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  1. #1

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    Frozen Film & Background Radiation

    I have read some discussions about frozen film keeping but only going bad because of background radiation. Would a lead container like the old Airport Lead X-ray protectors protect it from background radiation? Have any of you guys tried this?

  2. #2
    MattKing's Avatar
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    The background radiation comes from cosmic rays, and no bag is going to be able to stop them.
    If you have a really deep, unused salt mine in your back yard, that would help.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  3. #3

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    Nope, the salt fumes will fix the film. Burying them 1000 miles under the surface of Pluto is your only hope. Better send the film to me. I have and anti-cosmic ray machine. And I guarenttee each roll because I test them in my Nikkormat before returning them.

  4. #4

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    When I was in grad school we used 8 inches of lead to reduce the background radiation for our low level counter. Hardly practical for in home used.

    BTW one of the principle sources of background radiation is from potassium K40 --> Ca40.
    Last edited by Gerald C Koch; 06-06-2014 at 05:38 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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    I wonder if there's a cosmic ray app. But I don't have a cell phone anyway. But I bet there really is an app for that.

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    T-Max P3200 was especially susceptible to environmental radiation, so much so that refrigerating or freezing it wasn't much help in extending its useful life. But I don't know of any current film for which ambient radiation in typical home settings is a problem even for long-term storage.

  7. #7
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    It's those neutrinos that really do the damage, they can play havoc with contrast ratios.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  8. #8

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    bill gates and salt mines

    When I was a cheeky young photographer I toiled for the world's largest news service, as a photog, for a while. Bill Gates owns the news service's library of fabulous photos (some, not mine, are Pullet Surprise winners) stored in an old salt mine and some of my efforts are down there. I don't know what he does with his unused rolls of film, presuming that he has any.

  9. #9
    NedL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliveh View Post
    It's those neutrinos that really do the damage, they can play havoc with contrast ratios.
    Aha, that explains why some of my photographs lack "punch" or look uninteresting. I knew there had to be a good reason.

    I'm not sure much background radiation from radon or alpha particles like you can detect with a geiger counter could make it through the metal of your freezer or refrigerator. But cosmic rays can get through a lot. If you are interested in learning something really mind-bending, read about muons that are created in the upper atmosphere by high energy cosmic rays. They have a VERY short lifetime, not nearly long enough for them to make it down to the surface of the earth even at velocities approaching the speed of light. Yet they do reach the surface of the earth and the reason is special relativity... one way to describe it is that due to time dilation, from our frame of reference time is slowed down so much for muons that they exist long enough to reach the earth. Their short lifetime happens in their frame of reference. They only reach the surface of the earth because they travel at relativistic speeds. The rate is about 1 per cm^2 per minute, so your thumbnail is getting hit by one about once a minute... and each sq cm of your film in your freezer.... which makes me wonder if film would be more or less damaged if the spool was stored upright or on its side..... hmm

  10. #10

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    We learned about cosmic rays in junior high. Very interesting. There's nothing that can stop them all.

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