I travel with film a lot. Sometimes they look at the contents of my lead bag, or bags, most times they don't. I use it more to protect the film from the increased radiation your film gets exposed to during flight. Higher altitude, less atmosphere. Haven't flown into or out of the US since the recent incident, so don't know how the TSA people will react. Have been in and out of Bangladesh, Vietnam, Malaysia, China (of course), New Zealand and Korea recently. The only place I got asked to show the bags contents was Hong Kong about three months ago. Having a few cameras in the bag seems to be a good indicator of what is happening. I take all the rolls out of the canisters (if 35mm) and out of the wrapping if 120. 5x4 stays in the box. Only twice have I had people insist on xraying it out of the bag, once entering New Zealand about 9-10 years ago (they are paranoid about unwanted arrivals further damaging their bio-diversity ) and once when leaving Paris.
Also, when they stop everything to look at the screen, they are looking at the image on the screen. The contents of the scanner (your bag/film/etc.) are not being exposed to more xrays (or so I have been informed by a reliable source). They may adjust the contrast or gain on the image on the screen, but it isn't being exposed to more radiation. Personally, I think the modern machines are safe for a few passes with out to much base fog build-up, but, discretion is always the better part of valour.
Unfortunately, this CAN happen.
Originally Posted by Ian Grant
I had one jerk not only remove HIE from the can, but pull it out as well! there was much tension that day and the police were rushing toward me... Paris... they point blank refused hand checks... or accepted it :rolleyes: with the catch that it be followed by an X-ray exam too!
It is almost time for some civil disobedience....
the situation is quite out of hand... a better solution is possible.
I got those lovely TSA cards many times as well... once they opened a 20 lb bag of Gelatin (Ex-Libris Kodak).
Funny, the cards say the TSA doesn't take any responsability for their actions... (sort of like 007, they must be Double 0's or something-?)
I feel so safe because of those TSA monkeys... evil terrorists must tuck tail and shiver like a hungover enema, ohh la la
Like you Ray I've had some close experiences but no film ruined yet. At Istanbul the security opened the film box then the foil wrapper on Delta 3200, and I only managed to stop them unrolling the film with a lot of verbal protestation.
More recently I had to stop security opening a box of 100 sheets of 5x4 film, not easy when they speak no English, luckily someone who spoke the language explained my protests. Something in my baggage had shown up as suspicious in the carry-on scan,
It's best to either carry film complete separate from other items or remove from the carryon case just for scanning. Now I put my film in my laptop case which is perfect, most airport insist on laptops being removed anyway & on few occasions booted-up. The important part is keep film away from all metal objects, wires from chargers, batteries etc while being scanned.
My last TSA love story was when by a quirk of kindness, a last minute offer by the airline to allow me to hand carry a tripod bag onto the cabin, resulted in a bottle of Nuttela being "stolen" from me.
(how do we know they don't resale or share the spoils of their protective police action? Disposal activites are not open to the public according to the TSA) Even the airline wasn't able to retrive the article for me... I almost cancelled that flight just to emphasize my irritation... technically, Nutella is not liquid nor a "gel" but it seems to fall under the "if coustomer complains, take it away" clause.
As far as the bags go, they are pretty much useless... they reduce the intensity, but if they were fully opaque to X-ray, does anyone really think they would fly?
Imagine a terrorist carring a fully shielded lead box to the gate.
Present for yo mama ? Ok, Go right on through.
Next!... hey you with the camera and films...everything in the machine!
Last edited by Ray Rogers; 01-11-2010 at 06:38 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I think the tricky part is that the damage can be subtle, and each TSA agent thinks his is the only machine your film is ever going to encounter.
In addition to transfers there is also the whole return trip to consider, and different machines seem to be set to different exposure intensity levels... so while I own and use the bags, in the long run, I think they offer more psychological comfort than real physical protection....
I should note though, that I have had more trouble outside the US... For example, Singapore even takes the added "responsibility" of making sure you have the proper visa/residence permit... (to enter Japan at least) - something I consider none of their business....
Last edited by Ray Rogers; 01-11-2010 at 06:49 AM. Click to view previous post history.
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.... as often do USA, European and other countries officials. I once had to wait about 20 minutes while an official confirmed my passport allowed me a three month visa free entrance to the country I was heading for. If you arrive and get turned back it's on the airline, and they can get fined.
Originally Posted by Ray Rogers
Last edited by Shan Ren; 01-11-2010 at 08:52 AM. Click to view previous post history.
This is a very good idea, and I do this as well. When the film is in a separate bag (I usually use a canvas tote bag), it usually just goes through the X-ray once without further inquiry. The camera bag, especially if it has a lot of parts that look suspicous, might get two screenings from two different angles, so it's best to keep the film separate.
Originally Posted by Ian Grant
I've also found it useful to keep a separate little bag with all the small things that seem to attract the attention of inspectors and to put it in my checked luggage, though that does create a potential for the bag not to arrive at the same time as I do. Those things are:
Cable releases (look like syringes)
Linhof rangefinder cams (look like blades or scissors, though it's okay to leave one cam in the camera)
When I travel with my 4x5" Technika V, I have one cam and matching lens on the camera and a cable release that folds inside the camera, so that if my checked bag with my other cams and my tripod are delayed, I can still shoot handheld until it gets there. Yes, it's happened.
Can you be more specific about where you actually had trouble?
Originally Posted by Shan Ren
I have travelled from LA, DC, Dallas, HK, Bancock, Korea, London, Paris, Muenchen and Frankfurt but no security people have ever asked me about my legal status to stay at my destination. I have been questioned about having a valid passport by the agency that sells the air tickets, but then informed it is my responsibilty to make sure I have all of the necessary documents....
What airline are you using whose security is required to do what is essentially your responsability?
I am not saying you are incorrect, on the contrary, that ["If you arrive and get turned back it's on the airline, and they can get fined."] is the only reason I was able to squeeze out of an official upon my arrival after such an incident...
However, as I said, it is rare in my experience for the airline security to nose around in, copy etc. my resident permit for my destination. Perhaps it is country or airline specific....
Last edited by Ray Rogers; 01-11-2010 at 05:06 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I've never travelled much in Europe, but it's very common in Asia and the Middle East to have the airline check your documents before departure. In fact, I thought it was the norm.
If I had been present at the creation, I would have given some useful hints for the better arrangement of the Universe.
Alfonso the Wise, 1221-1284
Last time I traveled, the machine had a label that said anything that was uder ISO 800 or was not intended to be push processed could go through...I'll try telling them it is ISO 800 and/or it will be pushed processed....If it is 4X5 in holders, they will never actually be able to tell the ISO easily
Helping to save analog photography one exposure at a time