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How do Pros travel with gear?
  
 
plnelson
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · How do Pros travel with gear?


I'm not a pro but I figured some pros here might be able to offer advice on this.

I'm going to Antarctica shortly - flying from Miami to Buenos Aries, then to Ushuaia, then a converted NOAA research vessel across the Drake Passage to Antarctica.

The carry-on weight limit on Aerolinias Argentinas is 10 kg (22 pounds), and that's only because I'm flying Business class - in Economy it's 5 kg. Sources tell me that Aerolinias Argentinas tends to aggressively enforce weight limits. When I added up the gear I wanted to take it came to 25 pounds just for the gear (not counting cases or any other stuff to put the gear in. I'm bringing two bodies and big, fast, glass with a certain amount of redundancy in coverage incase of equipment problems. I assume a pro would also have redundancy because you can't allow an equipment problem to wreck a shoot.

How do pro's travel with gear? Do you put $20K-worth of gear in checked luggage and risk its loss ruining a shoot?

Thanks in advance.




Feb 19, 2017 at 01:10 AM
Norm Shapiro
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · How do Pros travel with gear?


Why not FedEx your gear to Argentina? With proper cases your gear should arrive safely. Make sure you check custom regulations for Argentina, you might need a freight agent to get it through customs.


Feb 20, 2017 at 03:39 AM
plnelson
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · How do Pros travel with gear?


Why not FedEx your gear to Argentina? With proper cases your gear should arrive safely. Make sure you check custom regulations for Argentina, you might need a freight agent to get it through customs.


I suppose that's a possibility - I don't know if FedEx goes to Ushuaia - How does FedEx's reliability compare to checked luggage? In preparation for this trip Fedex was supposed to overnight some travel documents to me at my house in a suburb of Boston. Of their first attempt, a week ago, Friday, they delivered it to some other house in another town and luckily the people at that house called and reported it. But by that time FedEx had already notified the sender that it had been delivered properly. So when I talked to FedEx that Friday night they promised it would be delivered Monday. It was - but to ANOTHER wrong house, this time in my neighborhood! It took them three tries to get it right and by the time I had their "overnight" package it was four days overdue.

But really the gist of my question is not what I could or might do, but what do pro's actually DO? And by "pro" I mean someone shooting on assignment where the client and others involved in the shoot will be very put out if the shoot doesn't happen. Is hiring a shipping company like FedEx the the most common solution to carry-on weight limits? I have professional musician friends who buy a seat for their instrument when they fly to gigs.



Feb 20, 2017 at 05:57 AM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · How do Pros travel with gear?


I've certainly Fedex'd gear from L.A. to Montana to shoot, but using Fedex to ship internationally is going to get pretty pricy really fast - and you gotta ship it back too. Most of the time there's no issue on US flights to carry a very full LowePro backpack, but there have been times where I just had to check Pelican cases and hope for the best. Never lost anything but I know it happens. Maybe you can have a smaller carryon with some essential gear and check the rest.


Feb 20, 2017 at 08:36 AM
chez
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · How do Pros travel with gear?


I'm not a pro but I carryon the equipment I could not shoot without and the rest goes into a Pelican case and checked in. I have insurance to cover any loss or damage.

I guess Fedex is an option, but very much a hassle as well...and it is not sure fire you'll get your gear when you need it.



Feb 20, 2017 at 02:39 PM
plnelson
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · How do Pros travel with gear?


@ Preter Figen:
but there have been times where I just had to check Pelican cases and hope for the best. Never lost anything but I know it happens. Maybe you can have a smaller carryon with some essential gear and check the rest.

I can't tell from your answer whether this was just a personal trip or you were shooting on assignment and by putting it in the checked luggage you were risking the client's shoot. I'd really like to hear from some actual pro's, who have experience traveling on assignment to remote places what they do IN PRACTICE.

@Chez:

I'm not a pro but I carryon the equipment I could not shoot without and the rest goes into a Pelican case and checked in. I have insurance to cover any loss or damage.

I'm not sure what you mean by "equipment I could not shoot without". Pretty much everything is stuff I'll need to shoot with. I am bringing a backup body, so I suppose that's optional. But Antarctica has both wide angle and telephoto subjects so I have several lenses. But all the flights into Ushuaia are economy-class, which imposes a 5 kg weight limit. I have a lens that weights almost that much all by itself.

I'm loaded with insurance but I don't see how that helps. I'm not so much worried about the financial loss as the fact that if I had to book another trip to Antarctica it would have to be a year later because it's already turning into fall there. The goal is not so much to avoid financial loss as to minimize the chance of loss in the first place.

I just picked this forum because it's call "Pro Digital Corner" but I don't really know if this is the best place to ask questions like this. If not, could someone suggest an alternative? Thanks in advance.




Feb 20, 2017 at 10:38 PM
johnvanr
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · How do Pros travel with gear?


Ask at the Luminous Landscape. They do workshops in Antarctica and should know.


Feb 20, 2017 at 11:42 PM
1swt2gs
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · How do Pros travel with gear?


If it really is a concern, just pay the fee to carry on (over weight).


Feb 20, 2017 at 11:51 PM
chez
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · How do Pros travel with gear?


1swt2gs wrote:
If it really is a concern, just pay the fee to carry on (over weight).


Is there that option?



Feb 21, 2017 at 01:16 AM
chez
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · How do Pros travel with gear?


plnelson wrote:
@Chez@:

I'm not a pro but I carryon the equipment I could not shoot without and the rest goes into a Pelican case and checked in. I have insurance to cover any loss or damage.

I'm not sure what you mean by "equipment I could not shoot without". Pretty much everything is stuff I'll need to shoot with. I am bringing a backup body, so I suppose that's optional. But Antarctica has both wide angle and telephoto subjects so I have several lenses. But all the flights into Ushuaia are economy-class, which imposes a 5 kg weight limit. I have a lens
...Show more

I'm just telling you my experience and what I do. I always carry on gear with me so if all hell breaks loose, I'll still have a camera to take photos. If you are restricted...YOU need to make the choice of what gear you cannot live without, and carry that on and check in the rest in a case that will protect the equipment from tumbles.

You say everything you take is stuff you need to shoot with...well same with me, but if it comes to crunch time, make a decision and prioritize. It's hard...but if that's your choice just do it.

By the way, I've checked in my equipment at least 10 times and not once have I had an issue. Sure there is theft from luggage...but there is theft from cars and hotels and right from you on the street. Just live with it and enjoy!!!



Feb 21, 2017 at 01:22 AM
 

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chez
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · How do Pros travel with gear?


johnvanr wrote:
Ask at the Luminous Landscape. They do workshops in Antarctica and should know.


I'm going to Tanzania next year and have inquired about taking a lot of equipment...especially on Safari. The local airlines have extreme restriction on carryon...the Safari tour will drive your gear to location and have it available for you when you land.

Of course...this all costs $$$$$



Feb 21, 2017 at 01:23 AM
nolaguy
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · How do Pros travel with gear?


plnelson wrote:
@ Preter Figen:
but there have been times where I just had to check Pelican cases and hope for the best. Never lost anything but I know it happens. Maybe you can have a smaller carryon with some essential gear and check the rest.

I can't tell from your answer whether this was just a personal trip or you were shooting on assignment and by putting it in the checked luggage you were risking the client's shoot. I'd really like to hear from some actual pro's, who have experience traveling on assignment to remote places what they do IN PRACTICE.


OP Peter, that was hilarious - particularly with the all caps.

Mr Figen is probably among the top ten if not top five pros on FM. The gentleman is the seminal definition of a working professional photographer and editor. And he's a very, very cool, laid back guy - which means he'll no doubt chuckle at this, ignore your all caps demand and continue to offer you his best. He's a terrific guy.

Chuck




Feb 21, 2017 at 02:56 AM
glort
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · How do Pros travel with gear?



I would Suggest the amount of " actual Pros" whom have traveled to Antarctica is going to be very limited and much of any experience traveling elsewhere is going to be irrelevant.

I'd say you'd be a lot better going with suggestions that might be workable and helpful for you rather than narrowing the feedback down to those that have actually done what you want.



Feb 21, 2017 at 04:27 AM
Peter Figen
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · How do Pros travel with gear?


Oh, all those trips were definitely paid trips for major clients. The problem is that, even though you want to be able to carry everything on board, sometimes it's just not possible. It helps when traveling with multiple assistants where we can split the load, but on small planes they're going to make you gate check anyway, a slightly better option than checking at the front desk. Consider film makers. There crap is bulky and heavy and everything gets checked except maybe a camera. There are no perfect solutions other than taking a boat the entire way.

I've never had any checked gear disappear, but we did have a baggage handler in DC knock a Tenba strobe case off a three and a half foot platform to the floor and broke a modeling lamp on a strobe head inside.

Does shit happen. Of course. But mostly it doesn't. You do what you have to do and hope for the best. Like I said before, if I was in your position, I'd pack the most important gear in something that will go in the cabin with you and at least you've hedged your bets somewhat. Or you can stay home and dream about the trip.

Chuck, you are too funny. One of these year we will get together, and hopefully in LA., not L.A. Ha!



Feb 21, 2017 at 10:56 AM
plnelson
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · How do Pros travel with gear?




1swt2gs wrote:
If it really is a concern, just pay the fee to carry on (over weight).

There are fees for overweight checked luggage - I've never heard of a fee for overweight carry-on



Feb 21, 2017 at 12:27 PM
plnelson
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · How do Pros travel with gear?




glort wrote:
I would Suggest the amount of " actual Pros" whom have traveled to Antarctica is going to be very limited and much of any experience traveling elsewhere is going to be irrelevant.

I'd say you'd be a lot better going with suggestions that might be workable and helpful for you rather than narrowing the feedback down to those that have actually done what you want.


There are lots of remote locations. I'm currently planning trips to Djibouti and to a Greenland. I'm looking for real-world feedback about how people get around this problem.



Feb 21, 2017 at 12:31 PM
plnelson
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · How do Pros travel with gear?




chez wrote:
I'm going to Tanzania next year and have inquired about taking a lot of equipment...especially on Safari. The local airlines have extreme restriction on carryon...the Safari tour will drive your gear to location and have it available for you when you land.

Of course...this all costs $$$$$

How do you get the gear to the Safari company? This Antarctica trip is costing me $23K so I'm not going to sweat a few $K to be sure my gear arrives with me.



Feb 21, 2017 at 12:35 PM
chez
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · How do Pros travel with gear?


plnelson wrote:
How do you get the gear to the Safari company? This Antarctica trip is costing me $23K so I'm not going to sweat a few $K to be sure my gear arrives with me.


The Safari company meets the international flight, picks up your checked luggage and drives it to your remote location as you fly to it on a small regional plane.



Feb 21, 2017 at 01:38 PM
Michael White
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · How do Pros travel with gear?


I think it was chase jarvis that did several packing videos a few years back. He's a pro commercial photog that had a blog he dedicated several episodes to packing and shipping gear.


Feb 21, 2017 at 09:06 PM
Michael White
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · How do Pros travel with gear?


I think it was chase jarvis that did several packing videos a few years back. He's a pro commercial photog that had a blog he dedicated several episodes to packing and shipping gear.


Feb 21, 2017 at 09:06 PM
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