Road Trip Precautions for Film

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Brandon D., May 12, 2009.

  1. Brandon D.

    Brandon D. Member

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    Are there any special precautions you take when traveling with film (e.g,. in a car) on a long road trip?

    I'm thinking about doing some traveling this summer, and I don't want any of the film exposed to excess heat very much (e.g., just in case I have to leave the film in my car while I'm on a trip). Would it be a good idea to leave my film in some kind of ice cooler to maintain the integrity of the film?

    Thanks for all of your responses!
     
  2. david b

    david b Member

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    I get a big tupperware container to hold the film in, and then place that in a cooler.
     
  3. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I always bring my film in when I check in for the night; no exceptions. That's about it. Maybe I would be more careful if I shot more color. I didn't have any problems on my last trip, and there was some color...but then again, that was cross country in Jan., so it never got that hot. Will be heading to Detroit via road this summer, so it will be a consideration for me as well. The last trip, I was more concerned about 5F in Roanoke than 105F in Detroit.
     
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  4. Brandon D.

    Brandon D. Member

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    Thanks, guys!

    And yes, I'll definitely be bringing my film inside for the night, primarily for "security" reasons, ahaha. But I just know that I won't always be able to bring it inside during the day. And who knows, I could be out on the road and away from home for weeks.
     
  5. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    Film can tolerate high temperatures..particularly if it is of short duration, such as in the car for several hours. Remember film was the only way to take pictures for 100 years or so. Nobody worried about overheating film. I don't ever recall, in my 50 years ot taking photos of any heat damage to film (color or black and white) from leaving it in the car in summer for a while, like while going to a museum, or eating lunch, etc.
     
  6. Brandon D.

    Brandon D. Member

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    I totally understand. But it's not heat damage that I'm particularly cautioned about. I just want the integrity of the film to last as long as possible; and it's usually recommended that film be refrigerated to ensure better keeping. Plus, I usually operate on the "It's better to be safe than to be sorry" MOD, even if the risk doesn't seem high.

    In any case, I usually keep most of my film refrigerated because I don't always know how soon I'll be using it in advance. And a chunk of the film in my inventory is already expired, and it will likely go with me on some of these trips.
     
  7. raucousimages

    raucousimages Member

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    I worked at a photo store when I was a kid and when we would unload the truck when our film was delivered in the summer it was hot and in the winter it was cold.No one ever noticed any difference. A foam cooler will help with the heat but don't worry about it too much.
     
  8. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

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    I always figure that I have to keep my film somewhere, and on a long trip I always have a cooler, so why not keep unexposed and exposed film in baggies or better yet, those light plastic gladware type containers you can buy in the grocery store now. I am planning to do some motorcycle traveling this summer, carrying a minimal shooting kit, and am a little concerned about the heat on both film and equipment.
     
  9. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    Don't leave your color film in the car unless its in a cooler.
     
  10. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    What size film, what quantity?

    When I take the 7x17 off for a week or two, I have boxes of film and loaded film holders in a big cooler. I often take both 7x17 and 8x10, so two big coolers. If I am lucky I use a motel as a base camp. At 69 I have even been known to use room service in my base camp. Slippers may be my approach boots. That means the coolers and the camera gear come in. That means a wheeled dolly. That means a large light colored SUV with tinted windows and air conditioning.

    I am re-reading Edward Weston's Day books. He had quite a bit of trouble with fogged film that he blamed on heat in Mexico in 1923-26, well within the 100 years mentioned above.

    John Powers
     
  11. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Does film deteriorate in a hot car – of course it does

    But how hot, how long many hours at a time and how many days are the questions you need to answer yourself.

    If you are going to spend all the summer photographing in Death Valley with your film sitting in full sun on the passenger seat of the car – then of course you will be in trouble

    I carry my film in Lock & Lock food containers – which are perfectly water tight

    If you want to be sure of your film stock in almost any scenario – then get a large Chest Cooler, put your film in Lock & Lock containers and top it up with Ice from the Hotel/Motel ice cube maker every morning.

    Bringing in your film to the room each night also allows you to remove enough film stock for the following day together with storing todays film, using clean, dry hands in controlled conditions.

    If you don’t want to bother with a Chest Cooler, the space under the front seats of a car is the coolest place on a sunny day.

    Have a great time :smile:

    Martin
     
  12. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    When film is refrigerated you slow down the aging process. When a film is at room temperature (or hotter) the aging process starts again. You are not going to notice any "extra" aging from a few days of having film in a car. All film is shipped to vendors and retailers on trucks. They are not refrigerated.
    It is not a temporary exposure to higher temperatures that will damage film.

    In addition to that, even refrigerating film will not halt the fog that will eventually develop due to background radiation in the atmosphere.
     
  13. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Not in Death Valley! Not in the Mojave Desert!

    Steve
     
  14. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i knew of someone who used to deliver "pro film" to stores in the delivery
    van. it was the film that was in the fridge in-store, but in his 100ºF van
    as he drove for a few hours from store to store in the middle of the summer.

    no one seemed to complain ...

    enjoy your trip :smile:
    and don't worry too much about your film
    it will be fine, no matter how you choose to store it ...

    john
     
  15. Brandon D.

    Brandon D. Member

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    Thanks! However, as I said earlier, I could be gone for an unknown number of weeks. And like I said, some of the film I'll be using has already expired or is nearing its expiration date -- it's not all new film.
     
  16. Brandon D.

    Brandon D. Member

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    I'll just be shooting 120 (6x6) and a little bit of 35mm. Nothing out of the ordinary.
     
  17. Martin Aislabie

    Martin Aislabie Subscriber

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    Steve, I said the coolest place in the car - ie not quite as boiling hot as the rest of the car :smile:

    After a few of hours in the sun, the space under the front seats is still about 25C cooler than head height.

    Martin
     
  18. Brandon D.

    Brandon D. Member

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    Thanks, Martin. And yeah, I was never intending to make this a big deal, like if I didn't keep the film cool that it would be the end of the world. I just wanted to to know that types of precautions photographers take.
     
  19. mekia02

    mekia02 Member

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    When I went on a road trip/hiking trip in FL last summer I bought a beach type bag from walmart. It is large, when I moved and drove cross country I packed my photo paper in it, some 11x14 and several boxes of 100 sheet 8x10. In the inside it is insulated like the little lunch bags people take to work or school. I put my film in there, a few snacks, and two of the frozen ice packs. Even when I had to leave it in the car for a several hours while I was hiking at the end of the day the frozen packs where still frozen! Every thing inside was nice and cold.

    Best part of having that cold pack in the car was that after I finished some rolls and ran out of film I could put the exposed film in the bag and load up on fresh film. I thought it was most useful for holding the exposed film as I always heard it is best to develop film asap after exposure and since I wasn't going to be able to develop for a week, at least the exposed film wasn't getting heat damaged while it was in my trek pack or in the car.
     
  20. frotog

    frotog Member

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    Get yourself a 12volt cooler if you're really concerned. Go igloo - stay away from the coleman. I have a nifty 12volt / 110 volt igloo that I got for just this purpose... keeps the beer nice and chill too.
     
  21. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    In the desert, the floors get very hot from reflected heat, the muffler and the transmission and for four wheel drive vehicles the transfer case.

    I load up the ice chest part way, and put the film in a leak proof container. The right amount of ice is that amount that leaves only a little ice at the end of the day.

    Steve
     
  22. cmacd123

    cmacd123 Subscriber

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    That would be my plan for an extended road trip. Take out one days worth and let it warm up, baggie your shot film and stash it at the end of the day - unless you are sending it off to be processed. If you are running short, take out extra and give it an hour or two to warm up.

    The little coolers use a solid state heat pump module and so they don't have many moving parts. You can let it warm up in your hotel room, or get the AC adaptor and plug it in. that will allow you to also use the cooler for beverages and sandwiches etc.
     
  23. wogster

    wogster Member

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    What I would do, is get several Tupperware type containers, enough to hold all your film, plus an extra. Also get a roll of red and green electrical tape. Fill all the containers with film, except one. Put a strio of green tape around the outside edge, and a green X on the top. Fill your camera bag with enough film for two days. Shoot the first day, at the end take out the shot film, put it in the empty tupperware container, and put a red tape X on the top. Open one of your containers of film, and take out the same number of rolls. Put a dot with a marker on each film box you take out. You use the rolls without the dot first. The next day you do the same thing, except use 2 dots. Drain the water from the cooler and add fresh ice. When the red container is full, put a strip of red tape around the outside, and remove the X from the top. Take the now empty Tupperware container and remove the green X and put a red X on it. You always then know which containers have used and unused film in them.
     
  24. stealthman_1

    stealthman_1 Member

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    Believe it or not...the ground temperature in Death Valley can exceed 200F during the day in summer. I put my film in one of those red or blue six pack plastic coolers you can buy at the grocery. I've never had really good luck with film in ziplocks in the cooler, somewhere along the line on a two week trip, it gets wet in there and makes a mess. The six pack cooler doesn't keep it below 55 degrees, but it does prevent the extreme afternoon spiking of temperatures if you have to leave it in the car buttoned up.
     
  25. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    For an extended road trip across Canada a friend of mine bought one of those coolers that plug into the cigarette lighters in cars. She had a variety of film - IR, slide, B&W. The cooler had a dual function and could also keep things warm. In the push to get home on time she drove 2 days, and discovered that those last 2 days the cooler had been set on hot and she'd been cooking her film. Thought she'd wreaked it all, but everything developed OK.