Advice on Photo Trip to China

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by BWKate, Jul 16, 2005.

  1. BWKate

    BWKate Member

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    I'm a new member to Apug and have never had the guts to post,yet. So, here goes. I was given a free ticket to go to China during "Golden Week"[the first week of May]. I will be going to Guilin in the province of Guangxi in southern China. I love shooting 35mm Kodak High Speed Infrared and am worried about bringing that film and avoiding any X-rays both before and after shooting. Does anyone know how this is possible? I haven't travelled for a very long time. Should I bring dry chemicals and develop my film there? I will be staying with my friend who is a teacher at an English school and she has an apartment.
     
  2. hortense

    hortense Member

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    My suggestion is to FedEx your film to your hotel Guangzhou. My experience with FedEx is that they do not/didn't X-ray their shipments. Regardless of how you get to Guilin, you'll certainly stop over in Guangzhou. Coming back, do the same thing in reverse. BTW Guilin is/was classical China. You'll get great images of the rugged almost vertical mountains as you move up the Li River from Guilin. If you take a bus to return you'll see quaint countryside villages and the drying rice (on the pavement even though the buses send it flying!). Have a good trip and report back to all of us APUGers.
     
  3. BWKate

    BWKate Member

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    Thanks for your advice, Hortense. My friend will be living there already and we'll be staying at a hostel in Guilin. Should I Fed/Ex my film to her place near Shanghai at her apartment? That might just be feasible.
     
  4. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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    I have never been to Southern China on personal trips - always business, so my Chinese colleagues would always get my film and get it developed for me (B&W and slide - I never tried IR there). I never knew where though and it was always professionally done - they knew I was an enthusiast.

    I have travelled to Northern and Western China - Kashgar, Urumqi (sp?), Beijing, and Harbin, when I was student many years ago. Back then I rolled my own film and brought it with me. I also bought film in Beijing. I can't remember the place though and I had the film developed locally by a photographer artist/teacher. At that time, professional photographers/artists in China printed their own works. I only got him to do contact sheets for me. I remember it to be very inexpensive.

    I saw some of his work and they were marvellous. His prints were amazing. If he could speak English, he would be an asset in this community. I wish I remembered his name - I know it's on the contact sheets as he meticulously added his 'signature/chop' to all his prints - even contacts. A true craftsman.

    Art.
     
  5. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    In 2002, I took rolls of Kodak HIE and EIR (color IR slide film) with me to the UK. All my went through the carry on x-rays 6 times round trip and didn't have any problems with it.

    However, if you can send it to a friend, you are probably better off. You won't have people demanding to open the canister to confirm that there really is film. These films would get fogged if that happened.
     
  6. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Boy, talk of rapid personal growth being afraid to post on APUG all the way to going to China...unprecendented growth. I hope that your trip is wonderful and that your imagery is even better. I would love to join you but I have my hands full just getting permission from my wife to leave the yard. I am very brave but a man has to know his limitations and I therefore do as I am told...lucky for me I am deaf.
     
  7. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Ask for a hand inspection, tell them it is professional film. Say you want the inspection even though it says "Kodak Gold 100" clearly on the cassette.

    FedEx... iffy. You don't SEE them xray thepackage... but your film will

    I've had no problems getting inspections in China except on domestic flights -- and even then it may have been a matter of one hurried inspector who had no patience for my rotten Mandarin. I usually carry 20-100 rolls of 35mm on int'l trips. Carry them all in a clear plastic ziploc that can be easily separated from your camera kit. Take the boxes off -- just the film cassettes and plastic cans.
     
  8. BWKate

    BWKate Member

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    Now I know why I've never posted before.It's people like you that inspire me not to post.
     
  9. BWKate

    BWKate Member

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    Thanks for the info, Kevin. The only problem with the B&W Infrared is you can't take the film out of the plastic cans. The film is so light sensitive that you also have load/unload into your camera in complete darkness. I always carry a portable dark bag with me. I might just ask the Chinese Embassy if I can maybe get special permission to not have my "special film" xrayed. I 've got time to work these things out. I just thought some APUGGERS might have some advice.
     
  10. hortense

    hortense Member

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    DHL

    On second thought, it might be better to consider DHL http://www.dhl.de/dhl?check=yes&lang=de_EN&xmlFile=3000049&tpl=html3
    Note that Shanghai is a major hub for DHL. My experience with FedEx in China was many year ago.
     
  11. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I have never worked with IR film so what I am sugessting is tentative. I believe that there are changing bags that are IR proof. If I am correct in that guess then why not get such a changing bag and ship your film cannisters inside the changing bag. It might also be extremely handy to have use of the bag during the trip...you may already own such a bag. I am not conjecturing that an IR proof bag will shield your film from gamma rays but I doubt that it could hurt.
     
  12. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    BW Kate

    If you have not seen the work of Lois Conner, you might want to find a copy of the book, “The Photographs of Lois Conner, China”, Callaway, NY, 2000. This was a US$100 book when it came out, but is currently available for US$29.95 at http://www.hamiltonbook.com/hamiltonbook.storefront

    If you are not familiar with Lois you might find her work inspirational. She has traveled to the mountains of the province of Guangxi in southern China many times over the last two decades. She carried first an 8x10 and later a 7x17 camera, tripod, and personal things through the mountains on a bicycle. She contact prints in platinum and her work is simply stunning. Beware it (Lois's work, large format, platinum) is also addictive. She was a Phi Beta Kappa student at Yale and has since taught photography at both Princeton and Yale.

    Good luck. No doubt we all wish we could go along.

    John Powers
     
  13. BWKate

    BWKate Member

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    When I was student at Emily Carr College of Art & Design we had the privilege of having Lois Connor as a guest lecturing artist and I loved her work! It was beautiful and her prints were so rich in texture and tone. Thanks for reminding me of her work. I run a cooperative darkroom with 11 members and I'm trying very hard to promote & preserve black and white as much as possible.
     
  14. jtsatterlee

    jtsatterlee Member

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    since the fall i have travelled to Europe once and Asia twice (China and Japan).

    I have let all of my film (HP5+, Delta 400 and Delta 3200) go through the x-ray security checks. One trip had so many connections and steps the film was x-rayed seven times. (US and foreign airports)

    I had no issue, this was non-IR film.

    For the infra-red, I would suggest you compare the sensitivity curve of std film to IR and make your own decision. IR is at the opposite end of the spectrum from X-ray, but if I remember IR film is also UV sensitive which is near X-ray
    see this
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2005
  15. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Wonderful. At age 65 I am a student again. Lois came to Akron (Ohio) University, lectured and gave a two day platinum printing class which I got to attend. The class was only open to seniors. Some didn’t realize what they were missing so they redefined “seniors” and I got to go. I will take my third platinum printing class this August. As I warned, the all inclusive “it” is addictive.

    Enjoy. Now that you are out of the closet I hope we will read more of your adventures.

    John Powers
     
  16. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    I'd be wary of Chinese Xray machines.

    Years ago...1991 in fact, I went from Hong Kong to Guanzhou via the hover craft. Ended up about 30 minutes out of the city proper in what can only be described as "the boonies" (tons of duck farms and those odd little tractors that look like overgrown rototillers). The customs booth was one guy with an xray machine.

    He sat in a booth and your luggage went between him and the xray emitter...

    Which was OPPOSITE him....

    He had the door open to his booth too....

    I guess that is one way to control the population there....

    *shudder*

    All things being equal, see if you can't secret the film on you. Pockets are GREAT for things like this, and if it does set off any metal detectors, you can just show them the film. Should be fine.
     
  17. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    BWKate,

    For me the work of very good photographers is a guideline to what I may expect and want to see when I visit. Hopefully that is of interest to you. Another book I would like to recommend if you don’t mind is, “Yangtze Remembered, the River Beneath the Lake”, Standford Univ Press, 2004. This is about the area much north of where you are going, but it is a political subject that is effecting all of China. The Yangtze River or actually three rivers gorge and dam. As I understand it much of the power generated is going south and thus a political hot potato.

    Linda Butler is a Cleveland 4x5 photographer. She constructed this book from eight trips over I think three years. The resulting 100 pictures became a traveling exhibit starting in the Cleveland Natural History museum, then to Boston and now in
    http://www.socal.com/events/ShowEvent.aspx?eventID=2499. I believe she said that the exhibit is on a two year tour.

    You can see many of the pictures on various pages of Linda’s site http://www.lindabutlerphoto.com/index.html. An interview with her was the cover story of the Februrary 2005 #56 Lenswork including many of her pictures. Amazon has her book for US$40.95.

    Besides capturing the scale and transition of the construction, Linda is very sensitive to the emotions of the poor people whose lives have been so dramatically changed by this project. In that I think one can learn much of the character of the people, Linda’s sensitivity to that, and the beauty of her work.

    A difficult choice, but my favorite of the exhibit was Tributary and Cliff Face, Wu Gorge, 2000 http://www.cmnh.org/pressroom/Tributarylarge.jpg. When I bought a copy I was delighted to find that Linda’s lab assistant was my classmate at Akron U.

    Enjoy,

    John Powers
     
  18. BWKate

    BWKate Member

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    Thanks so much for all the advice. My confidence in the generosity of APUGGERS is high. John Powers: Thanks for your references to different people's work. I do try to buy most B & W magazines that are published and I have a copy of the Lenswork issue you mentioned. Great magazine! I also buy Black & White Photography that's from England that APUGGER Ailsa McWhinnie edits. Another great B & W photo magazine. Sometimes when I have some spare money[it usually goes to film & paper]I'll buy a B&W photo book. This trip is a total gift from a photographer/teacher who buys my work. I'm sure I'll be looking at some great work before I go to get an idea of what to expect. I do love seeing really good work. I appreciate and admire the effort that goes into making amazing B&W images. I'm just heading out to go print 60 -small B&W prints for art cards for a show I'm participating in. [ 3 different images 20 of each] Thanks again, everyone!
     
  19. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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    BWKate,

    When you get back, or even before, you should particpate in one of the print exchanges. I'm sure people here would love to get one of your prints.

    Here are some interesting (some very touristy) links to Guangzhou picture galleries:
    http://www.geocities.com/asiaglobe/gallery/guangzhou-old.htm
    http://www.chinese-forums.com/showthread.php?t=1580
    http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Asia/China/South/Guangdong/Guangzhou/
    http://www.travelchinaguide.com/picture/guangdong/guangzhou/

    Not so much inspirational as more informational.

    Art.
     
  20. BWKate

    BWKate Member

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    Art,

    I was going to post some photos but I don't know how yet. No one has seen any of my images. Maybe they won't like them. I will wait and see if anything I post has a positive response. Photography is so subjective. I appreciate your confidence that people might like something I do. I know it shouldn't matter if people like what I do, I'm going to do it anyway, but sometimes it can be encouraging.

    Do you know of a site with images of Guilin?[where I'm going in China].

    Kate
     
  21. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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  22. BWKate

    BWKate Member

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    Art,

    Thanks for those sites. They gave me a good idea of the lay of the land. I see you like to shoot B&W Infrared as well. I'll have to post some of my infrared work sometime. I just shot a couple rolls in Vancouver, B.C. and have yet to develop them.

    I'm still considering having my HIE hand inspected on the way there and developing them in my friend's apartment. I will of course bring powder chemicals.

    Kate
     
  23. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    just to return to your original question, I wouldn't worry at all about travelling with IR film in the CARRYON x-rays. I've taken HIE through the x-ray machines in Cambodia, Singapore, Amsterdam, New York, and Washington DC (all on one trip), and had no fogging or problems.
     
  24. BWKate

    BWKate Member

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    Was it Kodak IR film that you had xrayed? If it even comes out of the plastic film canister it will get fogged. I've already had it happen to me when I forgot to unload my rewound film from my camera to the plastic canister. I had a consistent light leak from my light trap that went through every single layer. I was thinking of putting my still sealed boxes in the lead xray bags and keep in my carry on.

    I will try several options and just take lots of photographs.

    Thanks, Kate