Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2001/01/28

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Subject: Re: [Leica] film suggestion/Sahara
Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2001 13:14:23 EST

 We crossed over to Tangiers from Spain, followed the coast to Tunis and went 
straight down, El Golea, In Shalah, Tam to Agadez and then continued to 
Oaugoudogo, Niger, Bamako. The stretch from Tam to Agadez was great - 4 days 
of driving without seeing a single vehicle or person! Sold the Land Rover in 
Bamako to their equivalent of "Ministry Of Tourism" as the road to Dakar had 
mysteriously disappeared at the time. Flew to Paris and then on to New York, 
bought a pickup truck/camper and spent 6 month touring US/Canada and then on 
to Australia were we switched to a Honda motorcycle (crossed from Brisbane to 
Perth on that). Our plan was to ship the bike to Singapore and go overland 
home to Scandinavia, but the war between India/Pakistan/Bangladesh stopped 
that. Got back to Sweden with $0.85 in the pocket after 18 month of travel. 
Tuulikki, my wife, always packed things like portwine or red-wine for 
emergency situations. Have you ever tried to lash two bottles of good port to 
a motorcycle?
 Most of the film was Ektachrome and some Kodakchrome. The Ektachrome has 
faded miserably over the years. The Kodachrome has held up well. The heat 
seems to affect the Kodachrome the least, the fact that it is a multilayered 
black/white emulsion seems to keep it more stable. The older (1960s) 
Ekatchrome was extremely sensitive  to heat and would exhibit heat damage 
quickly. I also had about 40 rolls damaged by mis-processing in Perth - the 
lab pushed the process at least two stops!  
 Modern films should fare much better in that aspect. Biggest problem was and 
probably still is, dust and grit! The Laterite soil of Western Africa would 
slowly work it's way into helicoils and shutters. I had a 105/2,5 Nikkor that 
had a built in red filter - you just shook the lens and like a "snowglobe" 
the red dust would swirl around for a couple of seconds, filtering the light 
coming through the lens. Australia has it fair share of this dust tooI
 Funny though, once you have done a couple of trips like that, you actually 
get used to eat sandwiches heavily laced with sand and drink coffee or wine, 
with a slight addition of dust and grit. Probably gives a new meaning to 
"roughage" too.
Tom A