Processing film abroad.
Hi All, looking for some travel advice. I'm embarking on a month long phototrip to India in November. My guide, a photographer is adverse to the idea of me shooting film over there. 0_o Yeah, yeah I know.. I know! I've explained to him that this is a major problem for a silver junkie. He really needs to see evidence of what I've shot to give guidance/criticism along the way. I'm pretty confident in my ability to capture what I want. Nevertheless it'd be nice to share with my fellow traveling companions and input is always good. This has all got me round to the hairbrained thought of processing film in various hotels along the way. I've found a cheapy portable film scanner for £50 that should do the crude job of digitizing the work to show on a laptop. Is it really a good idea to be developing film along the journey? The main concern being flying dev out there. I'm using HC110 and PMK pyro, the latter I imagine would be nigh impossible to find there. Was thinking of picking up fixer in Dehli. Apart from carrying a load of extra crap (changing bag, tank, beakers) are there any other logistical nightmares to think about?! Cheers, Gareth
This might be unduly cynical, but my limited experience of India is that it creates so many complications of its own that you don't want to add any that you don't absolutely have to. I really think you're best off saving the film to develop when you get back.
Apart from any logistical issues, what are you going to use for water? Tap water in India can be deeply scary and I don't think I'd trust it as a basis for developer---and if you go out and buy bottled (still) water, there's a fair chance that what you get will just be tap water run into a bottle! (Visitors are routinely advised to buy sparkling water rather than still for this reason.)
I may be intrinsically off-topic in saying this, but I think you'd do better to take a basic digital kit and use it as you might use a Polaroid setup---to preview shots, to share with fellow travellers, to review and ponder what you might do differently or go back to recapture the next day. Obviously I really hesitate to recommend the D word on APUG---but in my defense, I'd recommend the same thing with a Polaroid camera instead if that were still a realistic option!
San Diego, CA, USA
The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
-The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_
In the past I've travelled abroad with a developing tank, one shot developer like Rodinal (or small botttles of Pt A & B Pyrocat) and some fixer, and that's been for 5x4 films. It always worked out well and was a very practical way of working.
So your idea seems fine to me. Be aware that if it's still hot it's better to process at a higher temperature through out the whole cycle (dev/stop/fix/wash) which is how I have to work in Turkey most of the Spring/Summer/Autumn where it can be more than 40°C outside. So my Summer work all gets processed at at 27°C as thats the temperature of the tapwater. You may be better doing a final rinse with bottled water.
All depends on which part of India you're visiting during November.. If you're in the Delhi region and further north the temperature would be around 16 - 22 degree Celsius [or lesser] during that time.. in other parts of the country it would be on the higher side..
As regards water [putting aside potability standards which you may want to stick to], there have been no problems observed by many of us in using tap water after a routine filtration [all hotels can supply that if asked] -- bottled water or distilled water from the petrol pumps can be used as well..
Also B&W processing is still done by some labs and there are individuals who do that for a small fee.. if you can give an idea of your travel plans, I can suggest some labs / individuals where you can get your films processed within a day or so..
Must say you have some serious dedication!
I'll post a flickr link later on, that should give you some names and numbers to start querying.
If you're okay with losing a bit of control, you can get all development and scanning done at labs too.
There are a few labs in Mumbai/Delhi/Bangalore that will do a good job.
Color negatives are processed in a matter of a few hours, B/W and slides take a couple of days, unless you give them at least 5 at a time.
On the plus side, you'll be able to travel light, focus more on shooting, and get some sleep too.
November is usually a mild month (by Indian standards) so you should be good in most places as far as temperature and humidity are concerned.
Also uh, welcome to India!
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Here's a link with some info on film in India, mainly Mumbai
I just got back from a month long trip to india. I took a rolleicord and 30 rolls of film. I dont regret it at all. As for the water there, I drank the tap water the whole time and was fine, we traveled in both cities and villages. If you are worried about it just make sure when you unscrew the top pake sure it rips the seel as normal.
Sounds good Clark. I was going to take my Mamiya C330s as well as a bessa rangefinder and xpan. Was thinking likewise. 30 rolls of 120 and a similar amount of 35mm too. Do you think there would be enough time to process film out there as well? I'm going to the North. Dehli, Agra, Varanasi etc..
I'm not sure how much film is practical for you to bring with you but 30 rolls of 120 does not seem many for a month of photography.
Is there nowhere to process film there? Perhaps XP2?