The flying photographer

ThinkTank Airport Security. retractable stroller handle so you don't get stuck carrying through the airport.

ThinkTank Airport Security. retractable stroller handle so you don't get stuck carrying through the airport.

ThinkTank Airport Security. plenty of space to fit my 200mm 1.8, two bodies, 4 other lenses, two flashes and tons of batteries and accessories and laptop.

ThinkTank Airport Security. plenty of space to fit my 200mm 1.8, two bodies, 4 other lenses, two flashes and tons of batteries and accessories and laptop.

usually one body and 3 or 4 lenses and a flash. Also has room for a 15inch macbook

usually one body and 3 or 4 lenses and a flash. Also has room for a 15inch macbook

smaller things like cables and usb devices in here

smaller things like cables and usb devices in here

This keeps my macbooks cables organized in my bag and easy to get to.

This keeps my macbooks cables organized in my bag and easy to get to.

     No this is not a blog about drones even though I may have link-bated you. This could either be about drones or a magical flying photographer or X-Men based sort of mutant who can take photos while flying. I just wanted to write a little bit about my experience traveling as a photographer.

     So traveling as a photographer can be a bit difficult. I'm not traveling with a few thousand dollars worth of gear, usually it's tens of thousands of dollars worth of gear; hope you liked that humble brag. This means that i'm not checking my gear, we've all seen those videos of luggage handlers tossing and pitching suitcases into and out of planes. This is my exact nightmare, having someone toss a case or bag filled with two bodies and several lenses with accessories into a mishmash of storage space that is being optimized for space which means fitting and squishing into place when applicable.  

     When you travel somewhere as a photographer you really don't want to leave that one tool home that you realize later you needed. So this means we will often bring everything and the kitchen sink. I regularly will travel with around eight lenses, a few flashes and two bodies as well as batteries and everything else. 

     The next nightmare is for a TSA employee somewhere along the lines to inspect my gear and pull out the smallest maybe unnoticeable item somewhere along the lines. Even when I don't have anything important in my checked bags I regularly get luggage back with either one or two locks missing or telltale signs of rummaging. How easy would it be for any of them to simply place an object into their pocketbook or vest pocket. I may arrive at my location and notice I don't have an adapter or lens and now I'm questioning if I even packed it or maybe it fell out when I was retrieving my car charger for my phone at the airport. It may be a week or two before I can verify a stolen item and the amount of baggage handlers could very well mean than I cannot narrow down a point where it was taken.

     So how I treat my equipment is having it with me on a carry on bag. This is the stuff that cannot be stolen, it's with me; the guard. On most flights you are allowed a carry on, a backpack and a small item. The carry on size is different between international and continental USA. I do have both sizes of carry on for my camera equipment. I have bags from ThinkTANK and highly suggest them.  I have the ThinkTANK commuter, airport security v2, airport international v3 and the retrospective 30 and 10 shoulder bags. One of the neat things as well is the similar bag shapes which mean they look awesome when they are all put away. They are boxy, padded and have all the right features that you need. Order on Amazon and check one out or take a trip to B&H in NYC and get hands on with it. I've had a bag collection for many years and this past year i've actually started to thin out my stash because I fell in love.

     

Screenshot from TSA website. In the past three years I have had four locks DISAPPEAR and have never received an inspection notice. 

Screenshot from TSA website. In the past three years I have had four locks DISAPPEAR and have never received an inspection notice. 

So when traveling with your gear, keep it with you. If you get the ThinkTANK bags they mostly all include a cable that is attached to the bag that you simply have to loop to any pole, seat or other stationary objects to secure as well as zippers than can be locked into a stationary lock. 

ThinkTank Airport commuter. solid bag that fits enough gear for a wedding

ThinkTank Airport commuter. solid bag that fits enough gear for a wedding

Thinktank Airport commuter. great for a carry on and durable enough for hiking.  

Thinktank Airport commuter. great for a carry on and durable enough for hiking.

 

Somewhat disposable TSA locks (They like to throw them away)

Somewhat disposable TSA locks (They like to throw them away)

Keep alot of my chargers in here when i travel

Keep alot of my chargers in here when i travel