Traveling with exposed sheet film : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Has anyone found a better solution to the problem of traveling with exposed B&W 4x5 negs which are to have different development (N-,N,N+,N++,etc) than to bring along an empty film box for each different development? The bother is complicated further when one is using several different films on the trip.

-- Dick Silven (, October 21, 1997


I primarily shoot color film and ussually do not run into this problem, but I do know someone who has a different system to you. He has traveled through europe with both 4X5 and 8X10 and what he does is upon exposing his film he fills out a data sheet. All the important info then in a dark bathroom or whatever he takes his film out of holder and puts it into a box, he then puts the data sheet on top of the film and lays his next sheet of film on top of that and so on and so on. This system seems logical to me. good luck

-- Corey Allen (, October 26, 1997.


I use a variation of the method suggested to me by Bruce Barnbaum while at one of his Granite Falls Workshops. I use an empty film box and place all N- at the bottom, followed by a paper spacer (the cardboard from the packets of original unexposed film), then N, N+ , and N++, each separated by a spacer. When I get back to the darkroom, it is an easy matter to separate the film into the proper stack for developing. This does require a changing bag in the field or at least a very dark closet. I also notch each paper with one, two, or no corners missing to identify the film by touch alone. After exposing the film, I mark my development on each holder with a pencil so I can keep each straight when placing into the box. The box is in an inside coat pocket when I travel through airports, so the exposed film doesn't have to be x-rayed and I don't have to argue with security.

If you use more than one type of film, then you will need more spacers and good notes.

Bruce doesn't use spacers but takes careful notes.

from Will Varnell (

-- Will Varnell (, December 14, 1997.

I use a variation of the Bruce Barnbaum "put them in a box" method. Instead of putting the negatives in a single sheet-film box divided by spacers, I carry with me FOUR film boxes. Marked N, N+1, N+2, and N-1. After each exposure, I write the technical info, including development requirements, on masking tape I've placed on each film holder. Then, when I have a moment, I transfer each sheet, using a changing bag or a dark-room, into the correct box. This way I don't have to worry about incorrect development times because I mis-filed an exposed sheet of film. Granted, it is a little cumbersome carrying around the additional boxes, BUT,....think of the alternative

-- Scott F. Feighner (, December 28, 1997.

How would you guys manage 4x5 colour transparency film , considering one brackets, in similar situations aside from using Quickload.

-- Atul Sharma (, January 05, 1998.

I like the box with the dividers, but have also used a different technique that might be good if you don't want to take the chanc of mis-filing. Go get two sizes of manila envelopes -- one just a bit larger than your file size, the other a bit larger than the first. Then wrap them entirely with gaffers tape or duct tape. Your negs go into the smaller envelop which then goes into the larger one with the opening end in first. I don't know about the long term effects of this on film, but I use this as only short term storage and have never experienced problems. I use tabs -- again made from duct tape -- to identify the different processing modes.

This doesn't take a lot of room when traveling and allows you to hold a lot of exposed film. I also use poly sleeves for each sheet of film to prevent scuffing. I've been able to store much more than 100 sheets in the different envelopes without a worry about misfiling.


-- Peter Kowalchuk (, June 06, 1998.

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