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  1. #1
    James Bleifus's Avatar
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    Flying with Large Format

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm going to Vegas next month (or really, Lake Mead near Vegas) and will be flying for the first time with my LF gear. Usually I travel very light with only carry-on luggage, so this will be a new experience for me. I'll be carrying a Super-Trekker II full of equipment and a Ries tripod, which I'm expecting to have to check. Does anyone have suggestions about how to avoid having my equipment damaged, or, for that matter, is that even a real concern? Thanks!

    Cheers,

    James

  2. #2
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    What size do you shoot, I carry on my 4 x 5 gear all the time in a pelican 1500 case, which is the right size to fit under the seat or the overhead, my tripod is always checked in a heavy cardboard mailing tube with no problems, I have also flown with my 8x10 gear, the case I use for it, I purchased at home depot for $20.00, nice hard case with padding.

    Dave Parker
    Satin Snow(TM) Ground Glass

  3. #3
    Sjixxxy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satinsnow
    my tripod is always checked in a heavy cardboard mailing tube with no problems
    I'll have to remember that. Lats time I flew with my tripod I just dissaembled it and threw it in my checked suitcase. Result, the button I need to push to release the QRPlate broke off.
    Gear: Camera, Brain, Light.
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  4. #4
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Hi Kip,

    I picked the heavy cardbord tube up at Office Depot, it has worked out great, I used to take mine apart as well and it always seemed like something happened, since I have used the tube I have not had a problem, I take the head off put it in checked baggage and then the tripod in the tube with foam at each end.....works out great.

    Dave Parker
    Satin Snow(TM) Ground Glass

  5. #5
    Aggie's Avatar
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    even better, when I flew to Washington state, I had these boxes left from flowers.com Hubby had sent me flowers in them. Well they fit my tripod perfectly, and I added a little wadded newspaper. I got to the airport, and after it was inspected and ready to be put on the conveyor belt, I took out my handy dandy roll of duct tape, taped the box around the middle. Both direction i went smoothly, The box has stickers now, but not even a dent. It was that nice and heavy to protect the flowers. So morale, send your significant other some roses, and keep the box. You win two ways.

    The super trekker will not fit as carry on. I would take all my clothes and such and stuff in it. Then take a small carryon suitcase, wrap socks around things or underwear. this would protect the things, and you can carry your camera and such on the airplane.

    Vegas is the most film unfriendly place I have encountered in all of my travels. Make sure you have a current copy of the law that allows you the right to have your film hand inspected. They will still refuse to do it. This they did long before 9/11. If you are there early enough, you can then step out of line, and ask for the airport supervisor. When you present the problem to them, (this post 9/11) you will be allowed to have your film hand inspected.
    Non Digital Diva

  6. #6
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Other than 35mm, I don't carry film on flights anylonger, I just ship to my location with delivery guarantee 5 days before I leave and then ship back on return, I always take it to the post office open and then pack there after they look at it, so it does not have to be x-rayed, I got really tired of fighting with the inspectors, even when I had the rules in print with me, and I agree Vegas is the worst airport I have been in, the people there are jerks and always have been.

    Dave Parker
    Satin Snow(TM) Ground Glass

  7. #7
    mikewhi's Avatar
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    1) I aways carry on my LF camera and lenses and anything really valuable. I have a Ries cloth bag lines with sheeps wool for my tripod. I check it as it's really big and even airport guys would have a hard time losing it.

    2) I always process on location, so I take basic equipment and chemicals in checked baggage. If it's a really short trip, I'll FedEx it home. FedEx insists that if it's marked 'film' that it won't get x-rayed. Even so, I have never had a problem with film fogging (slow speed b&W anyway) because of x-ray - has anyone?

    Basically, with a $3500 8x10, yep I'm keeping it in my sight as well as the lenses, meter, etc.

    Also, I load film on location. I always seem to be able to darken a room or bathroom and load at night. No changing bags\tents.

    -Mike

  8. #8

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    I have flown to PNG and Cyprus (twice) from Sydney (Australia) with LF gear.

    5x4 on the 1st trip to Cyprus, 8x10 from then on.

    I get my:
    Kodak Master (8x10)
    4 Double Darks's
    2 lenses (300M and a 210 Claron)
    tripod head (arca)
    filters/cables/hoods/tape measure/lightmeter
    2 repacked boxes of film (50 sheet boxes hold 100 sheets ++ each)

    all into a carry on shoulder bag (a $15 surplus cotton bag- camera +DD's sit vertical). send it straight through the carry on Xray (many times, fortepan 200 and TriX).

    The old gitzo goes into the rucksack wrapped in a pair of pants and a few shirts/darkcloth. If that bag goes missing I'm sure I can work something out quickly where ever I am. Having the camera/lenses/film disappear would take WAY more time/money/effort to sort out.

    Through Bangkok, Greece, Australia, PNG, Cyprus and Bahrain I have had no problems with the airport security/screening.

    To have a Supertrekker II full of gear... you must be hauling a HUGE amount of stuff!

    If you need to check it.... hardcase (pelican, lightware etc). The home depot thing might be less 'photographic'.... ie $$$$ inside.

    an good article (and this guy seems to carry hella big/heavy/bulky stuff):

    http://www.largeformatphotography.in.../lftravel.html

    good luck.
    D.

  9. #9
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    I've flown in and out of Vegas a few times with LF equipment.

    I always carry my film on and usually let it go through the X-ray with my equipment, and haven't had problems with that. I'm more concerned about inspectors inadvertantly exposing film or mishandling equipment, and I find if I check things that seem to bring about inspections (cable releases that resemble syringes, rangefinder cams that can look like blades or scissors), I'm more likely to get my equipment through the X-ray without an additional check.

    My Tech V 4x5" travels in a Crumpler Fux Deluxe. The 8x10" Gowland PocketView goes in a knapsack designed for laptop computers. I have a 4x5" Gowland PocketView that usually lives in an older Perrin Vanguard case, which can hold the camera set up and ready to shoot, but sometimes I'll put it in something smaller if I'm traveling. I've also had it in an f/64 case.

    I've checked my tripod many times in a medium-sized Tenba TTP case, usually with the head attached, handles loose or removed.

    If you want to buy film on location call Casey's Camera (they're in the phone book), which stocks LF film and can order it in sizes they don't normally carry, if you give them enough notice.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  10. #10
    James Bleifus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satinsnow

    What size do you shoot,
    A 5X7 Eastman #2. In fact, I'll be ordering a groundglass from you soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aggie

    The super trekker will not fit as carry on. I would take all my clothes and such and stuff in it. Then take a small carryon suitcase, wrap socks around things or underwear. this would protect the things, and you can carry your camera and such on the airplane.
    Ah, I'll pack my camera as carry-on and pack my clothes in the Trekker. Makes so much more sense then my approach and it never would have occurred to me. I've dealt with the Vegas security before but thanks for the tip on having the regs with me. I'm looking forward to waiving them in securitys' faces.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave H.

    To have a Supertrekker II full of gear... you must be hauling a HUGE amount of stuff!
    No, I don't really have a lot of stuff (camera, two lenses, dark clothe, 300 sheets of film, 10 holders, meter, tripod, filters and misc. stuff) but I'll be doing a lot of hiking over the petrified sand dunes. If it's anything like my hikes along the coast I'll spend a lot of time teetering on sandstone for balance so I like to keep my camera packed away rather than on my shoulder. The Super Trekker is the only pack I have and I got it so I'd have something to grow into . Plus, I'm REALLY bad at packing so I know I take up more space then I should.

    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb.

    If you want to buy film on location call Casey's Camera (they're in the phone book), which stocks LF film and can order it in sizes they don't normally carry, if you give them enough notice.
    Thanks David. That would have been a good idea. Too bad I've already ordered my film.

    Thanks to everyone for the suggestions.

    Cheers,

    James
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