Sheet Film Storage while Traveling

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by chrisl, Mar 28, 2003.

  1. chrisl

    chrisl Member

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    Ok, I've got the hopefully clean holders and film. I'm off to Europe soon(Amsterdam, N. French countryside and then Paris) and I'm going to be shooting more than the stock of film holders. Hence I'll have to change them out somewhere, but more so, figure a way to store (and label?) the exposed but unprocessed film till I get home. Should I just save the foil envelopes and put the exposed ones back in there with the unexposed ones, say with a rubber band around them to identify the exposed ones? It'd work, but no real way to identify individual sheets. I'm sure there must be a more logical way. So, how do people store and travel with sheet film?

    Thanks as usual!
    Chris
     
  2. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    Chrisl,

    Depends on how much room you have. If you are shooting color, just bring an extra box. If you are shooting BW and developing yourself, you will need at least three boxes or bags within a big box: -, +, and N. OR...

    What I have started doing is keepinig all negs of all different exposures together in one separate box, and I list on a piece of paper each negative that goes in the box, from the bottom up. It takes a little longer because I double check holder order to the order of the exposed film in the box, but so far it has worked. I simply figured out a little routine:

    1) Every time I load film I put a little removable label on each side of the holder. On the right of the label is a big label with the kind of film: H for HP5, F for FP4, B for Bergger, etc.

    2) Then there's about 3/4 inch of space. On it I write a two word description of the scene and what the development should be.

    3) When I outload the holder, I make sure I transfer the label order to the sheet bottom first, then the sheets out of the holders and into the box, and I'm done.

    4) When developing, I do N's first, then minuses, then pluses. I count film sheets in the dark, and take out the ones to be develpoped.

    Sounds more complicated than it is, and it allows me to travel with just a few holders, two boxes, and a tent.


    dgh
     
  3. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  4. Prime

    Prime Member

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    I use Fuji QuickLoads, and I love them. In my opinion, they are very expensive, but also very easy to use. Fuji may not have the exact type of film you want (I use E6), but this type of system is much, much easier than using traditional holders.
     
  5. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Always bring a few empty boxes for exposed film. Mixing exposed and unexposed film in the same box is a bad idea, IMO...

    I always carry a notebook. My holders are simply marked 1, 2, 3, etc. If there are different films in different holders, I write in the book which holder contains what. I then make notes of the exposure details and any developing hints (+/- development, compensating or straightline developer etc.) in the notebook.
    At least that's my ideal way of working, it doesn't always happen like that. [​IMG]

    A changing bag is a lot lighter than 10 extra holders. As long as you stack the used films in a consistent way in the box, you can refer to the notes to sort the fims in the darkroom later.

    Quickloads are (probably) nice, but there are a limited selection of films and even more limited selection of sizes...
     
  6. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    I use two boxes, unexposed and exposed. I keep several of the cardboard sheets in the unexposed box to separate the minuses, normals and plusses. Keep notes on exposures? As Ted Orland says, "Expose for the secrets, develop for the surprises."
     
  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    For 4x5", spare boxes for different batches of film are the easiest solution. I like Grafmatics as a compact method of carrying a decent amount of film, without being tied to the brands that come in Quickload/Readyload.

    When I'm traveling with 8x10", spare boxes would get too bulky, so I bring envelopes with opaque plastic bags, such as are used to hold 100 8x10" sheets of photographic paper (you can buy spares in bags of 5 from B&H, packaged by Delta) and cardboard inserts. I mark the envelopes for the film type and development plan, and I also have one or two extras for groups of sheets that I want to be sure to develop in one batch (like a multi-frame panorama). You could just as well do this with any format.

    I change film in bathrooms and closets, wherever I'm staying.
     
  8. lee

    lee Member

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    I place all the film in one box. I used to do the N- and N+ thing but lately I take a fingernail clipper and cut a corner for N+ and two corners for N-. It works and I have not ever clipped into the image.

    If I were Chrisl, I would not take the lgformat camera to Europe at the this time. I would just carry the smaller camera that I was familar with at this time. A trip like that is not something I would want to chance important images with uncertain technique. Just my 2 cents.


    lee\c
     
  9. chrisl

    chrisl Member

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    Thanks alot for the replies! I like David's idea of using seperate boxes for N,N+,N- developement and the use of removable labels...great idea! Seems less chance of mistakes. So, I'll write all the notes on the labels, then when transferring the film to the appropriate box, stick the labels on N paper, N+ paper and N- paper. Very easy and quick. Very smart.

    I just can't bring myself to pay $2.25/sheet for readyloads. If I made money from this, yes then, I'd use these no doubt. But just for my own pleasure, I'll just use the holders using better anti dust technique next time.

    Thanks again for sharing your methods everyone!!

    Chris
     
  10. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    I've been told, but not tried it, that you can rinse your plastic parts of the filmholder in a distilled water solution with some detergent in it as an anti static treatment. Anybody have any practical experience there?
     
  11. LFGuy

    LFGuy Member

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    My solution is to bring a changing bag along with an empty film box. A notebook records the holder and development info. Similar to what people have mentioned already. I like the fingernail clipper idea, tho.
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Of course, those who develop by inspection would say you don't have to separate sheets--just develop until they're right.
     
  13. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    David,

    Good point. Although even Michael Smith sparates them generally, just so he has an idea of how long any one batch is going to be in the developer since you can only turn the green light on toward the end of the development.

    And back to the dust, the friend who introduced me to LF Way Back When carried a very small can of air and would blow the holders before inserting them. For whatever reason I have never felt the need to do that, but it served him well...I don't remember seeing him spend a lot of time spotting prints.

    dgh
     
  14. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    FWIW, I just returned from a trip with a 4x5 and all of three holders. I took two boxes-one for exposed film, and changed the holders in a dark bag, and a hurricane brush/blower to clean the holders with between loads. Not too bad a system. I've never tried grafmatics and don't know how to load/unload them in the dark but that would seem like a very viable alternative. Good Luck!
     
  15. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Instructions for loading and using Grafmatics can be found at www.graflex.org.
     
  16. bmoulton

    bmoulton Member

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    If you are not using readyloaders--if you do not think Tmax 100 is the holy grail!-- then you might try this method. It works well for me. Think of of exposed 4x5 as a horizontal rectangle., with the notch code at the bottom right. That equals N development. If you cut a small triangle from the film at the corner above the notch code, that is N+ 1. A corner cut one the diagonal from the notch cose is N-1. A corner cut one the same hoizontal as the notch code ios N-2. Any two corners cut means N- ?, depending upon the development you use for those types of situations. I use the Sexton Tmax RS 1-15 dilutions.

    What about N+2/ For me that is N+1 plus selenium toner and an aletration of paper grade.

    Worked this way you can unload and reload holders rather efficiently. I know when I return home I musy sort all those sheets of film, but I least then I have my darkroom and no external problems to worry me.

    And if my wife and i are ready to end the photographic day and enjoy ourselves in some way that does not involve a 30 pound backpack and a Gitzo tripod, this certainly speeds up that.

    Bob
     
  17. bmoulton

    bmoulton Member

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    If you are not using readyloaders--if you do not think Tmax 100 is the holy grail!-- then you might try this method. It works well for me. Think of of exposed 4x5 as a horizontal rectangle., with the notch code at the bottom right. That equals N development. If you cut a small triangle from the film at the corner above the notch code, that is N+ 1. A corner cut one the diagonal from the notch cose is N-1. A corner cut one the same hoizontal as the notch code ios N-2. Any two corners cut means N- ?, depending upon the development you use for those types of situations. I use the Sexton Tmax RS 1-15 dilutions.
    What about N+2/ For me that is N+1 plus selenium toner and an aletration of paper grade.

    After 10 years I have never sliced into an image. I did practice of some less than exhibition quality negatives before I began this approach.

    Worked this way you can unload and reload holders rather efficiently. I know when I return home I must sort all those sheets of film, but I least then I have my darkroom and no external problems to worry me.

    And if my wife and i are ready to end the photographic day and enjoy ourselves in some way that does not involve a 30 pound backpack and a Gitzo tripod, this certainly speeds up that.

    Bob