Taking photo chems into Canada
Dose anyone have any experience in crossing the US/Canada border with photo chemicals?
I'll have a 2L bottle of Acufine, 1L bottle of Acufine replenisher, 2L bottle of Rapid-Fixer, 1L bottle of Hypoclear, and maybe a 2L bottle of Xtol.
I know these chemicals are not dangerous and are perfectly legal in either country. But should I declare then at the border crossing? Could I get into trouble if I don't?
I don't have enough money in my travel budget to buy new chemicals once I get there.
I'm visiting a friend in Toronto, ON soon. I live in North Carolina, so it'll be a good long drive. I would fly, but I enjoy driving and want to carry a lot more stuff than I could on an airline.
She's also a photog, and is letting me set up a darkroom in her bathroom so I/we can do a lot of B&W photography.
I'm not hardcore enough to lug an entire enlarger. But I'll have my Epson V500 photo scanner for some somewhat-instant digital satisfaction.
I would ship them myself, budget extant. You're really rolling the dice having to leave them with a border officer if that's all you get off with. Just my 0.02.
I have crossed the border a couple of times with chemicals but I am a Canadian going back into Canada. Usually I don't declare it unless they ask and if they do, I have always ensured all tags, labels and original packaging is still attached. In addition, if you can have new, unopened bottles, there tends to be less fuss. The couple of times I have been asked about the chemicals, I normally have 2-3 cameras with me and generally the discussion centers around "do people still shoot film?". The most important thing, don't lie! but realize that none of these items are in anyways dangerous and all are sold here in Canada.
Also realize that all of these materials are sold in Toronto, normally stocked with the exception of the Acufine.
Once a photographer is convinced that the camera can lie and that, strictly speaking, the vast majority of photographs are "camera lies," inasmuch as they tell only part of a story or tell it in a distorted form, half the battle is won. Once he has conceded that photography is not a "naturalistic" medium of rendition and that striving for "naturalism" in a photograph is futile, he can turn his attention to using a camera to make more effective pictures.
Not to disagree out of hand, but seeing the hassles people are having shipping chemicals, dealing with regulations in both countries and the whims of international carriers, I would be more inclined to pack them myself. That way they will arrive at the same time as you do, and with the knowledge that they were handled with the same care you give all your materials.
Originally Posted by Christopher Walrath
Tom, on Point Pelee, Canada
Ansel Adams had the Zone System... I'm working on the points
system. First I points it here, and then I points it there...
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Going north, I would not think twice. Coming south, I would ship.
I have a colleague who is on the "watch list" for air travel because she told US border dudes she had no food in the car, but they found a kiwi that rolled out of her lunch sack a few days earlier. Coming south, I would ship.
I drove from Calgary to a workshop at Photo Formulary in Montana last June and took chems with me and brought them back. Was never asked by either US or Can Customs, other than are you bringing any fruit, anything that you will leave behind etc. Since the answer to those questions was no, the subject of the photo chems never came up.
I agree with one of the previous answers, just answer truthfully any questions asked, and do not volunteer additional info not asked for. I brought the original Xtol bag with me just in case there was any question about the contents of the plain bottle. All of the chems you mentioned are sold here in Canada and you are just bringing stuff for personal use.
you could print out a page to have with you, showing the products for sale by Canadian retailers -
for example, http://www.thecamerastore.com/search...nomy%253A23.24
I wouldn't worry about it. Just bring them along.
Haven't you heard what the terrorists can do with a kiwi?!?!?!
Originally Posted by Rich Ullsmith
I assume that these are not in original, unopened containers. That could be an issue since, in the mind of Canadian customs, these aren't photo chemicals, they're unknown chemicals. But you don't have large quantities and most of the attention is likely to be in the other direction (Canada to US). So I would mention them only if asked (as Kevin and MartinB suggests) and have some documentation. I'd be most worried about the fixer, given that ingredients might (I'm not a chemist) also be present in some form in other, more dangerous chemicals. Perhaps someone with more knowledge than me can weigh in.
"Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer