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What does airport x-ray fog look like?

  1. Markster
    I took a trip early in December to meet extended family members I rarely get to see. I took a 4-pack of Kodak 800 speed film.

    Yes, you may say "there's grains! ugh!" and I agree, but for the most part I can accept the grains if it gives me the speed I need to shoot indoors without a flash. That's another issue and yes I'm looking to move to lower ISOs.

    So, the film went through x-ray once on the way there, and again on the way back. No, it didn't get patted down

    But when I got back and had the film processed and the prints made, I noticed some of them are a tad yellow.

    I took a couple of shots out the plane window at night. I figured maybe they were yellowed because of a combination of the plexiglass windows not being totally clear and the yellow lights in general. However, there's another one I shot from the front window of a car of wind sweeping snow berms acros the road (Wisconsin; the same storm that took down the Metrodome) and it's decidedly yellowed as well.

    I tried to get some long-time exposure shots of lights below at night from the plane and they had a bit of a yellow sheen as well, but I chalked this up to light polution, high speed film, and other factors.

    I had to scan them all and I really spent more time than I should have correcting the airplane window shots and the snow shot, and it got me thinking maybe something isn't normal.

    Then there were a couple of shots I took of my sister and mother at the airport. I suppose it could have been the indoor lighting, but I had sufficient shutter speed and aperature, the light reading was fine. It just looked very yellow. Also had to correct when scanning.


    So what does x-ray fog look like? I read one comment here on APUG that somebody said they would not take anything over 400 through an x-ray. I'm wondering if that's added the yellow, or if x-rays don't work that way with color negative film.
  2. Robert Brummitt
    Robert Brummitt
    It's been sometime but I remember dark streaks in film that was exposed to x-rays. Blue/purple streaks. But, that was long ago and todays airport machines probably run differently now.
    I had a photo- friend who was an early TSA agent, he told me that anything under 800 as safe. But again, he left the group 8 or 10 years ago. He said I should either buy my film where I was going or have film shipped to my hotel ahead.
    He also shared that some countries don't have the best equipment, meaning stronger energy output. More chances of exposure. He also said that after 911 orders were to increase the power on machines to see everything. Remember those lead-lined bags to carry film in? Well, when one of those went thru a machine, the operator would boost up the power and by time he or she saw what was in it. The film was cooked. Ouch!
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