's high.)

- how long will it take you to develop/mount/sort/anotate 100's of rolls when you get back home? - You may have a lot more time when on the road.

I started with a small digital to see what is was like.

- I now have the digital slr equivalents of my film cameras.

- I can take 250 (2gb card) and 50 (500mb) photos at the highest raw setting.

- From photo to viewing is very fast.

- I've just come back from the galapagos and downloaded the photos (100-150) and created an island page every day.

- How much will you rember several months later?

- I can update my website every couple of weeks.

- I never have to buy film again and am so happy i dont have to worry about the costs.

Then again:

- I send lots of cd's home instead

- I copy the raw files to an ipod.

- I carry chargers and need power to recharge the batteries.

But i don't regret leaving film for a moment.



------------------
Jerome

http://www.fowb.co.uk
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  #9  
Old 3 Sep 2004
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About developing film in Africa:

I dont know where Chris went, but in Cape Town there are several world class labs (Q-labs and Green labs) such as Picto and Creative Colour, both in the city centre. I work in photography and when BMW or Volvo or a major fashion magazine shoots in Cape Town, which they do often they use these labs.
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  #10  
Old 4 Sep 2004
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Quote:
But i don't regret leaving film for a moment.
[/B]
Well, after my last trip i really was mad on myself that i took my pro-digital with me together with a film camera. It took extra room and the results were poor compared with film camera.

Sure no digital camera comes close to my fully manual medium format camera's results in B&W, Infrared or colour slide film. I think the price you pay for analogue camera's film/developing/enlarging/scanning with those results for sure are worth sending the film home or searching a place to develop them locally.

I think if you have enough room on a bike to fit a developing tank you can develop B&W and IR films yourself with no problems on the road. Just slidefilms need very precise E-6 developing and thus needs a specialialized lab, but again, the colour depth and saturatation, the resolution and emotion of film image that no digital can beat - all are worth the price even sending them home for development. Leave your digital for "party pictures" or for practicing a photography - film is for soul (at least for me), if you want the breathtaking results then sure take film camera with lots of rolls with you.

Margus - thinks that the digital imaging is a way too overestimated nowadays just because it's comfort pushing only a button.

[This message has been edited by Margus (edited 03 September 2004).]
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