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  1. #1
    Harry Lime's Avatar
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    Flying with raw chemicals - A stupendously bad idea?

    Has anyone done this?

    I'm going on an extended trip to New Zealand from the US and am toying with the idea of taking along some basic chemicals to develop film while on the road.

    Methol
    Sodium Sulfite
    Sodium metaborate (Kodalk)

    All packed in white plastic bottles with labels from the Photographers Formulary. (like that makes a difference).
    Everything would be carried in my check-in luggage, along with developing tank etc. My film and cameras would go
    in my carry on.

    Now, given the current travel climate this could be an incredibly stupid idea, inviting all sorts of trouble and problems.
    I can already picture myself landing in Gitmo, with some 300 lbs goon burning toilet paper between my toes.

    Has anyone done this? Does it help if you register this material with some agency or the airline?

    Maybe I should just have it shipped it to me once I get to NZ...

    thanks
    Last edited by Harry Lime; 10-22-2012 at 07:29 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Lime View Post
    Maybe I should just have it shipped it to me once I get to NZ...
    That would be MY choice.

  3. #3

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    Or mail the stuff to your hotel or wherever you are staying a couple of weeks ahead of time. You will still need to look into the rules, some chemstry can't go on airplanes, so you might need to resort to surface mail.

  4. #4

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    All of my chemicals I bought from Photographer's Formulary came either in heat sealed small pouch (that sometimes leaked) or in a plastic bottle and taped up seam. I would NOT try to take these on an airline... All it takes is someone to question something and there's no way for me to prove anything. A small leak can cause a big panic too.

    From security personnel's stand point, there is no guarantee what's on the label is what's inside the bottle. They won't know the company, chemical, or its purpose. It's not like a ruggedly sealed foil package of D76 with big KODAK name on it (which everyone knows). We are in a climate someone will flip out because your shampoo bottle is too large and these are chemicals that are unknown to common people.

    I would just ship it. Not worth the hassle and potential loss or worse.
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  5. #5
    Benoît99's Avatar
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    Carrying suspicious looking chemicals through airport security is a great idea if you want to see what the inside of a federal detention facility looks like after a TSA agent checks for contraband in your rectum. How many days/weeks would you be in detention while waiting for the lab report to come back and show that your chemicals were used in photographic developers and were not also useful for making some sort of bomb?

  6. #6
    Harry Lime's Avatar
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    Yeah, it's a spectacularly bad idea.

    You guys have basically painted the same scenario I've been imagining.


    FedEx it is.

  7. #7
    Richard Sintchak (rich815)'s Avatar
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    Flying with raw chemicals - A stupendously bad idea?

    Or get it in NZ? They have a couple of good sized cities there. I've been to a couple. :-)
    -----------------------

    "Well, my photos are actually much better than they look..."

    Richard S.
    Albany, CA (San Francisco bay area)

    My Flickr River of photographs
    http://flickriver.com/photos/rich815...r-interesting/

    My Photography Website
    http://www.lightshadowandtone.com

  8. #8

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    just gonna say -- new zealand has camera stores, I bet. Or ask Freestyle to ship your stuff there. I bet they do that all the time.

  9. #9
    Athiril's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Lime View Post
    Has anyone done this?

    I'm going on an extended trip to New Zealand from the US and am toying with the idea of taking along some basic chemicals to develop film while on the road.

    Methol
    Sodium Sulfite
    Sodium metaborate (Kodalk)

    All packed in white plastic bottles with labels from the Photographers Formulary. (like that makes a difference).
    Everything would be carried in my check-in luggage, along with developing tank etc. My film and cameras would go
    in my carry on.

    Now, given the current travel climate this could be an incredibly stupid idea, inviting all sorts of trouble and problems.
    I can already picture myself landing in Gitmo, with some 300 lbs goon burning toilet paper between my toes.

    Has anyone done this? Does it help if you register this material with some agency or the airline?

    Maybe I should just have it shipped it to me once I get to NZ...

    thanks
    If it's not ORM-D, there shouldn't be much of a problem tbh with dry stuff. Most people flip out and way over exaggerate. It's actually pretty lax in my experience, even transferring through China a month before the olympic games (on an Aussie passport though, with VISA on entry).

  10. #10
    Rudeofus's Avatar
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    It's not that the compounds he listed are dangerous or illegal per se, but they are highly unusual in traveler luggage. Therefore nobody knows whether these compounds (or their oxydation products, or random impurities) can trigger a false alarm in some explosive detector or whatever. And once that alarm has gone off ... well, that's been covered in this thread already. I get enough trouble with my RZ67 plus roll film every single time I fly anywhere.

    Please also think that it may or may not be legal to mail/UPS/Fedex random chemistry across the globe, there's a chance you need a license to do that. Misrepresenting the contents of your parcel may open you to lots of other problems. If random white crystalline powder packages could be simply mailed internationally by anyone, northern Mexico would be in better shape.

    In your situation I would either look for local vendors at the place you go to, or have some chem supplier ship it there. At least they know the regulations.
    Trying to be the best of whatever I am, even if what I am is no good.

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