There’s always a little nervousness around a trip, especially at packing time. Do I have enough underwear? Do I have the right underwear? And for the past few years, can I put this in my carry-on bag? Can I put this in my checked luggage?
I think I have the underwear thing under control. There’s always washing in the hotel sink or going to the eurogap to buy more. I have the carry-on liquids thing under control. I have my official EU 1 litre baggie containing the essentials: mouthwash, hand sanitizer, hydrating spray, moisturizing lotion, and a bottle containing a few of each of the critical in-flight drugs and supplements: benadryl, nyquil, melatonin, famotidine and lomotil. Electronics will be easy. This is a vacation, so no laptop and no beard trimmer. I’m traveling light, so no noise canceling headphones, ipod or digital camera. All I need is cell phone, charger and adapter. Check.
Now I get to the tough part: camera and film. You can’t put film in your checked luggage, they zap it with serious industrial x-rays that are said to fog your film to heck. The carry-on luggage scanner says it’s safe up to 400 speed but I don’t trust them. I use a lead-lined bag rated to 1600 ISO for my precious Tri-X. Here’s the ambitious plan: ten rolls for ten days plus the partial roll that’s in the camera already. I’m unlikely to shoot it all, but it would really suck to run out at an inconvenient time or place.
I know from past experience that whatever kind of scanner they use, it can see right through the bag. One time they asked me if I had a camera in there along with the film (I did) and another time, I could see the monitor and the film canisters were clearly visible. So far, I’ve experienced no damaging fogging, and I’ve dragged some film through four or five airports worth of scanners in this bag. So maybe the bag manufacturer is full of it or maybe the scanners really are film safe. I feel better using the bag.
As traveling with film becomes less common among the general public – it’s probably almost extinct already – I expect more and more raised eyebrows and scrutiny at security. Not the kind I’d get if I had different genes, but the kind you get when you have strange, meticulously-wrapped packages.
Undue scrutiny of photographers brings up the news that New York City is considering rule changes that would require a permit to photograph and film in public places , recently brought to my attention by by a local ace photographologist, who deserves a special shout-out on her b-day, the party for which I lamely missed by spending the evening folding socks and zip-loc’ing film.
I don’t know if this is really the thin end of the wedge against free expression or just some misguided legal CYA maneuver, but I don’t like the sound of it. If you like to make pictures in NYC, you might want to look into it. Follow LKB’s link for more info and a petition you can sign.