This piece has been written by Aranka van Dijk. Aranka is a very talented photographer so definitely check out her portfolio!
With the Canon AV-1 + 50mm 1.8 and two rolls of Kodak ULTRA MAX 400 135-36 in my hand luggage I went somewhat nervously to the airport for my trip to Thailand and Indonesia. I was warned in advance that the TSA x-rays at the airport can damage analog film.
The Canon AV-1 is a 35mm single-lens reflex camera with an FD lens mount introduced by Canon Inc. in 1979. The AV-1 is very similar to the 1976 AE-1 but offers aperture-priority autoexposure instead of the AE-1’s shutter-priority AE.
The camera is not capable of full manual exposure. Competing brands mostly offered aperture-priority cameras and some preferred them. The AV in the name referred to the type of automatic exposure; Av (Aperture Value) is a common abbreviation for aperture priority. Source: Wikipedia
“The security check almost caused me to miss my flight“
The airport security check was certainly not the most thrilling part of my trip. It’s recommended to take your film out of its packaging and store it in a transparent zip lock bag. This way you can easily grab it and show it when you ask for a hand inspection at the security check. This was no problem at Schiphol Amsterdam. Until my stopover. The customs officer at the stopover in Doha looked me up and down and found it extremely suspicious that I asked for a manual scan and checked the rolls extensively. The security check almost caused me to miss my flight.
Later at my destination I read a statement online issued by the TSA: “If you are traveling with the following types of films: Film with an ASA/ISO 800 or higher, film of any speed that is X-rayed more than five times, or large format film.’ So with the type of film I was traveling with (ISO 400) I shouldn’t have asked for a manual check after all.
Photography forces me to look at the beautiful things in life. Analog photography certainly makes me take my time. Combined with the fixed focal length of the 50mm lens, it ensured that I really started to determine my image and started moving.
Next to my analog camera, I brought my Sony full frame camera as well. Which worked overtime during my whole trip the images varied from portraits to landscapes. I had a whole serie in my head. This made me stand on poles and high up in little cabins several times for a high point of view.
“Photography forces me to look at the beautiful things in life“
I went to Thailand and Bali, so I wanted to shoot one roll of film for each country. The camera was in my bag the whole holiday and with the goal in mind to go back to the Netherlands with two full rolls.
Once home, I immediately sent my rolls to the ladies of Photo&Zo. To receive shocking news the next day. One of the two rolls turned out to be completely empty. All my analogue images of Thailand turned out not to be on the film. I still don’t know how this happened and how I couldn’t notice it. Later I saw a picture on my phone where it looks like I didn’t wind the end of the roll in the spool.
Fortunately I did take digital and mental photos and I am very happy with the analog Bali images.
Do you have an analogue travel photography story as well? Let us know!
Thanks again Aranka for your lovely blog. We hope to see more of your analog work in the near future!