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naturephoto1
5-Apr-2007, 10:11
Hi All,

For my upcoming trip to Oregon, May 1 to May 23 I am debating as to how to get my tripods to and from Oregon. I have one of the Pelican 17XX series "gun" style shipping cases that I have used several times prior to 9/11. This hard case is heavily padded with the cut foam to house and protect my Gitzo Carbon Fiber 13XX series Tripod with the Gitzo Gitzo 1321 Leveling Base, Gitzo Carbon Fiber 1257LVL Tripod, Markins M20 Ball, Markins Q3 Emille Ball, and my Leitz Table Top Tripod. Additionally, I have 2 TSA locks that will arrive shortly to lock the case. The case would be my second stowed piece of luggage; it meets the Airline onboard stowed requirements and would not incur any charges or additional oversized/overweight shipping charges. My concern is getting the case with the tripods to and from the Eastern PA and Portland, OR. I am somewhat concerned about TSA and the baggage handlers running off with the tripods. :( :eek:

Another option that I have is to ship the tripods via DHL Ground for pickup at the DHL Depot or to have it shipped for pickup at a friends in Eugene, OR. As it is, I will be shipping a 100 Quart Coleman Cooler with Film and Backpacking/hiking equipment back and forth across country. I am not sure if I want to spend the several hundred additional dollars to ship the tripods.

Particularly those that travel much by air, what are your recommendations. If I ship the tripods by DHL, then I will pack my Non-Collapsible Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles (quite expensive and about 3 oz each) in a heavy Duty Cardboard Map Tube as my second stowed piece of luggage. If I take the tripods in the Pelican Case onboard the plane, then I will pack my Collapsible Leki Trekking Poles (about 20oz for the pair) probably in the Coleman Cooler.

Thanks for your comments and recommedations.

Rich

Ed Richards
5-Apr-2007, 10:18
If your tripod box will go on the plane, it is not going to cost several hundred dollars to ship it by DHL ground. I would be surprised if it costs $50 each way, unless you are loading the tripod legs with lead shot to stablize them.

naturephoto1
5-Apr-2007, 10:27
If your tripod box will go on the plane, it is not going to cost several hundred dollars to ship it by DHL ground. I would be surprised if it costs $50 each way, unless you are loading the tripod legs with lead shot to stablize them.

Hi Ed,

I may be high on the DHL Ground Shipping charges, but I would certainly want to insure them if they were shipped via DHL.

Rich

Gordon Moat
5-Apr-2007, 10:47
When I travel with my aluminium Bogen, I disassemble it to fit into my checked bag. I figure someone checking it probably would not bother to put it together to steal it. Probably helps that it looks beat up, even though it works great. If I had nice looking carbon fibre legs, and a shiny expensive looking tripod head, I would worry more about theft potential.

You might want to compare UPS, FedEx and DHL. Another alternative is Greyhound, who do handle some shipping, though you need to be able to pick it up at a bus station (no delivery). Whatever shipping choice you make, add some padding (bubblewrap, etc.) to protect the tripod legs.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)

Ted Harris
5-Apr-2007, 10:48
Ed is right and even insured for 1K they aren't going to be more than 50 bucks. BTW, I lnog since stopped using carrier insurance and added coverage on my business insurance policy.

Bill_1856
5-Apr-2007, 10:57
I can't advise you about the big tripod, but have to warn you that the shape of a Leica table-top tripod looks like a handgun when viewed through an X-ray machine. If you carry it aboard it's 99% guaranteed to get your baggage hand searched in a special little room (and probably you, too).
I wouldn't worry about theft of your tripod, as they're too big and not valuable enough to make it worth pillfering, but there's always that 5% loss of anything the airlines check.
Oh yeah, and have a great trip!

BradS
5-Apr-2007, 11:03
slightly OT...the building I work in is just down the street from a DHL warehouse. I'm not exactly sure what they do there but there are always lots of DHL trucks coming and going.

Anyway, I can't tell you how many times I've driven by and either saw boxes falling out the back of departing trucks or boxes laying by the side of the road. Needless to say, I would not choose DHL - insurance or not. The insurance isn't going to do you any good while your in Oregon if they loose your gear.


I'd find a a way to carry what I need (NEED...not what I think I might like to have) with me. Either in checked baggage or carry on.

rjphil
5-Apr-2007, 11:05
Hi All -
Along the same lines, I am going to AZ at the end of April, for just a few days.
I want to pack my Manfrotto tripod (about 14" collapsed) in my carry-on bag,
as I am not checking luggage. If they want to search me, fine, I just don't want to potentially have to check it by itself. I'm not sure if they would classify it as a "blunt object".:)

PViapiano
5-Apr-2007, 11:34
Slightly off subject, but a good story nevertheless:

Years ago, before 9/11, I tried to bring a gardening pitch fork (don't ask...OK...custom-made English tool) on a plane. The skycap looked at me and said, "Are you kidding? You might go crazy and do a Jason on somebody up there!"

Louie Powell
5-Apr-2007, 11:45
I have taken a tripod with me a checked luggage several times. I use a Slik canvas tripod bag. Each time, when I got to the destination, I found the notice in the bag that TSA had opened the bag for inspection - after all, it's just a zipper closure. Remember, you cannot lock or seal a container that you check as luggage.

Frankly, I wouldn't worry too much about TSA running off with anything. Baggage handlers are another matter, but tripods are really too specialized and hard to convert to cash, and the likelihood that you would encounter the one dishonest baggage handler who happens to be in the market for a tripod for his own use is pretty remote.

You don't see tripods as carry-on luggage nearly as often since 9-11. While they aren't actually banned in the cabin, I think a lot of TSA inspectors discourage them because they could be used as weapons. But I would be more concerned about "trekking poles". I really don't know what they are, but they sound like something long and pointed and I think you might have difficulty getting them past security.

If I were in your situation, I would put them into a container of some kind, and then check them as luggage.

Oh - one other piece of advice. Fly Southwest - according to the news report earlier this week, they have the lowest incidence of lost luggage. And while there service is as miserable as all of the other airlines, at least they have a sense of humor.

Scott Davis
5-Apr-2007, 11:51
I'd just pack ONE tripod with ONE head inside your suitcase and be done with it. I've done that with my Manfrotto CF tripod with alternately a Gitzo magnesium ball-head or low profile pan/tilt head, to California, Spain, and Argentina. I flew major carriers, and had no problems anywhere along the way, even when flying within country in Argentina. If you are taking this trip for pleasure, why in god's name are you dragging along all these tripods? If it is for business, and you NEED all those tripods, then ship them, insured, and write off the shipping costs on your taxes.

BradS
5-Apr-2007, 11:51
They used to allow a tripod to be carried on. I would often ask the flight attendant to stow it in the closet right at the door there as you walk in the plane. Don't know now though...

roteague
5-Apr-2007, 12:36
When I travel with my aluminium Bogen, I disassemble it to fit into my checked bag.

That is what I do as well, however, Rich is shipping a very expensive carbon fiber tripod. DHL is the best bet.

Frank Petronio
5-Apr-2007, 14:18
Remember the two-bag 50-lb limit too. Pelican cases are heavy. A simple Liteware cargo case weighs less than half. I use a 33-inch Liteware Cargo for tripod and grip, and I stuff extra clothes in and make sure I am around 48-lbs. Heck, on one trip I brought a skateboard, helmet and pads just to fill up the case (and to make one illegal ride.)

I think if you fill it up with clothes and junk it looks a little less precious, and less like something worth stealing... wrap the head with your dirty underwear on the return leg ;-)

naturephoto1
5-Apr-2007, 14:21
The Pelican case with the tripods weighs about 29 pounds (each bag has to be 50 pounds or less) and sneaks in under the 62" at about 61".

Rich

Terence McDonagh
5-Apr-2007, 15:20
I have not had any problems putting tripods in checked luggage. The thieves out there seem to have no idea of the value. They're looking for cameras, laptops, etc. Things that are easy to sell. Working in construction I've often gotten offered things out of the trunks of cars, from laptops to vacuums. But never have I seen a tripod.

When I'm just taking a small tripod, I've had no problems taking it as carry-on. I must say, I am surprised at this though. And for LF, it's never a small tripod.

David A. Goldfarb
5-Apr-2007, 16:21
I've had a laptop pilfered in checked baggage (they didn't bother with the Canon F-1N and the lens that were next to the laptop) and once I put some loose change in the pocket of my tripod case and that was pilfered. I've checked my tripod many times in a Tenba TTP case, and it's always come through fine even after being thrown several feet to the tarmac from a baggage truck that made a sharp turn approaching the plane, but I haven't shipped a really high-end tripod before.

I do now have an expensive tripod, and I've thought about this problem, because eventually I'll have to check it, but I also get the sense that a tripod isn't a very likely target for pilferage. You have to be fairly knowledgeable about tripods to recognize a fancy tripod, and a large tripod is an awkward thing to steal in a discrete way. A laptop you could slip in a small bag or under your shirt. My new Gitzo GT-5540LS, I don't know.

gregstidham
5-Apr-2007, 17:48
I check all my Dynalites, tripod, lightstands, softboxes, and batteries. I mix my clothes throughout like Frank. I haven't had anything stolen yet. They always want to look however. The only gear I carry on are my cameras, lenses, a camera battery, charger, and laptop.

My brother-in-law works for the TSA. He has never mentioned anything about stuff getting ripped off. I don't worry about it much.

Some have mentioned already, but don't overload your bags. Once you hit 70 lbs it won't get on the plane. Anything over 50 lbs is usually charged a fee unless you are flying first class or have some sort of frequent flyer travel status.

Ben Hopson
5-Apr-2007, 18:25
I usually check my tripod as the second piece of luggage. I use a Lightware case that I lined inside with rigid foam for added protection. The tripod is a wooden Ries. I also use foam pipe insulation, the type that is cut through on one side, to slide over the leg sections and pack clothes in the case to help prevent damage. Nothing has been dinged in 15-20 trips. It has missed a flight while being inspected, but that only resulted in my having to wait an extra couple hours at the airport in Las Vegas until it arrived.

c marks
5-Apr-2007, 18:54
I check a 1327 Gitzo in a duffle bag. I surround it with clothes and make sure the duffle is full so there is no shifting. Worked fine on 8 flights over the last six months. I carry on the camera and lenses.

My bigger fear is theft rather than damage. So far, so good. Few people realize the value of a tripod, it does not advertise being expensive like a camera.

I also have insurance.

I figure in the worst case I get to my destination and would have to order a new one from B+H. And I would rather order something simple like a tripod than a camera.

Good luck and have a great trip!

jackies
5-Apr-2007, 19:15
What I do is check the tripod and carry the head in my carry on bag. TSA usually checks the luggage and never have I had it ripped off. In fact, now I put the tripod where it is easily seen so they don't go rummaging through all my stuff. . .

Jackie

Mike Lewis
5-Apr-2007, 19:53
Rich-

I travel frequently within the U.S.; last year I had fifteen rental cars, a personal best. Most of the time I take my LF gear with me. I put my Gitzo carbon-fiber tripod in checked luggage. I wrap it in a garbage bag, put this in a backpack with other LF stuff such as film holders, a lens case (lenses themselves are carry-on), darkcloth, etc.; then put that into a hard-side Samsonite case with other stuff. TSA opens my luggage all the time. I still have my tripod. I admit that upon arrival I check for the tripod before leaving the airport, but so far I've had no problem.

BTW- I saw your landscapes at a craft show in Maryland a few months ago. They were very nice.

Henry Ambrose
5-Apr-2007, 20:24
What I do is check a big rolling trunk with my photo gear and pay the oversize fee. Five "barely good enough" light stands, two or three monolights, three fresnel lights, tripod, powercords, umbrellas, softbox, reflectors, speedrings, spring clips, tape, 8x8' 1/4 stop silk panel, white panel, black panel. Somehow it all makes it just under the weight/size limit. Limits vary. Some allow up to 100 pounds with extra charge. Usually 80 inches (length+girth) is the upper size allowed.

Here's the roller case -- http://www.stormcase.com/StormCaseSizes/StormiM2975.htm

Some airlines have "media rates" which let you check big media things cheaper. (cameras, tripods, sound gear, etc.) You have to ask for this and tell them you are working. It would help to be telling the truth. Check your carrier for details.

All my gear is covered by my business policy. I do carry on a big camera bag with the minimum camera gear to get the job done. I ship the film Fedex next day to the location or to the Fedex office at the destination airport.

Check with your insurance agent about coverage. It might be that a small amount of money will add some of your gear to your homeowners policy. If you have business/commercial insurance you could add coverage there if you don't already have it. Tell your agent exactly what you are doing and ask them to quote coverage for the risk you describe. That'll be a lot easier than trying to squeeze a claim out of a carrier who's lost or broken your stuff. That can take months. And with your own insurance you'll have coverage for the term of your policy, not just this one trip.

You might also consider taking less stuff. Less to carry and less to lose or break. My one big rolling box is my limit. If I can't make it happen from that box, I can't make it happen or I would rent at the location.

If you ship film be sure to put stickers on the box to keep it away from radioactive materials and to not xray. The carrier will have these. I'd Fedex overnight this box.

But in your case, I'd think real hard about buying film in Portland. Its a big city and I bet you can pre-order whatever you'd want to use and have it there waiting for you.

As for your other gear, Fedex has offices at most airports and you can ship to the office where you fly in and pick it up in person. That saves a trip to some other spot to pick up your stuff. A big box shipped three day economy is not too expensive.

Alan Davenport
5-Apr-2007, 20:33
I wouldn't worry so much about the baggage handlers stealing them, as I would worry about losing a day or more of shooting while you wait for the tripods to catch up to you after the airline sends them to the wrong city. (The last couple of times any members of my family flew, it's been a given that the luggage goes elsewhere. :mad: )

David A. Goldfarb
5-Apr-2007, 22:07
I wouldn't worry so much about the baggage handlers stealing them, as I would worry about losing a day or more of shooting while you wait for the tripods to catch up to you after the airline sends them to the wrong city. (The last couple of times any members of my family flew, it's been a given that the luggage goes elsewhere. :mad: )

Once we went to Maui and my tripod case got stuck in Newark. Fortunately I had my Technika with me, so I could shoot Weegee-style with the rangefinder for the first day or so.

Brian K
6-Apr-2007, 06:04
Nature photo, that's a lot of tripods. You're packing very heavy it seems, more than one camera system? If you're going to pack heavy, and go away for 3 weeks you might want to consider driving from PA to OR. The drive would be 4 days each way, but you also have the opportunity to stop and shoot things along the way, as well as scout other places you may want to come back to. You'll save on the plane fare and the car rental in OR, but get hit with gas costs. Just a thought.

If you're intent on flying I'd pare it down to one camera system and one tripod. I would pack the tripod in a larger clothing suitcase that also holds your clothes. I do this often and never have had a problem.

naturephoto1
6-Apr-2007, 06:50
Nature photo, that's a lot of tripods. You're packing very heavy it seems, more than one camera system? If you're going to pack heavy, and go away for 3 weeks you might want to consider driving from PA to OR. The drive would be 4 days each way, but you also have the opportunity to stop and shoot things along the way, as well as scout other places you may want to come back to. You'll save on the plane fare and the car rental in OR, but get hit with gas costs. Just a thought.

If you're intent on flying I'd pare it down to one camera system and one tripod. I would pack the tripod in a larger clothing suitcase that also holds your clothes. I do this often and never have had a problem.

Hi Brian,

Thanks very much for the recommendations. I am sandwiching the trip between two Art shows and I was able to get a rather remarkable Delta airfare round trip from Allentown, PA to Portland, OR for about $260 including all taxes, etc. My unlimited mileage midsized Alamo Rental including all taxes is about $439. I am traveling with 3 systems (really only 2+). I will be carrying my Toho Shimo FC-45X and as many as 8 lenses (Rodenstock f5.6 75mm Grandagon N MC, Congo f6.3 90mm WA MC, Schneider f5.6 120mm Apo Symmar L, Schneider f 5.6 120mm Makro Symmar, Rodenstock f5.6 150mm Sironar S, Rodenstock f9 240mm Apo Ronar MC, Rodenstock f9 300mm MC, Ebony Top Hat and Fuji f12.5 450mm C MC) along with my Mamiya 7II and 3 lenses (Mamiya 7 f4.5 43mm lens and finder, Mamiya 7 f4 65mm lens, Mamiya 7 f4.5 150mm lens) and my Rollei 35S with the f4 40mm Zeiss Sonnar lens.

With the exception of the tripods, Rollei 35S, Kodak Readyload Holder, Horseman 6 X 12 Back, some filters, film, all of my photo equipment fits into a rather compact Think Tank Airport Acceleration Backpack (18.5" X 13" X 7", http://www.thinktankphoto.com/ttp_product_ArprtAccel.php).

I am carrying the Gitzo Carbon Fiber 13XX series Tripod with the Gitzo Gitzo 1321 Leveling Base, and the Gitzo Carbon Fiber 1257LVL Tripod along with the Markins M20 and Q3 Emille Heads for switching off parts/heads for longer walks and short backpacking while in Oregon. Additionally, this gives me the opportunity if near the vehicle to use both the Toho and the Mamiya 7II at the same time. The Toho and the Mamiya have Arca Type QR plates/L brackets. The point of the Leitz table top is more for the Leitz large ball head alone for the purpose of tripod mounting the Rollei 35S which has no QR. The Leitz tipod base could certainly be left behind.

Part of the reason for the Toho and the Mamiya systems are for backup and also, from what I have been informed, the winds along the Oregon Coast may turn my little Toho into a Box Kite and I would need the Mamiya to take many of these images.

Rich

Dave Parker
6-Apr-2007, 07:48
Rich,

I have shot many, many times along the OR and WA coast, and yes the winds can be terrible, but with due diligence you should have very little trouble shooting the Toho, the only time I have had any difficulty was when I was shooting and 8x10 at Canon Beach, OR trying to get some images of starfish and other creatures in a tide pool using an extreme amount of extension, fortunately I was low to the ground and close to the camera to catch it, I have never had any difficulty working with my 4x5's blowing away, one thing I do when shooting on the beach, I pick up a small bag that I can put a few pounds of sand in and hang from the tripod to help with stability...


Dave

eric black
6-Apr-2007, 08:52
remove the ball head and carry it onto the plane- I do this at least 3-4 times a year with no objections from anybody provided the ball head which makes it look a bit more lethal is removed (I carry it on as well- packed in my carryon- I just slide the tripod to the rear of the overhead compartment and use my carryon to wedge it into place. If Im not feeling like carrying alot around the airport, I check a large pelican case (1650 I think) with the tripod inside packed in clothes. My equipment is all insured though so Im not quite so worried about losses due to baggage personnel. Also, I dont think you will be able to lock the case anyways as TSA doesnt allow that anymore due to 911 stuff.

roteague
6-Apr-2007, 09:41
Also, I dont think you will be able to lock the case anyways as TSA doesnt allow that anymore due to 911 stuff.

You can lock your bags. However, you need to buy the special TSA approved locks (they have a second key slot that only the TSA is supposed to have keys for). You can buy them practically anywhere.

QT Luong
6-Apr-2007, 12:36
If you are that concerned about your tripods, leave one at home and carry on the other. I've done so several times, although in general I pack tripods in my duffel bag, wrapped with a sleeping pad or clothes (like Galen Rowell used to). By the way, the best recipe for peace of mind is a good insurance policy. I always check in my LF kit.

Brian K
6-Apr-2007, 15:04
Rich that's still a lot of gear even if it's one case. But if you intend on bringing all that gear, then just take one tripod with a head that can be used commonly. I also have the Think Tank bag, the airport acceleration and the airport addicted, great bags. I assume that you'll have all your film in a shoulder bag. You might also want to bring along a pair of binoculars, they come in real handy when you're working in virgin territory.

We share a lot of the same glass. Given that you have the 240 and 300 Apo ronars, which work well in macro mode, and the 150 Sironar-S which also works well in limited macro ratios, do you really need the 120 macro schneider on this trip? Do you do that much macro work? The 240 would give you a longish bellows as a macro but also gives a nice working distance as well.

naturephoto1
6-Apr-2007, 19:52
Hi Brian,

Again thanks for the recommendations. Actually in addition to the lenses you mentioned the Schneider f 5.6 120mm Apo Symmar L also could be used fairly well for up to about 1:3. The Toho only has about 365-380mm of bellows. I may well leave the 120mm Apo Makro HM lens at home but considered bringing it because it is so small and light. I appreciate your suggestions on the single tripod. If I only carry 1, I may still opt for both Markins Heads however which I may be able to pack in the Think Tank Airport Acceleration. If I only take 1 tripod I am not sure if I should carry the smaller 1257LVL or the 13XX tripod with the Gitzo 1321 leveling head. Certainly the 1257LVL is lighter and has the leveling built in to the tripod. It can certainly be weighted. I have replaced the long column of the 1257LVL with the short column (but had a custom made spacer to allow the use of the level which can be removed to bring the tripod to the ground; the hook can be used on the short column). If I only bring the 1257LVL I can pack it in my Think Tank Bazooka Tripod Case and probably put it in my stowed luggage.

I am shipping and having additional film shipped since Quickload film in particular is so bulky; I am quite concerned about having the QL film checked by TSA. The film is being shipped along with backpacking equipment in a Coleman Cooler. I use the cooler at the other end to hide and store film and equipment in the car. My 2nd carry on will be my Tenba computer case (still debating on the Tenba or the Think Tank compurer insert) which will carry some extras including Rollei 35S, compass, Brunton ADC Pro Weather Station, GPS, Steripen, Binoculars, Horseman 6 X 12 back, Kodak Readyload Holder, filters...

Rich

Eric James
6-Apr-2007, 21:14
I'm amazed a Tuan's success with checking his Super Trekker AW. The key, I suppose, is the insurance and good karma.

I've carried on 1500 and 1300 series Gitzo's post 911 with no difficulty. If you want to avoid the $$$ of shipping (which offers no guarantee that things will arrive to your third party destination) I would recommend that you arrive early and try to carry most everything aboard. If you're turned around at security, just double back and check the gear that wasn't allowed.

An alternate strategy would be to carry on the valuables, and check the Pelican case etc.

Good light upon landing!

roteague
6-Apr-2007, 23:17
I am shipping and having additional film shipped since Quickload film in particular is so bulky; I am quite concerned about having the QL film checked by TSA.

Shipping the film is a good idea, because it can be bulky. However, I've flown a lot with QL film, and TSA has never even given it a second thought - especially if it isn't sealed.

Brian Ellis
7-Apr-2007, 09:18
"When I travel with my aluminium Bogen, I disassemble it to fit into my checked bag."

That's what I've done for years, using a hard-shell suitcase with a variety of different tripods inlcuding the Gitzo 1325. I feel pretty comfortable doing that, I don't think theft is likely with my beat up old gray suitcase. The only problem I've had is that with some tripods I have to remove the head to fit the tripod in and getting the head off can often be difficult. I've also occasionally used the Gitzo travel bag but after reading of thefts by baggage handlers I stopped doing that. The Gitzo bag is a very nice looking bag, heavily padded, nice blue and gray leatherette design fabric, and "Gitzo" in big letters on the outside. Not that the baggage handlers are likely to know what Gitzo (or even a tripod) is but the thing screams "expensive."

Gordon Moat
7-Apr-2007, 11:05
. . . . The only problem I've had is that with some tripods I have to remove the head to fit the tripod in and getting the head off can often be difficult. . . . . .

On my old 3021N legs, the centre column comes completely out of the legs. That leaves a 3047 head attatched to the post. When I remove the handles, the 3047 can fold a bit onto itself, and the combination of centre column and 3047 ends up as long as the 3021N legs. Definitely still somewhat long in luggage, but with the right size bag it sort of fits. I usually place the handles into a large freezer bag.

I sometimes fly in and out of Houston. In the last several years, there have been theft rings caught at both of the major airports there. I consider theft a real possibility, though like other have mentioned there is a bigger chance of the airline loosing your luggage. Worse case is I could just buy another tripod at whatever location I land.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)