Freaking out is the second thing the average scanner operator does. Generally the first is to crank-up the x-ray power to max, and try and fry their way into your film bag.
Originally Posted by FrankB
I've asked a number of supervisors about the operator cranking up the x-ray machine and they said it can't be done with the one used for handbags. They told me there is only one setting. They also said the normal x-ray machines can see through the average lead bags enough to ID metal objects. If all that is true then I feel the lead bags reduce the level of exposure better than no bag at all.
Originally Posted by Dave Miller
I shoot 4x5, and lately I have only two choices, open each box or send it through the machines. So, far, there hasn't been any fogging of Tri-X. Once, I sent film from England to the US through Fed-X. While Fed-X won't x-ray or open the film boxes, US customs can. That was the last time I did that. Now, the film never leaves my sight.
Recently I have had trouble at Luton Airport (London), because I carry an old fashioned Mamiya 645 (1000S) in my camera backpack. The first thing that happens is that the bag stays in the machine for ages and ages, and the operater enlarges the image, only to see a square metal 'box' in my bag.
Next thing that happens is that they make me unpack the bag, all of it (it is amazing how much gear a bag can hold!), and the camera's and lenses are put in a plastic box and passed through de machines again! Also they make me take the front and back lens hoods off and they want to look through the lenses.
Luckily, I never have film in my backpack when I travel to Scotland (via Luton), I just have one of the British firms send film out to Scotland. I guess my film would have been badly damaged, had I had any in the bag.
I generally ask for and get hand checks of my film, worldwide. The few times my request has been denied I've never had any film damage (albeit I've never checked any film).
Knowing that I'm a pain in the a## as far as security personal are concerned, I do try to make it easier:
---If I have a lot of film I try to pass thru security when there is not a lot of people in order to make it a bit easier on the security personnel.
---I try to make it easier for them to see the film. For 120 roll film, I place the pro-packs in a clear baggies. For 35mm film I replace all opaque canisters with clear canisters I have collected over the years and place those in clear plastic baggies. For 4x5 film I just put the box in clear baggies and pray they don't want to open it. Same for Polaroid films.
---I have all the film out and ready before I get to the machines so I'm not standing there unpacking everything and holding up the line.
---I never ask for my camera bags to be hand checked, although due to the amount of electronic items I generally take it gets more attention than the film.
In the USA, generally, there has been no problems except for the Polaroid materials. On some trips I take a lot Polaroid material and in Seattle once they opened every film pack, swiped it with some sort of pad and then put the pad in some sort of machine that I assume was checking for explosives properties. It took a rather long time, but they were not at all put out and were most accommodating.
Last edited by ceratto; 04-23-2005 at 11:27 AM. Click to view previous post history.
National Sarcasm Society
(like we need your support)
I had a similar experience happen to me in Honolulu in 1998. I thought it was odd that they had to look through the lenses in this way. I think they were checking to make sure there wasn't anything (like contraband) inside them.
Originally Posted by Annemarieke
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I think they look for something more dangerous than contraband these days.
The people at the airport were all very apologetic about making me unpack everything, and they did not touch my cameras and lenses. They made me handle them, which is very considerate.
What I found really interesting is that they are not at all bothered by my spotmeter (which sort of resembles a gun), but they all go for my Mamiya straight away!
The other non-camera related thing they make me do is take off my walking boots, and then they proceed to put them through the x-ray machine. It feels rather odd walking around in stockinged feet in the security area of an airport.
I do exactly the same thing as Wally. It takes a little time, but if you plan for the extra time you won't be nearly as stressed about it. And if you decide to just run it through the xray machine at first, and then have it hand inspected later (to avoid fogging from too many exposures) you are all set up for it. I think the inspectors like the clear plastic - it shows you have a glimmer of an understanding of their mission.
In my opinion, the lead bag is a waste of money, and it just makes your bags heavier. In another era it might have made sense, but not in the post 9-11 world.
I think this depends on where you are travelling to/from.
Originally Posted by Stephen Benskin
I frequently travel from Sydney Australia to Singapore and Hong Kong. All three of those international airports certainly have the ability to turn up the power when scanning hand (carry-on) luggage. I've watched them do it on several occasions when they've seen something questionable in my wifes luggage :-)
Hand check of film is certainly performed in Sydney on request, but they normally will ask you what speed film you are carrying when you ask. If I'm worried (due to being on a long trip with multiple stops) I will tell them 3200ASA and they normally don't check the speed but hand check anyway. If they check the speed (not happened yet) I'm going to explain that even though rated at 400 (HP5) I plan to expose and process for 3200ASA.
Hand check involves opening all the boxes, normally they leave the sealed foil intact for all but one from each box, then they run a test on each open box in a machine that I assume can smell explosives.
It's quite time consuming.
Imagine the day that film will be banned and only digital cameras would be accepted in a plane because of security reasons, or that the laziness of security personal stop being cordial to film camera users because of digital...
Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
no digital additives and shit
Far-fetched at first, but upon reflection it's possible given a long enough time frame.
Originally Posted by arigram
Easily solved! We just offer our darkrooms to each other in an international darkroom exchange program. You arrive in Australia with an empty camera. I give you HP5, you shoot it, then come back and develop it. Take the processed film home for printing :-)
Problem solved :-)