Learning Event 2:
STORING, PACKING, AND HANDLING PHOTOGRAPHIC FILM AND PAPER
Photographic films and papers are normally prepared for overseas shipment in tropical packing. In most
cases you will have to carry your own basic load of supplies from supply sources at your post or station. This
material most probably will not be packed for tropical use.
a. As with equipment, humidity and heat can ruin photographic film and paper. Deterioration of film
and paper is normally not evident until the film or paper is processed. Image deterioration and high emulsion fog
become evident at that time.
b. Always keep sensitized materials in the original container until ready to use. Where required, place
unopened films and paper in containers that are airtight. Make sure that the expiration date has not been
exceeded. Out-of-date film and paper is your second worst enemy.
c. If at all possible, keep sensitized materials in refrigerated storage until required. The temperature
should be 50F or lower while in storage. Film and paper must be removed from the refrigerator and allowed to
warm up gradually before opening the packing. If this is not done, the film will "sweat" and be ruined. Usually
one hour for a roll of 35mm film is sufficient. For larger packs of film and paper, more time is required.
d. If refrigeration is not available, keep the material shaded and never allow it to be placed in the direct
sun or in a tin-roofed building. Sensitized material can be placed in a 1- to 2-foot hole in the ground.
Temperatures decrease greatly at very shallow depths. The hole must be kept dry.
After exposure, film should be processed immediately. If this is not possible, the film must be packaged
and kept dry.
a. Place the film in its original container and wrappings. Seal it and take it to the laboratory as soon as
possible. If the film has been allowed to become moisture-laden, then you must dry it prior to shipping.
(1) Place the wrapped film in a metal or other waterproof container with silica gel. Wrap it again
and ship it to the laboratory immediately. The film should NOT remain in the silica gel container longer than 48
hours. If it does, it may become too dry and brittle.
(2) If metal containers are not available, any container that can be completely sealed can be used.
Plastic bags make good containers.
b. Sensitized materials must be kept dry and processed immediately after exposure. The longer you
wait to process, the more chance you have of producing poor images.