I’m in not-so-sunny Seattle teaching a workshop at the wonderful Art Wolfe workshops (if you don’t know about these new workshops take a look at http://www.artwolfe.com/workshops/index.html
So I am in the teaching mode. Last night I received this question:
“It looks like my current job is going to take me back to Japan (I love Japan) and probably Denmark or Germany. I can’t imagine traveling without the camera. So, I was wondering how you handled carrying your equipment on the plane. What do you trust to check-on and what do you not? The camera and lenses don’t leave my side, but what about all of the peripherals? I’m not very trusting when it comes to airport baggage handlers.”
For the main international flights I put my LowePro Orion AW bag inside a regulation size Eagle Creek Hovercraft Upright 22″ roller carry-on that also holds my hard drives, extra camera body, camera charger, and such. I take all my little accessories out of my camera bag and put them in a separate pouch so it fits and it is also simplier if they ask to look inside my camera bag. I carry the a Lowepro Tropolis 1250 as my “briefcase ” with my computer, wallet, and things I need on the flight (contact solution, book, magazines, food, back and neck pillows, sleeping pills, etc.).
I want to make sure that if my luggage is delayed or (horrors!) lost that I can step off the plane and begin photographing. So don’t forget to hand carry your camera charger!
For my extra flash, filters, camera and battery chargers, extra cords, sensor cleaning stuff, and a myraid of other accessories (see my website for the entire list)– I pack them inside a medium-sized Pelican 1520 case (with all the inserts removed) and put it inside an Eagle Creek Hovercraft Upright 25″ or a duffel padded by all my clothes and such. (Note: I sometimes use smaller Pelican cases; it depends on the trip. However the 1520 is the one I use the most often.) There is no way I can hand-carry all my gear these days, and this is a workable solution for me. I put a nice note inside saying “TSA. Fragile Photo Gear. Please close carefully and completely”. I assume they will look inside, which they do 50% of the time. I use TSA locks on my checked luggage.
Occasionally I will check this hard case as luggage for short flights or it can be hand carried onto a plane.
I also pack my tripod in my luggage (I hand hold 95% of my shots).