Traveling with Photo Gear: Ask David Bergman

Traveling with Photo Gear: Ask David Bergman

So how do I get this big heavy camera bag from point A to point B on an airplane? I’m gonna show you how after… Hey there welcome back to s David Bergman, right here on Adorama TV. Today I’ve got a question from Rui B and he asks… How do you transport your gear when flying? Do you carry everything on the plane or do you check it underneath? Traveling with gear – it can really be a challenge sometimes, right look if you have one camera, one lens, and a flash, you should be fine, put them in a little camera bag for protection, carry it with you at all times, not a problem. The challenge is somebody like me that’s on a concert tour right now, and I’m traveling with a lot of gear. A lot of wedding photographers, other people who travel with a lot of gear, it can definitely be a challenge, so what I’m gonna do is… show you how I do it… this is my camera bag, this is a Think Tank airport security bag, it’s a big roller, when it’s fully loaded with my gear it’s heavy, it weighs just under 50 pounds, so I have a lot of stuff in here. Let me show you what is in here, this is my typical concert setup, now a couple of things are missing in here right no, because we’re using them to shoot this video, but I’m going to tell you what’s normally in here. I’m a Canon Explorer of Light, and of course I shoot all Canon as my favourite gear, so that’s all I have in here, but my go-to workhorse camera is this Canon 1DX MKII This is the sports action camera, I shoot concerts like I shoot sports, so I use these cameras, they’re built like a tank, the shutter is gonna last forever the battery lasts for a good three four shows, and I’ve shot hundreds of thousands of frames on these cameras, so I travel with five bodies and five lenses, three of them are this 1DX Mark II, I’ll tell you why in a minute, but I’ve got three of those that normally go in these three pockets, again this stuff is missing cause we’re using it behind the scenes. So I’ve got three of those, my other two bodies are this, is the Canon 5d Mark IV, that goes right in here, and then this is the new Mirrorless, the EOS R the full-frame mirrorless, with the grip on it. So those are the five bodies, now the lenses I use… here is the 24-70mm f/2.8, this is the RF 28-70mm for that are EOS R, the 100 to 400 4.5-5.6 lens and the other two that are on the body so that we’re using is the, R 24-105mm f/ 4, and the 16-35mm f/ 4, which is overhead right there, so those are the five bodies and five lenses. Now why do I travel with all that? Well the way I shoot the concert is, I carry two bodies over my shoulders. I use the hold fast gear strap, leather, nice leather strap to divide the weight, which is really nice, and then I have two cameras that I use for remote. So I’ll put one sometimes overhead on top of the… in the lighting trusses overhead, and I’ll put one more on the drum kit or somewhere else on the stage, and then the fifth camera is this EOS R, that I’ve been using so that I can use this lens, this is that 28-70mm f/2, I use this when I walk around backstage, because it’s like having three prime lenses basically, it’s a 28-50mm and a 70mm f/2.0 lens, so that I can just walk around shoot available light backstage with this in the dressing rooms those kinds of things. So that is my basic setup, I also have one more, I have one flash, that’s underneath this 100-400mm and a couple other little odds and ends. I have a little pouch with a Think-Tank card wallet in it, and there’s a backup hard drive in there, and then my Magmod Mag bounce that I use to shoot the meet and greet with. So all of that stuff goes in this bag, and again it’s heavy, so here’s the thing, I will not check this under the airplane, there’s no way I would ever give this to a baggage handler to be thrown about. Now these bags are really well made, and they’re, its protected but, it’s not, I’m not going to chance it with it going under the plane, so what I do, luckily, I have good status on the airlines. I’ve been traveling a long time now, so usually I’m one of the first people on. I can usually take this bag on domestically, internationally you really should use a little bit smaller bag, the regulations are a bit tighter, but in the US I’m most of the time able to get this on the plane, one little trick, don’t just keep this between us, but what when you put this in the overhead you got to just pretend like it weighs nothing, and just put it in really gently, because if you go oh my god, good lord, if you do that they’re gonna sort of flag you down, and they might make you check that bag. So you don’t want to do that, so just you know work, work on it, and just pretend it weighs nothing. I do carry another bag. a backpack on as my as my personal item, that’s got my computer, and you know odds and ends, or the headphones and things like that, but this is my primary camera bag, anything else that I have to bring with me like hardware things to mount remote cameras and battery chargers and things that are not quite as fragile, I am going to check underneath, I have more Think Tank rollers that I can use for that, and that gets checked underneath no problem. Now this bag, the challenge is, once in a blue moon I do get wind up on a very small plane where it will literally not fit in the overhead, even sometimes and they say it won’t fit it will, but there’s a couple of planes that it actually won’t fit in the tiny tiny little over head, so in that case, I will have to gate check it, but I will do anything I can, it’s worth it, getting the airline status to get on first, get that overhead space. I’m that guy that has to be one of the first people on the plane that you know pushes my way, and I don’t push my way in… but I I want to be one of the first ones on the plane, just for that reason, so I don’t have to scramble to find overhead space. So really that’s how I travel with stuff, I know, I actually know Rui, he’s a excellent concert photographer over in Europe, and you probably travel with the same amount of gear that I do. So that’s the way I handle it over here in the US. I hope that helps. Hey listen if you have a photo question about anything photography related, make sure you go to – submit it on there and I will pick the best ones to answer right here on a future show. Of course this is Adorama TV, don’t forget to subscribe down below, there’s all kinds of great photo shows, free educational content from other great photo hosts here at Adorama, so thanks for joining me ask your own photo questions, I’ll answer new ones right here next week!

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  1. Qantas and Qatar airways now weigh all carry on hand luggage with max weight allowed 7kg – you're going to be in a pickle if they tell you to check it. Get a PelicanAir case, always be prepared to check the gear and then there's no worry beforehand if they're going to / not weigh my carry on. Small investment over the long run to keep VERY expensive gear safe.

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