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Archive 2013 · Alaska Air and big lenses
  
 
bobsofpa
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p.1 #1 · Alaska Air and big lenses


I am making my first trip to Alaska. My concern is which telephoto lenses to bring. I will be going on a small (52 passenger) ship cruise with a land tour to Denali National Park for 2 full days (3 nights) at one of the lodges deep in the park. I know I would get good use out of my Canon 500 mm, Mk I lens at Denali but I am not sure it would be much use on the boat. It is a tripod lens only for me, no hand holding. I will have a 100-400 mm lens for use on board the boat and at Denali. The big concern is transporting the 500 mm lens on Alaska Air on my flights from Anchorage to Ketchikan and then Sitka to Anchorage. Would it be worth the struggle or would the 100-400 suffice for Denali???

Has anyone tried shipping a 500 mm lens by UPS/FedEx.? Would a hotel receive it for you and then send it out when you left? I would be at the same hotel for one night both prior to and after the Denali portion of the trip?

I have the scenics covered with a 5DII camera; Canon 24-105, Canon 70-200 f/4 IS and a Sigma 17-24 lenses.

Travel by air for photography is new to me. I usually travel by motor home and bring everything, including the kitchen sink, with me.



Jan 18, 2013 at 01:13 AM
vsg28
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p.1 #2 · Alaska Air and big lenses


If cost is not a big factor, why not rent the 500mm and have it sent directly to your hotel in Alaska? You can send it back from there as well.


Jan 18, 2013 at 01:30 AM
bobsofpa
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p.1 #3 · Alaska Air and big lenses


Since I already own a 500mm lens I assume it would be less expensive to ship it myself by UPS/Fed Ex.


Jan 18, 2013 at 01:39 AM
Jim McCann
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p.1 #4 · Alaska Air and big lenses


Well, although I live in Alaska, I've not flown my 500 on Alaska Airlines. But I wouldn't hesitate to do it since the lens would be in a strong case and carried onboard with me. All the flights you mentioned are conducted with full-sized jet aircraft and your 500 should fit in the overhead bin.

Now, the 100-400 is a very versatile lens, and I have one with me on the truck or Jeep seet most of the time, but if I were in Denali Park I couldn't imagine being without the 500! But then it depends upon what you require in terms of wildlife images, I guess?

I often get by with the 100-400 attached to a 7D, but I love my 500!

You are going to love Alaska! Be prepared for rain. It rains in 9 different directions in Ketchikan, and Sitka cab be rather rainy as well.

Jim



Jan 18, 2013 at 01:53 AM
big country
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p.1 #5 · Alaska Air and big lenses


As long as you can get it into a carry on bag you should be fine.


Jan 18, 2013 at 03:46 AM
Ferrophot
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p.1 #6 · Alaska Air and big lenses


I've done a similar trip to what you are planning. That 500mm will be sorely missed if you do not take it. Monopod rather than tripod which might be a hassle to cart around? The wildlife doesn't hang around much in those parts, best to have it mounted ready. Good luck, mine was a great trip.


Jan 18, 2013 at 07:16 AM
Will Patterson
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p.1 #7 · Alaska Air and big lenses


Yea I'm in a similar situation. Flying down to Daytona next week for a race I'm shooting. I'm going to have:

1DX
7D
70-200 II
35L
16-28
24-105
300 2.8 IS II
1.4x
2x
2 580EX II's
Both battery chargers

I'm REALLY hoping it all fits in my bag, otherwise I guess I could check the smaller stuff like chargers in with my luggage. But yea, I never check anything. It'd have to be in a pelican case which is then put in a huge duffle bag with a bunch of clothes in it for me to even think about doing it.



Jan 18, 2013 at 04:42 PM
jcolwell
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p.1 #8 · Alaska Air and big lenses


The 500/4L IS will fit in a Think Tank Airport Commuter. It's an excellent bag!


Jan 18, 2013 at 04:47 PM
Jim McCann
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p.1 #9 · Alaska Air and big lenses


Your trip got me to thinking...I've spent more time in Sitka than I have Ketchikan, but you'll likely be able to shoot photos of bald eagles while sitting at a table outside the McDonald's restaurant in Sitka. They hang around the harbors surrounding both towns. With a 500 you should get some decent opportunities to shoot lots of eagles. In Denali Ntl Park you are restricted mostly to the road so having your 500 will often make the difference between getting a great shot and a also ran. Likely you'll be on a bus so give some thought to how you will support your lens on the window.

'Nuff for now.

Jim



Jan 18, 2013 at 05:33 PM
bobsofpa
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p.1 #10 · Alaska Air and big lenses


Ferrophot wrote:
I've done a similar trip to what you are planning. That 500mm will be sorely missed if you do not take it. Monopod rather than tripod which might be a hassle to cart around? The wildlife doesn't hang around much in those parts, best to have it mounted ready. Good luck, mine was a great trip.


In my heart I know the 100-400 would not be sufficient in Denali. It is just the trouble of tying to get the 500 mm on 4 flights.

As far as tripod vs monopod. When I am out shooting I always carry the lens and camera mounted on the tripod so time to setup is nil.



Jan 18, 2013 at 05:44 PM
 

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Scott Stoness
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p.1 #11 · Alaska Air and big lenses


I would not go without my big lens. And I would not check my big lens.

And there is a risk that one of your planes is a smaller plane. Some of the bags (even think tank?) may not fit in a smaller jet. I failed to check on the way back from Hawaii once and had to change to a crj-200 with United and the bag did not fit. So it cost me $400 to get off and rebook on a bigger plane. So now I travel based on the lowest common denominator and have found a bag to fit on a CRJ-200 for my 600, and I make sure I am booked in the back of the plane (so that I can put it in the bin closer to front that fills last if the back looks full).

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1168435/0#11154411





Jan 18, 2013 at 06:38 PM
Jim McCann
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p.1 #12 · Alaska Air and big lenses


You can check ahead of time to know what sort of jet you are flying on and to ask about the overhead bin size. Typically, Alaska flies the older 737s with smaller bins to bush villages, and the newer jets to larger towns and cities. But it always pays to check ahead of time. If I get a chance I might just go over to the airport with my 500 cases and see what I can find out. If I do I'll report it here.


Jan 18, 2013 at 07:04 PM
matt4626
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p.1 #13 · Alaska Air and big lenses


I've taken my 500mm on Alaska Airlines several time as a carry-on...no problems...fits in overhead storage...Kinesis case...FYI.


Jan 18, 2013 at 07:10 PM
bobsofpa
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p.1 #14 · Alaska Air and big lenses


matt4626 wrote:
I've taken my 500mm on Alaska Airlines several time as a carry-on...no problems...fits in overhead storage...Kinesis case...FYI.



Thank you. First hand experience is always the best.



Jan 18, 2013 at 07:12 PM
RonR2
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p.1 #15 · Alaska Air and big lenses


There's an easy answer to this problem, take me along and then each of us can have a carry on


Jan 18, 2013 at 07:39 PM
bobsofpa
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p.1 #16 · Alaska Air and big lenses


RonR2 wrote:
There's an easy answer to this problem, take me along and then each of us can have a carry on


Well there is still space left on the boat. I would only charge you about twice what it cost me.




Jan 18, 2013 at 08:00 PM
codetalker
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p.1 #17 · Alaska Air and big lenses


I used to live in Kotzebue and still have a good friend in Ketchikan. The previous comment regarding the rain prevalance in Ketchikan is wise - my friend states that it only rains twice a year in Ketchikan - once for 200 days, and once for 150 days.


Jan 19, 2013 at 02:23 AM
dalite
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p.1 #18 · Alaska Air and big lenses


Jim McCann wrote:
. It rains in 9 different directions in Ketchikan, and Sitka cab be rather rainy as well.




Jan 19, 2013 at 05:25 AM
Scott Sewell
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p.1 #19 · Alaska Air and big lenses


I guess I'm not following the logic behind shipping a lens to a hotel and hoping it gets there, versus just packing the lens in a Pelican case and checking it on your flights. That way it's with you the entire trip. I think I'd just as soon take my chances checking my gear on flight I'm actually on, rather than letting a shipping company like FedEx, etc. have at it.

I can tell you from experience, you can KNOW for a fact that a particular case/bag will fit in the overhead bin or under the seat but if one flight attendant thinks you need to check your bag you're checking your bag. I've had it happen to me and when you're not prepared (i.e. you don't have your gear in a hard case like a Pelican), it's a bit unnerving. For me, when I fly with gear I just put most everything in a Pelican and call it good. Never had a problem.



Jan 19, 2013 at 03:42 PM
Michael White
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p.1 #20 · Alaska Air and big lenses


Why not add a 1.4 to the zoom and save room you only lose 1stop using it which will make the 400 about the same as the 500.


Jan 19, 2013 at 04:36 PM
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