19 October 2007

14-October-2007 : The Rules That Change Daily With Airport Security

Web: www.fishfotoworldwide.com -- E-Mail: fish@fishfoto.com

14-October-2007 : The Rules That Change Daily With Airport Security

When you travel in the United States have you noticed many inconsistencies from airport to airport and even agent to agent regarding what you have to unpack from your bag? If you have not noticed this you are either lucky or aren't traveling enough.

It is becoming an increasing problem. Many photographers now report being required to remove their DSLR bodies from their bags and have them screened in a bucket, just like their laptop. For the record you are not required to remove your DSLR camera. Officially the following items are what need to be removed from your bag for TSA screening

- Laptops
- Video cameras that use video cassettes
- Full-size video game consoles
- Full-size DVD players
- CPAP breathing machines

The last think you want to do is argue with a TSA screener over something as simple as removing your DSLR from your bag. The TSA screener has the ability to detain you and pull apart all your bags, or send you off to secondary screening which can delay you to the point of missing your flight.

A big factor in the inconsistent nature of TSA screenings is the high turn over of screeners in the agency. The people you see on the front lines are not paid well compared to the task they are assigned to, which is keeping our flying public safe.

A second factor in the inconsistent nature of the TSA's seemingly random changing of the rules daily, is that not all airports use the TSA for screening! That's right when the TSA was formed, it was created to eliminate private security at U.S. commercial airports. The concept was a unified and consistent level of security from small airports like New Haven (HVN) that are only serviced by one airline flying to one destination to the massive international gateways like San Francisco's SFO. But wait................... the screening of passengers and baggage at SFO is not performed by the TSA! All the screeners at the TSA checkpoints at SFO are employed by a private security firm. You will notice at SFO that the patch on the screeners sleeves are not those of the TSA and the backs of the uniform shirts are embroidered with "Team SFO." This denotes that you are not dealing with the TSA, but a private firm, with the TSA was established to eliminate.

The TSA and some airports outsource the functions of the TSA to save money. Outsourcing is usually a less costly option, unless of course you realize the average TSA screener is earning approximately $26,000 per year, or less than $2,200 per month, or less than $550 per week. Now this salary might be OK for screeners based in small regional airports, but for screeners who work at Los Angeles' LAX, New York's JFK, Boston's Logan or Chicago's O'Hare this is an almost impossible salary to live in. Also keep in mind that the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most expensive place in the United States to live and on average SFO's screeners are paid less than Federally employed TSA agents.

So next time you are asked to remove you gear be polite. The more polite you are the more polite the screener usually is. Keep in mind these folks are just trying to earn a living and that for the tasks they are assigned to they should certainly be paid more than they are.

If they ask you to pull your DSLR out, do it. It takes 10 seconds before the screening or it can take 5 minutes after the screening when they pull your bag off the belt and yell "Bag Check On Five!"

Interested in a hands on learning experience that will teach you how to travel quickly, efficiently , effectively and work through your jet lag? Please visit www.comeflywithfish.com

Happy Flying

--Click On Images To Enlarge Them--

Early Morning Security At PVD

11 October 2007

11-October-2007 - Help My Daughter Raise Money For The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

11-October-2007 - Help My Daughter Raise Money For The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Interested In Helping My Daughter Raise Money For The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation?

OK, I'm in parent mode now. I know, my Blog is almost always about plane, cameras, photographing planes with cameras, helping photogs carry the Olympic Torch, dealing with airport security, etc etc etc. Well, I guess I can break away from my usual posting patterns for one post to help my little girl out.

My daughter is walking this weekend to raise money for juvenile diabetes research. Unfortunately I won't be here for the walk , but it doesn't mean that I can't help support her in her efforts! If any of you care to help her raise money.....yes this is an outright parent help my kid help other kids blog entry......feel free to read below (it is a stock e-mail from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).

Lauren's goal was to reach $30. I kicked in 50% and was very quickly matched and far exceeded by Joe Ciarcia, a wedding photographer in Boston (check him out at www.symphonyphoto.com !), with a donation of $100.

Now with Lauren's goal far exceeded she'd like to see how much she can raise to donate to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation...............come on, it's tax deductible!

Below is the e-mail that was originally sent out by Lauren this morning

Support Lauren Frischling in the 2007 Walk to Cure Diabetes

I'm writing to you to ask for your support in a very special cause.

This year, I'll be taking part in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation'sWalk to Cure Diabetes along with a half-million other walkers across the country. Our goal: To raise $100 million to help fund research for a cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications.

Type 1, or juvenile, diabetes, is a devastating, often deadly disease that affects millions of people--a large and growing percentage of them children.

Many people think type 1 diabetes can be controlled by insulin. While insulin does keep people with type 1 diabetes alive, it is NOT a cure. Aside from the daily challenges of living with type 1 diabetes, there are many severe, often fatal, complications caused by the disease.

That's the bad news... and yes, it's pretty bad.

The good news, though, is that a cure for type 1 diabetes is within reach. In fact, JDRF funding and leadership is associated with most major scientific breakthroughs in type 1 diabetes research to date. And JDRF funds a major portion of all type 1 diabetes research worldwide, more than any other charity.

I'm writing to ask for your support because now more than ever, EACH of us can be a part of bringing about a cure. Each of us can make a real difference

Won't you please give to JDRF as generously as you're able?

Together, we can make the cure a reality.

Thank you,

Lauren Frischling

Please visit my Walk Web page if you would like to donate online or see how close I am to reaching my personal goal:

Follow this link to make a donation:

Thanks for taking the time to read this entry and thank you for your support!

07 October 2007

5-October-2007 : You Can Help A Photographer Carry The Olympic Torch In China!!

Web: www.fishfotoworldwide.com -- E-Mail: fish@fishfoto.com

5-October-2007 : You Can Help A Photographer Carry The Olympic Torch In China!!

We've all see the photos of the runners striding through the city streets and up the rural mountain passes holding the Olympic Torch high over their heads. The few, the hand picked and the proud who have bee chosen to carry the torch that leads up the dramatic entry into the Olympic Stadium to start the Opening Ceremony of The Games. Well now you can help a flying photographer be one of those few who can proudly carry the Olympic Torch!

David McIntyre, who is based in Beijing and Hong Kong is not only a former newspaper photographer and a contract photographer with Black Star but he is also the staff photographer for Cathay Pacific Airways! (yea, you were wondering how I would tie flying into this weren't you?). David is seeking to carry the torch for the 2008 Games in Beijing and he needs YOUR VOTE to do it!

To vote for him please click this link, vote often, have your friends vote often!

There is a security code to block computers from voting, so please carefully enter the upper and lower case characters when you place your vote.

You can check out some of David's work at www.davidpix.com

Go David Go!

Happy Flying!

27-September-2007 : Come On Ride The Rails Once In A While!

Web: www.fishfotoworldwide.com -- E-Mail: fish@fishfoto.com

27-September-2007 : Come On Ride The Rails Once In A While!

While my posts on Flying With Fish typically involve flying, I'd like to take a moment and discuss another mode of transportation.......no not he car, I hate driving, not the bus either, nope not even chartering a private yacht, I'd like to discuss taking the train.

All over the world the railroad system is extensive and can get you almost anywhere. In Russia you can travel by train from Moscow to Vladivostik, you can grab a high speed train from Paris to London passing under the English Channel, but here in the United States the railroad system is fairly poor and difficult to use outside of the Northeast Corridor (with the exception of commuter rail systems throughout the country).

You may ask why I am discussing traveling by train since I live in the United States and this blog is about flying. Well the answer is simple, I live in the Northeast Corridor and my two closest international airports are both 100+ miles away in either New York of Boston. In fact my local airport, New Haven (HVN) only has six flights per day, all six flights are on turbo props and all six flights only fly to Philadelphia (PHL) , which means I use the train often.

Today's assignment is taking me to Philadelphia, about 220 miles from home. Flying from HVN to PHL seems to be the logical choice right? Well not in this case. To fly from HVN to PHL less than 7 days from the date of departure is usually close to $800 round trip for the 59min flight! The same trip on Amtrak (www.amtrak.com)is $125.

While I fly this route often for various reasons, let's look at the break down to why I often use the train. Travel Time On Amtrak from Old Saybrook (OSB) to Philadelphia 30th Street Station (PHL) is about 4 hours. To fly from HVN to PHL includes the following, 35 minute drive to the airport, a minimum of 45 minutes at the airport prior to the flight, 59 minutes on the flight, 15 minutes to taxi to the gate, 10 minutes to get out of the airport. 15-20min waiting for the train into the city, 15 minutes on the train to the 30th street station. This is 3hrs and 30min of travel of constantly moving. If I check baggage (which I almost never do) I need to ad at least another 30min of time to this flying scenario.

So, for me, if I can save a lot of money, sit in one seat, relax, watch two movies, work, eat a snack and travel for roughly the same amount of time I choose to use the rail system to get to work.

In reality, since I live near nothing, HVN is 35 min away,both Hartford (BDL) and Providence (PVD) at an hour drive, and JFK and Boston (BOS) are both nearly 2.5-3hrs away depending on traffic, I use the train often. The train takes from easily from my train station to Boston's South Station, then onto BOS or it takes me to New York's Penn Station and on to JFK or Newark (EWR) and Amtrak I can go see the world.

Don't be a total air snob, explore your options and see if you can save money (often by taking Amtrak to JFK I can save almost $500 on flights to Europe!!). Check out what they may be able to offer you at www.amtrak.com or call them at 1(800)USA-Rail.

Oh, why was I in Philly today? I was hired to work as the personal documentary photographer for both Bono of U2 and Former U.S. President George HW Bush at the Liberty Medal Awards.

Below are a few shots from my day with Bono and Former President Bush.

Happy Flying! (Happy Rolling?)

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