Film in Israel
EDIT: Can a Mod move this to Geographic Locations. I didnt see that forum until after I posted this. Thanks.
I'm looking for some opinions or even better, some experiences shooting film in Israel.
Each year I take a business trip to the UK and after that I try to spend 1 week traveling somewhere in Europe as I rarely get there except on work related trips. This year I am thinking about going to Israel (yes I know, not in Europe), specifically the Old City section of Jerusalem. That has been located at spot #1 of my buck list of places to visit for almost 15 years and it is TIME that I finally get there.
These days I shoot as much film as possible and I'd like to continue that if at all possible. However, I see two potential obstacles. First off is the security there. Israel must be THE most security intense place to visit and I am totally unsure how many times my film would be scanned. Plus, they might use more powerful scanners. I dont know. Part of this could be mitigated if I could buy a supply of film, but in this day and age, finding film at a destination is not guaranteed. If I could get film in Israel, then a few scans from the journey to that location could be mitigated.
Second, a lot of the churches are VERY dark. Last year I went to Paris and shot digitally (sorry). I had ISO3200 and f/2 available to me and STILL that was not enough at times. My film gear is f/4.5 so I just dont have the light gathering ability to shoot with. I would probably bring my small X100 for those times.
Has anyone ever visited the Old City of Jerusalem and shot film? Please share experiences! I am not 100% sure if that is where I will go, but I need to decide soon!!
I can only think that take a tripod with you and try long exposures at dark places. And try to learn where you can find film and process at Israel and rescue from these scanners. Israel is very very small tiny country and you can manage to go from one end to other with taxi. You can shoot many things while at this taxi trip.
While it has been some 25+ years since we visited Israel security was very good at that time. Everything was hand inspected. Camera backs had to be open and lenses open to the widest aperture with the lens caps off and they were looked through. At the time I happened to have put my tripod in checked luggage and didn't get my bag for two days. It was an aluminum Tiltall and was probably taken apart but arrived in perfect condition. I used MF and 120 Tri-x which was ample speed for me. I would imagine you can still have your film hand inspected. You can probably find out from the airline or Israeli tourist office.
I've been to Israel a couple of times on business.
You will want to bring film with you as there is limited selection, spotty availability and it is relatively expensive in Israel. Do not worry about the xray machines used in security. They are the most modern and advanced available. They will not harm your film - OBVIOUSLY, DO NOT pack film in your checked baggage. Pack it in your carry on bag and carry it with you. They will only scan it once but, they will look at pictures from all differnt angles and with different color schemes....rest assured this is all accomplished with post processing. Your film will be fine! Furthermore from what I have seen and experienced, an all manual film camera from the 1970's or 1980's will pass through the various security check points in Tel-Aviv far easier than anything electronic. If you have a personal contact in Israel, firm hotel reservations, or anything official that says how long and where you're staying, your experience will be easier. Make sure you have definite plans! Do not be vague when passing through security at the airport.
You will need to get used to using the 'bulb' setting if you want to photograph inside the churches...a tripod would seem necessary but, the tripod will make passing through the myriad security check points far more difficult (not just the airport...they have security check points at the entrance to many retail stores in Tel Aviv for example. So, I would recommend leaving the tripod home and getting used to setting your camera on something that's already there in the church and making due with that. A few rolls of Ilford Delta 3200 might also be in order.
In the old city, barter is the order of the day. Their tactics are very aggressive...but the US Dollar still has strong negotiating power (they'd rather have dollars or euros than sheckels).
The people are all very wonderful...you can photograph just about anywhere or anything...but do not photograph the "religious people". The do not like it and some get very obusive if they even think that you've photgraphed them...
There are several Pro photo stores in Jerusalem, all are in the city center. Look for Photo Prisma on King George St., where they carry pretty much whatever film is currently available in most other places around the world. You can probably call ahead and find out if you are looking for anything specific.
Originally Posted by RattyMouse
The only place where you need to go through a scanner in the old city (of which only a half is actually in israel), is at the wailing wall, and only if you go in through the entrance at the muslim or jewish quarters (the main entrance does not have a scanner). This is a "hand bag" strength scanner, and you should be fine passing most film through it, though in most cases with some patience, you can have it hand inspected, just don't be in a rush.
Some bags used to be randomly scanned with a similar scanner at the Jerusalem central bus station, but that might have been stopped by now.
The church of the holy sepulchre has lots of light during the day, and you can easily shoot less then 3200 film there hand held, same goes for the dormizion church.
Originally Posted by RattyMouse
The coptic church is dark, and harder to shoot at because it is also smaller.
see some work on film shot there (and other places) http://www.galitibbon.com/
The dome of the rock mosque is brilliantly lit, and is one of the most exciting places to shoot, it is closed to Israelis (and jews, but you do not have let anyone know if you are), and if you have a chance you should most definitely go. Its all withing walking distance, so is the wailing wall.
Buying film in the old city is possible, but it will be mighty expensive if you can find any.
Eat hummus at Lina restaurant!
And a short note about tripods - if you want to use one, you will have no problems whatsoever with that in israel, though it might be just too much to carry as walking around. No one will bother you for that...