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How do Pros travel with gear?
  
 
stevesanacore
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p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · How do Pros travel with gear?


plnelson wrote:
But since you got on the plane with an overloaded pack and no plan "B" you were putting your trip, and your client's assignment, at risk. In my case I don't have a client but I posted to this (Pro) forum because I wanted to take it with the same seriousness as if I did and I assume a pro wouldn't do that. I don't want the success of my trip to hinge on whether the gate agent had a fight with their spouse that morning. Unfortunately, even as "professionals" we don't get any special treatment most of the time
...Show more

The only thing we can do as "professionals" is arrive early to solve any problems that may have come up. If a piece of gear doesn't make it, we have a new one shipped in. I always plan on getting to a location at least one or two days before we have to start working. There is always a risk of checked luggage not showing up on time.



Mar 29, 2017 at 02:28 PM
jlafferty
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p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · How do Pros travel with gear?


I just got to test this out. I shoot as a pro but am attending a wedding and shooting some personal work, coming from NYC to LA. Brought everything I'd need to shoot a pro gig to see what it would snag on or set off. Two bodies, a few lenses, 2x Streaklights, 2x power packs, one spare Streaklight battery, 4x YN622 transmitters all in a Thinktank rollercase for carry on; and a 44" stand bag with stands and mods, that I had checked. I had to go through two pat downs and a handful of things set off their alarms: the Streaklight batteries, and funny enough a 50 1.8 lens and a Nikon battery charger. Nothing too crazy. As others have said the two keys are: 1) redundancy, and 2) having your core kit with you as carry on. I have everything I need to complete a gig between the rollercase and a backpack which has my laptop/tether kit. I got COIs in advance at the local rental houses just in case the stands and mods didn't make it.

Edited on Mar 29, 2017 at 08:24 PM · View previous versions



Mar 29, 2017 at 05:39 PM
WildImages
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p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · How do Pros travel with gear?


After several trips to the white continent, I recommend not taking super long glass. A 300 f2.8, Canon in my case, with telextenders, a 100-400, 24-105 and two bodies is what I would consider the necessary range of equipment. I would weigh that and then see how do I have to carry it to stay within the 22 pound limit. You can get this gear in a pretty light pack. However this also tells you what you now need to check or, if you insist on shipping, what you must ship.

If you do select shipping, I reommend only DHL. They seem to be quite efficient in getting your gear from point A to remote point B. Just remember, what goes down probably is wanted back.

Anyhow, you can pack a better backpack and lens cases in your checked luggage. Antarctica is not hard on equipment nor is it a strenuous trip. You do need to take a waterproof cover for your backpack when in zodiacs as well as rain covers for your equipment. You will get snowed on so protection from moisture is advised.

This relays my recommendations based on my experience. Others make valid suggestions as well. I hope this helps.

I think your 100-400 or 80-400 or 70-200 plus 1.4X will get the most use. Seldom is a longer focal length needed.

Above all, enjoy your trip and good luck!



Mar 29, 2017 at 06:25 PM
Copypaste
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p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · How do Pros travel with gear?


stevesanacore wrote:
The only thing we can do as "professionals" is arrive early to solve any problems that may have come up. If a piece of gear doesn't make it, we have a new one shipped in. I always plan on getting to a location at least one or two days before we have to start working. There is always a risk of checked luggage not showing up on time.


Yeap, exactly. Any I mean, worst case: You gotta check some of the gear. Still no problem if some of it would get damaged/stolen/not arrive, I can still do the job. I would still be able to bring both cameras, batteries, cards and the lenses I will need and be within the weight limits. As a professional you often have to adapt. Very often I bring a lot of gear I do not end up using. A lot of my gear is overlapping - you know, "just in case". So I can't bring the 70-200mm and the 16-35mm in addition to the 35mm and the 85mm? No problem, I can do a great job anyway. To be honest, I am so confident in what I do that I can make it work almost no matter what. I always have 2-3 different ideas/plans, often more. I always consider what is my *must have*-setup - the rest is often backup or "this might be cool as well".



Mar 30, 2017 at 11:37 AM
agrumpyoldsod
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p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · How do Pros travel with gear?


I used to carry on all my gear - but this changes when I started to carry 400+600+2 teles and 3 bodies +++ - I moved to just checking-in the long teles ANd now it all goes in the hold.

You should look at Peli Air Cases or straight forward peli cases - and check the bags - AND buy lost of insurance.

I took 1 body and a lens, with me and my laptop on the flight; but now in TheRump era I believe that I would have to check-in most of what I used to carry-on -- you need to check with your carrier.

I also used hardshell suitcases with lots of padding - lighter than PeliCase - but not as strong.

Your problems don't stop at the flight -- how will your gear be kept dry and damage free on the ship and on land?



May 08, 2017 at 11:50 AM
agrumpyoldsod
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p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · 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 $$$$$


I went to the Masai Mara in March and flew from Nairobi to the National Reserve -- I bought 1 seat and 3 freight/child seats to ensure that me and my 65kg of gear/luggage would not be a problem. Now I'm guessing that I bought 1 or 2 too many seats -- but I had no issues.

I think the main carrier is Safari Airlink in Tanzania (very similar to and same aircraft as Safarilink in Kenya) - their policy is 15kg of luggage full stop (that means including hand luggage) - while you can pay for excess baggage, there is no guarantee it will get onto the plane - you can get past this buy buying extra seats on your flight - cost me $350 return per seat.

Speak to your agent about freight/child seats.






May 08, 2017 at 11:59 AM
 

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agrumpyoldsod
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p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · How do Pros travel with gear?


plnelson wrote:
Funny you should mention this. I managed to get my gear under the weight limit by eliminating redundancies and then had a lens failure in Ushuaia and had to buy a lens there - luckily they had a suitable Nikkor at highway-robbery prices but it illustrated the problem perfectly.

My Antarctica trip was a huge photographic success, and now I want to do my 7th continent - Africa - with a big, no-compromise, photo-safari. For a once in a lifetime trip I won't sweat the "$$$$$" but how do I arrange it? How do I tell which photo-safari operators are used
...Show more


In Africa Internal Flights - not international - are the challenge. When I checked in In London 3 hours+ before the departure time there was me with my 2 cases of gear and a video crew with 20+ - all handled easy and without hassle by the team.

For internal flights in Kenya and Tanzania the aircraft are very small and have underslung luggage pods - you should book additional freight/child seats to ensure your gear gets on board. Mine did and the pilots would have stowed the cases in the cabin if they could not put them in the luggage bin.The guys I use for my vehicles in Kenya (SUNWORLD) and Tanzania have trucks running every day from Nairobi and Kilamanjaro/Arusha to the parks who will carry almost anything - so do the main camps/lodges. OR you can just drive (be driven) - its 8 hours from Nairobi to the ENtim Camp in the Masai Mara.

Flights from Joberg to Namibia and Botswana are in larger aircraft and checking your luggage (lots of it) is not a problem

Now the problem - internal flight in South Africa -- I use Wild4 PhotoSafari out of South Africa for 2 of my most recent trips and am with them again in July. They are absolutely fantastic, but have absolutely no issues -- until I decided to go on a shoot with internal flights in South Africa --- South African Airlines don't operate these flights - they are run by 2 local airlines (SA Express and SA Link) who simply don't get it. The baggage allowance is low, there are only economy seats and you cannot make any arrangements in advance - you have to assume that you will be able to get your gear on the flight - with or without excess baggage. The good news is that Stu and his team, who take these flights almost every week - simply carry on their camera bags - So I am going to put my gura gear barfli into a peli case from London to Joberg, either check in the peli-case on the internal flight OR leave the Peli case in left luggage and carry on my gear. I will not be able to take both my 400 and 600mm or 3 bodies - which is my preference - so I am going to have to make hard choices before I leave.






May 08, 2017 at 12:22 PM
stevesanacore
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p.3 #8 · p.3 #8 · How do Pros travel with gear?


With the very restricted trend in airline travel, it looks like a good time to downsize the gear to make life easier or even possible in some remote locations. Sony, Fuji and even M4/3 may have to be an option for the future. Of course if it's a commercial shoot for advertising, chartering flights would be a good solution in remote areas. I've done that in the Bahamas where no major airlines fly with excellent luxurious results. The other opportunity I see is for rental houses in prime tourist spots for pro's may become a viable business for local entrepreneurs :-)


May 08, 2017 at 02:23 PM
elkhornsun
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p.3 #9 · p.3 #9 · How do Pros travel with gear?


I chose my airline based on the amount of gear I can take on board. I also have only been actually weighed on one occasion for a flight from Guam to Palau in the last 25 years. I make an effort to have my gear look light. I use a roller cart or backpack with a roller cart for my main bag and I have "personal" item on my back or off a shoulder that is going in front of me and under the seat (this is where the exit row is important even if it costs extra).

I long ago stopped using Pelican cases as they were too heavy. My backpacks of choice are the ones from Gura Gear as they are from 2 to 4 pounds lighter than others and this means I can put in 2 to 4 lbs. more gear.

My lens choices are also based on weight limitations and so the 600mm f/4 stays at home and in some cases the 500mm f/4 is not an option. For your trip a wide range zoom like a 24-105mm and 100-400mm or equivalent is what I would want along with two bodies. Should not be a need for flash or a tripod so you can save weight by leaving them at home.

Usually on such trips people are wading to shore from inflatable boats so a dry sack and what will fit inside becomes the gating factor on what to take.

I ONLY check what I do not need at my destination. When one can no longer really lock the checked luggage anything inside has a good chance of being stolen or damaged or lost in transit. Since the insane response by our government after 9-11 one has to radically change how to best travel with photo gear.

A lot of destinations I have scratched off my own bucket list as there is no way to get their by commercial plane with camera gear. And even flying to Hawaii with underwater photo gear was such a major PITA with American Airlines and their stupid regulations that my last trip was my last trip. You will find that in the pecking order the people with golf bags get a free pass and so to some areas do those with ski or surfing or fishing gear. Photographers are after carry-on pets in the hierarchy so we have to be creative and sometimes devious.

On the devious part I will wear a jacket with large pockets into which I can stuff things. With the Domke photographer's jacket I have boarded with three lenses and a speedlight in the pockets along with snacks. Shooting jackets with their large pockets for shotgun shells also work for this approach. I figure that I weigh 20 kilos less than many of the passengers and so take advantage of the jacket. Once on the plane the jacket can be stuffed in nooks and crannies where a regular bag never would fit.



May 12, 2017 at 12:12 AM
mikethevilla
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p.3 #10 · p.3 #10 · How do Pros travel with gear?


I've worked as a photographer in over 40 countries, and rarely run into problems traveling (except for that time I was put into a holding cell in Mumbai airport for 7 hours and made the terrorist watch list, but that's another story)...

The single most helpful thing you can do when traveling with gear is making it LOOK light. Only the strictest of strict airlines will weigh EVERY carry on bag. The rest will usually only weigh a bag if it looks heavy (hint - rolling bags always look heavy). A normal-sized backpack and/or shoulder bag will draw far less attention than a rolling suitcase. Bonus points if they don't look like camera bags (I use an F-Stop backpack and ONA shoulder bag). It also means that you always act like their light - pick it up with one hand and minimal effort, don't exude any strenuous looks when moving them, don't shift your weight. Literally "think" light.

If I'm traveling on an airline that I know will be very strict, I'll check any long glass (this includes my 70-200), lighting, stands, tripods, and non-essentials/non-breakables. I haven't had any issues with this, but I always make sure that in the event that my checked bags were lost, I'd still be able to perform my tasks appropriately.

From there, if I'm still over weight or being hassled by the airline, I'll politely let them know that it's very fragile and expensive camera equipment that can't be checked. Another great part about the F-Stop bags is that the camera "insert" can be pulled out separately from the backpack. So if I still need to lose more weight, I can check the backpack and keep the insert on me.

From there, if I'm STILL being hassled, as a last resort I pull out a form that and ask the attendant (or whoever is trying to check my bag) to sign it. It states that they are removing my gear from me, and they will personally be held responsible for any damage or loss that comes from checking $XXXX amount of camera equipment. Of course, I doubt this document would hold up in any court, but it's scared enough airline workers to where I've never had to check anything that I didn't want to.

Safe travels!



May 12, 2017 at 12:33 AM
Michael White
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p.3 #11 · p.3 #11 · How do Pros travel with gear?


I use both nalpak and skb golf hard golf cases for checked items you need to proving your own padding but cases and bags do a great job. Then I have a travel vest similar to a photographers vast that is think heavy duty fabric that can hold a lot of excess weight. A parka would be too much for me I don't even use a liner in a military field jacket where I go.


May 12, 2017 at 03:03 AM
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