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  1. #1

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    Self-developing film in Thailand (Mae Sot)

    I put the town name in the title so people understand that I will be nowhere remotely near Bangkok or Chiang Mai.

    I will be in Thailand for 6 months. I have never traveled more than 2 months before, so I have always just brought my film home for developing. In this case, I will be living in the same place for 6 months, with a couple side trips. I am perfectly willing to bring tanks, reels, and chemicals with me (and buy graduates and bottles there) but I'm unclear on how to dispose of the chemicals after use. I will be staying in a guesthouse for a few weeks while I look for other housing.

    Here in New York, I dump my chemicals down the drain. I know some people disapprove of that, but I've also heard plenty about how it would never effect a city with a water system the size of New York's. And I really have no way of lugging the spent chemicals to any waste site.

    Mae Sot though, is a town of perhaps 50,000. I can imagine saving up the used chems in some larger bottles. But what next? Is there any sort of national standard place to dump this stuff, or does it depend on region/city? Does anyone have experience with self-developing film in Thailand?

    This is only about b/w. I am definitely not bringing color chems with me --although hoping and praying there is a color lab somewhere! I'm happy shooting mostly b/w but there are some cases when color may be necessary depending on usage of the photos.

  2. #2
    mablo's Avatar
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    You will find mini labs but you might need to take a bus ride to a more populated town. So you could as a last resort circumvent the used chemical problem by using b&w C41 film. I'm sure there are places for dumping used chemicals but on rural areas they can be few and far between.

  3. #3
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    You could get friendly with the mini-lab owners (I'm sure there is at least one there- Mae Sot is not exactly off the tourist map), and see if they would dispose of your waste chemicals for you.

  4. #4
    Mike Wilde's Avatar
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    Take Rodinal or HC-110 as the developer, and a rapid fixer, and some plain old steel wool. Developer goes down the drain one shot, and spent fixer once exhausted into a bucket for a few days with steel wool. Carefully decant the supernatant of fixer bucket, including not expired fixer the second last day, and wipe up the silver sludge in the bottom the last day with a couple of paper towels, and zip lock them up and fly home with them where you can decommision them safely. The supernatant can go down the drain with a flush of water.
    my real name, imagine that.

  5. #5

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    Thanks, and sorry for the delay...I'm frazzled these days and totally forgot I even posted this...

  6. #6

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    SO annoying...re-typing a disappeared post. Anyway, I talked to a few other people who live in Asia and they said they are still dumping the chemicals down the drain (D76 users). One person said the reason was NOT as I thought--that the amount of chemicals vs. amount of water in a large city system was not enough to matter--but that the chems themselves are no more harmful than normal household cleaners. True? Of course, this person lives in Beijing so...he also has the ratio on his side. I will be bringing R09 for my slower films, but really prefer D76 for Tri-x and Neopan 1600.

    TheFlyingCamera, I'm not there yet but asked someone who's lived in Mae Sot 6 years and she could only think of one lab and said they were awful (destroyed some of her film). Also I don't speak Thai (yet) so I don't know how soon I can get this concept across... my previous experience is that very few people in Mae Sot's shops/restaurants speak English. Or at least, they don't speak it to me because they think I'm Thai...



 

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