Planes, trains, and... cameras?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by footballfan993, Dec 14, 2016.

  1. footballfan993

    footballfan993 TPF Noob!

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    Hi everyone,

    So I'm going to finally travel on and airplane with my camera, and would like some tips

    First off, I'll be going to rapid city, sd, in a few weeks, so I'm bringing my camera to take pictures of my Rushmore, the badlands and anything else I might find interesting! My camera that I will be bringing is my Canon Eos Rebel T5, a 18-55mm lens, 75-200mm lens, and a 50mm lens. I won't be bringing my tripod, as much as I would like to, because this is an added expense that I can't afford, being a college student, money is tight.

    I will be using the camera bag, as one of my carry ons, so it'll have to go though security, etc. are there any tips that I need to do with my camera to ensure it's safe with X-rays etc?

    Also while at the airport/ on the plane, any cool things to take a picture of? What about pictures from onboard the flight, like outside of a window/on the decent into an airport?

    Let me know if any traveling tips and tricks that you have!

    Thanks!


     
  2. snowbear

    snowbear fuzzy-wuzzy Supporting Member

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    Somewhere between San Diego and Baltimore (Amazon Fire snap)

    [​IMG]
    IMG_20160701_170411_hdr.jpg
    by Charlie Wrenn, on Flickr

    Digital? X-Rays not an issue. Film? Hand it all to the TSA folks, letting them know it's film and they should just give it a visual inspection. No loose batteries.
    Poke around here for more information.
     
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  3. KmH

    KmH In memoriam Supporting Member

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    When I've flown with my carry-on camera backpack loaded with gear (2 DSLR bodies, 5 lenses, assorted support stuff) the TSA people usually ask, "Nikon or Canon?" when it goes through their x-ray machine.

    But the last time TSA got to x-ray my photography gear was in 2008.
    Now I take the train.
    No TSA gauntlet to navigate, lots of room, the sights aren't 40,000 feet below me in miniature, and the food I eat is fresh cooked right there on the train.
     
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  4. PropilotBW

    PropilotBW Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    There is always something to take a picture of at the airport! Out the window is often-times a great view of takeoff/landing aircraft. There can be sunrises and sunsets from out the terminal window.
    But... if you've never been, or don't go to the airport often, this can be exciting. It has kind of lost its luster with me, since I see it everyday.
    If you're into "street-shooting" there is no better place for people watching than in an airport terminal. But be cautious, in this day and age, taking pictures in an airport might Raise red flags on ulterior motives...

    During the flight, there is definitely chances for pictures. Open your eye and snap away! You'll come up with something.
    IMG_0972.JPG
     
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  5. Designer

    Designer Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    "Cool" is subjective, but there is always something. Don't hover over the operations of the airport, as that will probably draw attention these days. If you see a good shot, take it and then move on. Inside the waiting area you will see all kinds of people, some of whom will not appreciate being photographed, so be cool about it. Out the window is quite limiting, obviously, but if you're lucky, you will:

    1. have access to a window
    2. that is fairly clean and not in the sun
    3. and that there will be something interesting outside
    4. keep your VR turned on, as there will be vibration
    5. on approach, the ground is plenty interesting, but it will be whizzing by very fast, so not real good for pictures then.
     
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  6. beagle100

    beagle100 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I carry a little pocket camera for window seat flights

    [​IMG]Untitled by c w, on Flickr
     
  7. JoeW

    JoeW Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You have multiple questions...I have multiple answers.

    First, I used to fly a lot. About 5 years ago (so not too much of a change in airline procedure and airport security) I was averaging between 25-35 domestic flights a year plus some international ones. I never had a problem flying with my gear as carry-on. I usually had a soft-sided carry-on duffle which I managed to get a small, portable soft box and small scrim or backdrop plus other gear in to (as well as clothes). I usually had a big backpack (that carried 1-2 bodies, all of my lens, my laptop, batteries, etc.). I've never had a problem with loose batteries as long as I carried them on. I usually carried a tripod of some sort (though it collapsed small enough to fit in to carry-on) and often times it was just a small table-top thingie or a clamp or gorillapod. If you shoot landscape and you're going in to big sky country, you should bring something to stabilize your tripod otherwise you're going to miss a helluva sunset.

    Second, shooting at airports...it's against the regulations to shoot pictures in the screening area so make sure your camera is put away. No problem with x-ray screening of digital equipment. But I take a lot of pictures at airports. Don't focus on security stuff (door locks, security personnel, k-9 teams, etc.) and you should be fine.

    Third, taking pictures on airplanes? Bleh. I've seen some lovely ones. But most windows I've seen are badly scratched, have water drops on them. Maybe you'll get lucky. Also, check to see what kind of plane you're flying and where your seat it--odds are most or all of your view will have a wing or engine assembly obscuring the view.

    Fourth, here is the biggest concern I have for you...it's sounds like you're not a frequent flier. It also sounds (I'm guessing) like you're not flying first-class but coach. Check your boarding assignment (you probably can't until the day you check-in, usually no earlier than the day before the flight). You are probably not boarding in sections #1 or #2. Which means you are running the risk that you will NOT be allowed any carry-on bags (except something that fits under your seat). Basically what I'm saying is that the overhead space fills up quickly and the people who board later on the flight effectively are only allowed one carry-on. If you're in section #5 or #6, that's pretty much a guarantee. So pack accordingly--get all of your camera gear in to one bag that you can fit under your seat and allow for your feet as well (you'll also need to get key toiletries, medicine, etc. in there as well). Otherwise, you're going to be checking camera gear. And I never, under any circumstances, check camera gear. I always do carry-on. Or if it's too much for carry-on, then I shop separately, in a pelican case, with insurance, for someone who is a shipper (like FedEx or UPS) rather than an airline.

    Fifth, travel tips....well, you're going to spend time waiting. So I have Sudoku on my phone. Or bring a cheap novel you don't mind tossing when you're done. Or print out a couple of articles on photography you've always been meaning to read. I have Nikon Learn & Explore on my phone...lots of quick reads I can easily access. A rule that all frequent travelers follow if it's not the same trip back and forth ever time is...bring some food. Doesn't have to be a lot...a bag of granola or trail mix. You may get some cheap pretzels on the plane but probably not. Bring an empty water bottle through security and then fill it up when you pass through. You'll get a beverage on the plane but until then you'll end up buying stuff in the terminal (very expensive). Most airports have sculptures of various types or mobiles hanging from the ceiling. So pull out your camera and shoot some abstracts (especially play with DoF). If you've got a long enough zoom (so you're not intruding in people's space) there are some great people shots (basically street photography except in an airport terminal). If you've got a long connection, it's worth it to have a pass for an airline lounge...reliable wifi (most airports are still crap regarding public wifi), lots of free beverage and snacks, some magazines, comfortable seating, not as noisy as the terminal. Bring a set of ear buds. You'll want to listen to music (even if it's on your laptop or phone) or the headset on the plane will be broken and there's a crying infant in the row behind you. Finally, get up and move a lot. It's healthy for you, avoids cramps and reduces jet lag. For longer flights, I will often download a movie from iTunes to my laptop. Even on the plane--if the flight is 2 hours or longer, every 30 minutes just get up and walk up and down a aisle a couple of times then so stretch in the back and head back to your seat.
     
  8. TCampbell

    TCampbell Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I travel with my camera gear often and it's not a problem with the TSA. X-Ray's also aren't a problem (it's a problem with some film -- but not digital.)

    But as Joe points out... make sure it *can* fit under a seat (small camera bags that hold a body and a couple of lenses should have no problem. Larger "backpack" or bigger bags can certainly be a problem).

    While you might get overhead bin space, if you plan to use it during the flight then you wont be able to get into the overhead anyway (not if you're in a window seat -- there will be two other passengers to climb over and the flight attendants want you seated whenever the "fasten seat belts" sign is lit (and it always is during take-off and landing).

    You probably want to try to get a window seat on the "north" side of the plane. This way the sun isn't shining on the window that you're trying to shoot through (and producing a lot of glare.) Your profile says you're in Wisconsin... so from Wisconsin to South Dakota you'd look for the "F" seats and on the way home you'd wan the "A" seats. (seats are A, B, & C on the left side of the aisle with A on the window, C is the aisle. Then D, E, & F on the right side of the aisle with D being the aisle and F being the window.)
     
  9. BananaRepublic

    BananaRepublic No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Its not the US but I travelled last year with a European carrier called Ryanair, a no frills airline that screws any none conforming passenger for baggage and so forth. I had d750 + 24 70 + 70, 200 in a case and I had no problems just make sure your bag or case fits into the dimensions allowed.

    As for the X ray I had an issue about 6 years ago where one of my cards was wiped clean by the X ray but this is no longer issue now at least for sandisk cards and probably others two.

    Someone mentioned that security asked him what brand of camera he had this was probably a strategy to catch out any naredo-wells. It might be a good idea to mention it to security that there is a camera in the case in case one of them gets a burst of strength and flips the case or something. Also keep an eye on it always as someone may heft of with it unbeknown to you.
     
  10. Dave Colangelo

    Dave Colangelo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have traveled to Europe with my gear a few times as well as domestically. Everything is X-Ray safe (unless you have film which they will hand inspect if you ask). Domestically I have always just put the bag on the belt and sent it through overseas they have made me unpack it and put all the lenses in a bin which is a bit of a hassle but not really a big deal. As mentioned if you are flying economy try to get in line as soon as you can when they call you to board. This will ensure you get some good overhead space. Although to be honest I have never had an issue with this. If you have someone sitting in your row and you get there first its not a terrible idea to offer to put their bag in the overhead compartment for them. This will allow you to make sure they dont just shove it in willy nilly and crush your gear. FWIW most modern camera bags are pretty nicely padded and it should not be an issue and unless you have a really big one its well with in the limits of the TSA sizes. If you are worried about the cards you can ask for a hand inspection (they wont put it through the X-Ray Machine), domestically here in the US they are pretty good about granting them. They will however pull you aside and it will take a few extra minutes. Another solution is to shoot on site, and get to a computer and back up the files in the cloud (G-Drive, Dropbox etc) before heading home. Then even if the cards have issues you have the images.

    There is lots to photograph on a flight but it also depends on time of day and weather. In IMC you really wont see much although fog can be cool in some respects. I love airplanes so basically everything aside from TSA is cool to me and I sit at the terminal with camera in hand watching everything go by. Depending on what you are flying over there can be lots of neat landscape features to shoot.

    Photographing through a plane window can be problematic if there is a lot of glare but here is an interesting article on that.

    There is a lot to see out the windows so keep you eyes peeled, I will be a bit biased however and say that the best view is from the front seat....

    5,500Ft. over southern DE
    28309167932_990c9b9bff_k.jpg

    Philly Class B clearance en-route to KWWD 2,500 FT
    28380730866_315c4e190e_k.jpg

    Final Approach into KDYL
    28309178122_ed88dec88b_k.jpg




    Regards
    Dave
     

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    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
  11. Dave Colangelo

    Dave Colangelo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My only advice here would be that either good auto-pilot or a competent co-pilot helps quite a bit.

    Dave
     

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