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How should I handle the film I bring into Belize?
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Poster Marty Online   happy
Posted 12/04/07 06:49 PM
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Film is a tricky subject, more so these days, as you've noted. Fuji, with its opaque containers, has usually been my film of choice. I haven't traveled with any lately, but my recommendation has been to take the containers w/ the film out of the box and put all the containers of film in a ZipLock bag. Carry this with you, then request a hand-check of your ZipLock at the x-ray machine. I know you don't want to make a scene, but insist to speak to a supervisor if the attendant will not let you hand check.

Despite what these poorly educated people will tell you, x-ray damages film, as it is cumulative. They have been told to tell you that only high speed film gets affected. Wrong. ASA 100 film that goes thru the x-ray in Salt Lake City and Houston is now affected as much as ASA 200 film. When you go from Belize International to San Pedro, it gets another dose, and assuming all machines are giving it the same time/strength of exposure, your ASA 100 film has now been exposed to enough radiation to make it fog like ASA 400 film would.

Exposed film is just as fragile, so a zap when leaving Belize makes it ASA 800 film. Going thru Houston on your way to your final destination (I just picked Salt Lake City as a starting point, but you get the idea), that one last blast now makes it ASA 1600, what most of us would consider ultra-high speed film. If just ONE of those operators stops your camera bag for a better look and it spends just twice the normal time under X-ray, you can double that. I don't want the possibility of that kind of fogging on my film. Remember, when dealing with an operator or a supervisor, their job is to run a machine, not be knowledgeable about the effect on film. An argument will probably get you nowhere, but if you can avoid just a couple of these machines, you're ahead of the game.

Leaded film bags are available and you may want to get one for your film. Once it goes through the machine, someone may ask you to open the bag. That is your best deal, because you are now guaranteed a hand-check. Since you've discarded the box the film came in, you make it easy for the security people to do their job.

I always shoot 36s because I believe fish know when you're out of film. I've seen people who use Kodak film that comes in black containers go to a local film processor and get some opaque Fuji cannisters for travel.

Can i buy film and get it developed?

Many gift shops and a few grocery stores carry a supply of film. Belicolor Photo located on the corner of Pescador and Buccaneer carries film and offers developing services. They also carry underwater photography needs.
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#258691 - 12/05/07 03:40 AM Re: How should I handle the film I bring into Belize? [Re: Marty]
ScubaLdy Offline
The above post is confusing - is the person asking a question or giving answers to an invisible question?
I don't think Belicolor (or anyone else) processes slides. Back when I was shooting film I had to send it to Belize City for processing.
So on the next trip I shot ASA 100 print film and took it to Belicolor for processing. Long story short the guy argued that I needed to shoot ASA400 to get good color. In California I would just mark the envelop “Shot underwater” and the color would come out great. Not so here.
Lucky me I switched to digital.
_________________________
Harriette
Take only pictures leave only bubbles

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#258700 - 12/05/07 05:39 AM Re: How should I handle the film I bring into Belize? [Re: ScubaLdy]
Marty Online   happy
its a question i get asked a LOT so i put it into this forum

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#294584 - 08/25/08 07:22 PM Re: How should I handle the film I bring into Belize? [Re: Marty]
Dan Carey Offline
Marty,
I've yet to find anyone who processes E6, also known as slide film, in Belize. Print film can be developed locally, so that's a good choice for fim shooters. Die hard slide shooters have to get their film back to one of the porcessors that are still doing E6.

Shooters used to use mailers from Fuji or Kodak. This gets the film out of the hands of the TSA without causing too much grief, but you really should use air mail or even FedEx. The last Fuji mailer I used, in early 2008, was shipped to Duane's. Duane's still does E6 and even Kodachrome. Here's the link to Duane's photo processing. If you're serious, and just about anybody who shoots E6 is serious about their imaging, you can also use the lab at National Geographic. They also do print film. Either way, you can tell your photo-cronies "well, when I was on location in Belize, I shipped my film to Nat-Geo and they handled the processing for me".

My local pro lab handles E6. I shoot a lot of E6, especially in large format, so having the good folks at Tempe Camera nearby is very handy. You can't just go to the local Wall-Mart and ask them to develop an E6 8x10, but Tempe Camera will do it for the low, low price of $4.15. They'd be more than willing to work with you on your film from Belize, too. Just call and tell them to expect a package and they'll handle it.

Hete's the TSA page about film. If you're shooting something critical, like a wedding or other professional work, insist on hand check. Lie to them if you have to, saying that you are shootig ISO 3200 film or X-ray film if nothing else works. Use a lead bag to force the hand search. Do what you have to do, but you'll get some fog from the scan if you send the film through. You may not notice the fog if everything goes well, but you'll kick yourself if you're shooting for publication and you lose a week's work due to a malfunctioning scanner or what have you. Don't risk it.

Dan


_________________________
"Facts are the enemy of Truth"
Don Quixote

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#294592 - 08/25/08 07:48 PM Re: How should I handle the film I bring into Belize? [Re: Dan Carey]
Amanda Syme Offline
Did you try Spooners in Belize City? They used to process slides back in the '80's.

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