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Thread: Airport X-ray

  1. #11
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    For what it's worth, the TSA - from it's first day in existence - has gone out of its way to warn about checking film through. It has described in detail HOW to have a hand inspection, and trained its employees to to do it.

    Along with with the information published by Kodak and others about the ins-and-outs, this is one of the most informed decisions we can make.

    Sorry about the film, Eric. But thanks for sharing the experience.

    .
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  2. #12
    JBrunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by df cardwell
    For what it's worth, the TSA - from it's first day in existence - has gone out of its way to warn about checking film through. It has described in detail HOW to have a hand inspection, and trained its employees to to do it.

    Along with with the information published by Kodak and others about the ins-and-outs, this is one of the most informed decisions we can make.

    Sorry about the film, Eric. But thanks for sharing the experience.

    .
    My experience with the TSA has not been like that. Only recently have they become more clued in. In the first year or so of their existence, where I traveled, they insisted on Xraying everything, to the point where I began to carry a copy of their own regulation, to show them.

    After having my film Xrayed a few times, or miss my plane, (and suffered no damage) I have lightened up, but interestingly, so have they.

  3. #13
    Wigwam Jones's Avatar
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    I absolutely agree with JBrunner and df cardwell about the TSA and film.

    I used to travel for a living, I was in and out of airports twice a week for seven years and flew an average of 150,000 miles per year - inside the US. I got to know the TSA quite well, and in general did not like them, but they have apparently gotten better.

    Anyway, the TSA and the FAA have been publishing information on their websites for several years now, warning of the dangers of putting unprocessed film in checked luggage:

    http://www.tsa.gov/summer/film.htm

    Still, and I do not mean this as a slam on Eric, people either ignore the warnings or they start threads on APUG and elsewhere saying "I'm going on vacation, can I put my film in checked luggage?" And invariably, someone answers that they ALWAYS put their film in checked luggage, they've NEVER had any damage, and therefore, the danger is all imaginary; or words to that effect.

    And for those tempted to use lead bags:

    1) It will not protect checked film.
    2) The TSA actually discourages it at all - for anything, even carry-on. Read it online:


    Are you considering the purchase of a lead-lined bag to protect your film? Lead-lined bags are not the best option, unless you will be traveling internationally. The lead bag will have to be hand-inspected for all domestic flights so it won’t save your film or your time. Again, if you have concerns about the impact of X-ray machines on undeveloped film, request a hand-inspection.
    I'm not one who usually just does whatever the government tells me to do, but it really makes no sense to ignore advice like this.

    Here's an excellent summary of the data available:

    http://www.ecophotoexplorers.com/filmtravel.asp

    And more:

    http://www.i3a.org/itip.html

    Again, Eric, I'm sorry about your damaged film, and I am aware that in your case, you meant to put the film in your carry on luggage and not in your checked luggage. This is meant more as a PSA for those about to travel.
    Best,

    Wiggy

    Note to Self: Tse-Tse Fly - No Antidote

  4. #14
    Wigwam Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBrunner
    My experience with the TSA has not been like that. Only recently have they become more clued in. In the first year or so of their existence, where I traveled, they insisted on Xraying everything, to the point where I began to carry a copy of their own regulation, to show them.

    After having my film Xrayed a few times, or miss my plane, (and suffered no damage) I have lightened up, but interestingly, so have they.
    My experience parallels yours. After 'requesting' a hand inspection and being told "we don't do that" at some airports - while they "did" do hand-inspections at other airports, I went out and found the Federal Register publication of the FAA rule that said the TSA was REQUIRED to hand-inspect film (and film equipment, interestingly) on request. I printed it out, highlighted the cogent portion, and had it laminated. Carried it in my backpack like a complete prat.

    Showed it to the TSA the next time they turned me down for a hand-inspection. They called over a supervisor, read it, had a good laugh and told me that they can do whatever they want to; they do not have to follow the law. They gave me a complaint form and then xrayed my film anyway.

    As you said, I eventually noticed that I never saw any damage in my (carry-on) xrayed film. I quit worrying about it.

    When it was really important to me, I'd take my film out of the boxes, put the cannisters in a baggie (usually along with at least one roll of ISO 3200 so I could legitimately claim I had 'high-speed' film with me), and handed the whole baggie to the nearest TSA rep, asking them to please hand-inspect, while trying to suppress my BOHICA response. Sometimes they'd be nice about it.

    I'm glad I don't fly anymore. I drive or take the train - or stay home.
    Best,

    Wiggy

    Note to Self: Tse-Tse Fly - No Antidote

  5. #15
    roteague's Avatar
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    I don't generally ask anything, I just let them run the film through the carry-on xray machine. The reason I don't ask for a hand inspection is that most of the film I carry is sheet film, and most inspectors don't understand that you can't open the box without ruining the film. I've taken to carrying QuickLoads, and haven't had any problems with them - the inspectors think they are just Poloroid films, and I don't explain otherwise.
    Robert M. Teague
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    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  6. #16

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    What a tough break, Eric. You'll never do that again, will you? Sometimes learning from experience is the best teacher. Having two small kids myself, I know how confusing things can get when traveling. I'm sorry about your loss.

  7. #17
    eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wigwam Jones
    Still, and I do not mean this as a slam on Eric,
    No slam Wigwam. Totally my fault. Travelling with kids is hard enough. Do they have enough things to do on a 16 hour flight? Do they have enough snacks? Potty? You get the idea. My mind was totally elsewhere.

    Anyway, I just processed 4 more rolls. 3 of them look completely fine!

    1 of them, I processed a new roll of Fuji Neopan 400 unexposed and that looks fine as well.

    I'll have to do another unexposed roll in a few days from another random pack of ziplocks that I had.

    I'm dropping off my color film today. Those are 160 Portra so I'm hoping that slower speed film is gonna be okay.

    So far, on this trip, I had a Pelican case and I thought things would be okay but:
    1. My TSA lock broke. That's bizarre, it was fine when I arrived overseas
    2. My Sekonic L-398 broke. That too bizarre cause it was working for a few days. I brought my Pilot 2 as a backup as well as a Pentax Spot.
    3. Dropped a Hassy UV filter and cracked right in the middle. Total loss. What's funny is that when I look through the viewfinder, I can't even notice the crack (but I did take it off for photographs).

    Travelling overseas: Have plenty of backups! I only have 1 Hassy body but I had 2 35mm camera bodies in case.

  8. #18
    roteague's Avatar
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    Great to hear that you managed to salvage some of your film. I'm glad that much worked out for you. FWIW, I think you had your priorities right, you can replace film, you can't replace families.
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  9. #19
    Wigwam Jones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eric
    No slam Wigwam. Totally my fault. Travelling with kids is hard enough. Do they have enough things to do on a 16 hour flight? Do they have enough snacks? Potty? You get the idea. My mind was totally elsewhere.
    I can't even imagine. I did just a few 16-hour flights when I travelled for a living - alone. That was a hassle all by itself.

    1. My TSA lock broke. That's bizarre, it was fine when I arrived overseas
    Broke or was broken? I bought one of the first 'TSA-Approved' locks (they use key-escrow so they can open and examine locked bags without breaking the lock open) and in my experience, they cut the danged locks anyway. Fifty-dollar locks. The goons.

    2. My Sekonic L-398 broke. That too bizarre cause it was working for a few days. I brought my Pilot 2 as a backup as well as a Pentax Spot.
    Good thind you had a backup!

    3. Dropped a Hassy UV filter and cracked right in the middle. Total loss. What's funny is that when I look through the viewfinder, I can't even notice the crack (but I did take it off for photographs).
    For the same reason that if you stand up next to a chain-link fence and focus at a distant object, you won't see the links in your photo, I'm guessing.

    Travelling overseas: Have plenty of backups! I only have 1 Hassy body but I had 2 35mm camera bodies in case.
    I took WAY TOO MUCH to Cancun, won't do that again. Well, I probably won't do Cancun again, but you know. I agree that backups are good to have.

    So glad you managed some salvage though. I lost all my Manaus, Brazil photos due to lab screw ups, you should have seen me come unglued.
    Best,

    Wiggy

    Note to Self: Tse-Tse Fly - No Antidote

  10. #20
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Bands of fog definitely sound like X-ray damage, alas.

    A broken lock sounds like airport pilferage. Check that nothing is missing. It's happened to me twice.

    I've never seen anyone recommending putting film in checked luggage on the forums I follow. There are usually warnings on the machines not to check film.

    I do let film go through carry-on X-ray and have never had a problem. I often use a lead bag for film, and most of the time it goes through without need for further inspection. Sometimes they'll run an explosive residue swab, and less frequently do a hand inspection. I have a small case that I put in checked luggage for all the things that seem to attract the curiosity of inspectors--cable releases, Linhof rangefinder cams, small tools, spanners, and such.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

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