Boise trip: The photo report

Camel’s Back Park, Boise. 16 September 2021. Olympus XA2/Kodak ProImage 100

The last time I flew was in November of 2019, a visit back to New Haven. Not only was this trip pre-COVID, but it was pre-film (or post-pre-film?) I of course wanted to bring a film camera or two to document my Boise, Idaho trip from September 15-17. I decided that I’d bring two old-faithfuls: the Olympus 35 RD for black-and-white, the Olympus XA2 for color. But how was I going to travel with film? I heard that the modern X-ray machines (for carry-on, at least)1 shouldn’t damage film, but I didn’t want to take any risks. Blue Moon advised me that I should ask the TSA to “hand-check” my film, and that’s what I did. It went off without a hitch. (Though my Leathermen pocket tool, designed to be “TSA approved” because there’s no knife, still baffles the TSA agents.)

But I seem to be having a streak of bad luck with film photography and travel. My last two trips, the Oregon Coast Tour and the Central Oregon excursion, involved using slide film past its prime (though supposedly cold-stored) and the results I got were pretty meh. This time? Even worse. I didn’t have bad luck with film, it was the cameras themselves.

On our first day in Boise beer was spilled on the 35 RD, and despite my best efforts, it did get inside. The next day the film advance lever was no longer engaging. It’s now back at Advance Camera to get a once-over. Hopefully another CLA will take care of any issues, as I do like the Olympus 35 RD a lot and want to keep using it.

After only shooting a dozen black and white images (still not developed yet), I put aside the 35 RD and used the Olympus XA2 exclusively for the rest of the trip. The XA2 had a much more minor issue: Somehow the film door opened in my bag. I guess I didn’t shut it tight. Anyways, a little bit of light did leak in, but only affected three shots.

Despite it all, I did get a couple rolls of color successfully processed. You can see them via the dynamic flickr album below, or click here. And since bad news happens in threes, I hope it’s clear sailing for my travels with film photography from here on out!

Idaho State Capitol, Boise. 16 Sept 2021

1 The X-ray machines for checked baggage are much stronger, and it is advised to not check film.

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