31 March 2008

Hard Drive Failure And The Costs Of Recovery - Important Reminder!

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

31/03/2008 - Hard Drive Failure And The Costs Of Recovery - Important Reminder!

This post has nothing to do with travel it has to do with backing up your data on a regular schedule.

I thought I had learned my lesson a year ago when a hard drive failed. I had my hard drive shipped off to Drive Savers for data recovery, it was well over $2,000, but I needed the data from my Apple 15" PowerBook. From then on I backed my data up on hard drives, but apparently not often enough. Saturday morning while working on some files my Apple 13" MacBook failed, it seemed like a logic board problem, covered under warranty, but it turns out that this is actually a hard drive failure. No computer manufacturer covers data under their warranty.

This morning my computer shop asked me if I had critical data on the hard drive and unfortunately the answer to that question is yes. There were a few folders of critical data, approximately 25gb of data not yet backed up, that are on the hard drive. It is not because I don't back up, I just hadn't backed this data up yet. I had been working an a schedule of about every two weeks, but in that two week period I loaded data onto the computer that needs to be delivered to clients.

The cost of data recovery? US$2,700 for a 160gb hard drive. As my MacBook is still under warranty, the drive has to go to Drive Savers for data recovery, otherwise I void the warranty (and from doing some research Drive Savers is one of the most reliable companies out there doing data recovery). Turn around time is 5-7 days, but of course I need to come up with the US$2700 for data recovery!

What about the MacBook? I can't have it back until Drive Savers recovers the data and returns the dead drive back to my shop, so they can then first send it to Apple for warranty replacement.

$2700 is not cheap, not something I planned on in my budget (especially with three kids, two still using diapers) and not easily dealt with, however the cost of losing the data is significantly greater than the the cost to recover.

If you have a MacBook you need to click here "www.harddrivesdie.com" There is a specific Seagate hard drive Apple installed in many MacBook. This drive has a fatal flaw, when it crashes it scratches the data platters making your data totally unrecoverable! To see if you have this drive click this link:

What is the point of all this?


Two weeks seemed like a good schedule for me, but my first purchase after get the data recovered from this failed hard drive is an Apple Time Capsule, or something similar, that can be set to schedule daily back ups. Come home, put the computer down and have it back up while I am sleeping.

(If you feel like supporting the "Get My Data Back Fund," feel free to donate to paypal@fishfoto.com :0) )

.............NOW GO BACK UP YOUR DATA!

30 March 2008

Simple Airport Security Approved Bags For US TSA 3-1-1 Guidelines

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

30/03/2008 - Simple Airport Security Approved Bags For US TSA 3-1-1 Guidelines

Anyone who has flown in the United States in the past few years has heard the repeated announcements through out the airports to follow the U.S. Transportation Security Administrations "3-1-1" rules. The TSA's 3-1-1 rules are simple, 3oz or less containers of liquid/gels, 1 quart sized bag per 1 traveler.

You can complain all you want about the rules, but they are here to stay. I recently watched a woman at the security check point at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (aka" SeaTac or SEA) debating the carry on rules with a TSA Screener-Agent. The woman trying to pass security made some good arguments, however TSA Agents do not have the ability to randomly decide rules on-site (it happens, sometimes it affects photogs greatly in terms of carry on items, but that is another topic for another post).

To make your travel experience simpler and more stress free stick to the 3-1-1 rules and you're all set. We all make mistakes, I have forgotten a can of soda, and have forgotten to take the small 1.5oz container of Purell hanging from my backpack and stick it in a plastic bag, but overall if you pack your liquids and gels properly you'll be all set.

To make life easier, Hefty now makes a bag specifically for use when dealing with airport security. Most TSA checkpoints have these 1 quart bags available, some don't, but for less than $1.00 you can pick up a package of seven of these to make life easier.

Normally I use a standard 1 quart bag, but with some problems now and again at check points actually having my bag inspected to make sure it was legitimately 1 quart, I like these Hefty "Travel Bags." The zip-lock style bags clearly state on the front of them "Meets Airport Security Guidelines" and "Quart Size." Any quart size bag will do, but this just makes it a bit easier for the TSA screeners to quickly look at your bag and let you move on.

You can check the bags out here:

Below are two images of the bags.

Happy Flying!

--Click Images To Enlarge--

29 March 2008

Myth : X-Rays Will Damage Your Image Cards

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

29/03/2008 - Myth : X-Rays Will Damage Your Image Cards

It seems like once a week I receive an e-mail asking me about the safety of having one's image card x-rayed at the airport. More often that I receive e-mails with this question I will read similar questions, with similar fears, on various internet photography forums. Rest assured your photographs and data on your image cards will NOT be affected in any way by the x-ray machine.

I am not sure where this myth started that x-rays would affect image cards, however you should not be fearful of the airport's x-ray machines and your image cards. Image cards are not film. Image cards do not have the same properties as film. Image cards are not affected by light in any way shape or form.

The reason we all used to have our film hand checked was because of film's sensitivity to light. When we would pass our film through an x-ray machine, especially the higher ISO film, the films sensitivity to light could have adverse results from the x-ray machine's "beam." Most modern airport x-ray machines won't harm even high ISO film with a dozen passes through the machine, but having your film hand checked is still a good idea with film over ISO 800.

Image cards are solid state electronic devices (except Microdrives, which I doubt anyone uses any more). Your image cards can go through an x-ray machine thousands of times and your images and data would be perfectly safe. Your photographs on an image card are bits of data that are made up of millions of "ones and zeros" not light sensitive emulsions as found in film.

Do I miss pulling out a dozen rolls of Ilford HP 5+ that has "ISO 400" printed on the canister and explaining to airport security that I pushed the film two stops to ISO 1600 when requesting a hand check at the airport? No, I certainly don't. I also don't miss the extra size and weight traveling with film added to my bag. (I do however miss shooting Ilford HP 5+)

Next time you're traveling through the airport leave your CF cards in your bag, they are fine!

Happy Flying!

28 March 2008

Flying With Fish On Photo Talk Radio - Tomorrow, March 29th Starting at 8:00am PST/11:00am EST

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

28/03/2008 - Flying With Fish On Photo Talk Radio - Tomorrow, March 29th Starting at 8:00am PST/11:00am EST

Tomorrow morning, Saturday March 29th, you'll have the opportunity to call into Photo Talk Radio and ask me questions about traveling as a photographer live!

I have been asked to be the featured guest on Photo Talk Radio during their hour long program from 8:00am PST/11:00am EST. You can listen to Photo Talk Radio live online at http://www.phototalkradio.com/ptr080329.html , and even see galleries of my image. The majority of the images in my gallery on Photo Talk Radio's site are of my travel equipment and how I pack my bags

This is a call in show, with a toll free number for listeners in the United States and Canada, so don't be bashful, call up and ask me your questions.......I'm yours for the hour!

Happy Flying!

27 March 2008

The Mountainsmith Lumbar Packs & Newswear Pouches - Connecting Them Is A Snap

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

27/03/2008 - The Mountainsmith Lumbar Packs & Newswear Pouches - Connecting Them Is A Snap

Over the past few months I have received many e-mails asking me to detail how I use the Newswear Pouches with my Mountainsmith Tour waist pack. With four more enquiries in the past day asking how I attach the Newswear Pouch to the Mountainsmith Day waist pack I think maybe this subject deserves it's own post.

First let me tell you that adding the Newswear Pouches to the Mountainsmith Day/Tour packs is so simple even my three year old can do it (and he has). The back of the Newswear Pouches have two wide and extremely durable belt loops. As much as I spent years loving my trusty Domke pouches, the double belt loop design is far superior in terms of strength and stability of keeping the pouch upright at all time.

Once I have slid the waist pack belt through the pouches belt loops I secure it in place with a carabiner. I snap the carabiner to the Newswear Pouch's belt loop closest to the body of the bag, and then I also snap it around the Mountainsmith Day/Tour lumbar adjustment strap. The securing of the pouch to the bag ensures that when the belt is open, should I use the bag's shoulder strap my pouch does not slide off of the belt. My carabiner has a lash-strap attached that also holds a small roll of gaffers tape at all times.

This set up is extremely simple, very durable and quite comfortable.

Below are two detailed photos of the set up

--Click Images To Enlarge Them--

26 March 2008

The Mountainsmith Day - The Hit The Ground Running Micro-Location Day Bag

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

26/03/2008 - The Mountainsmith Day - The Hit The Ground Running Micro-Location Day Bag

One of the biggest challenges I face in my travel logistics is trying to pack as much as I can into the smallest, lightest, most mobile kit available to me. Every job is different, every job has it's own unique needs and challenges. If I stay focused on what I "need," not what I "want," I can continuously make my kit smaller and more tailored to each type of shoot.

Two months ago I added the Mountainsmith Day Pack to compliment my often talked about Mountain Smith Tour packs. I have played with the Mountainsmith Day in various set ups, and as much as I enjoyed the bag I knew I was somehow missing the real niche' of this bag in my day-to-day shooting.

This past Saturday I decided to create a while new light versatile mobile kit based around the size and strengths of this bag. I wanted a shoulder bag that was light, but one that transfered the majority of the weight to my waist; one that could hold a significant amount of equipment and also give me more internal working room; one that could vertically transport a light stand and still not be a full sized bag. The answer to all these questions, wants and needs was obvious, the Mountainsmith Day Pack.

To separate my lenses from my reflector and flag/gobo I used the Domke F-803 lens insert, this gave me a more stable working space. The lens insert also keeps my lenses & flashes organized while going through airport security, sitting in the aircraft's overhead bins and obviously while out and about shooting in the streets of Philadelphia. With the Mountainsmith Day being considerably deeper than the Mountainsmith Tour I could fully insert my Canon 70-200f2.8L , with Nikon HN-28 metal screw in hood, into the main compartment rather than using an exterior Newswear Pouch. I still used my Newswear Pouch, however this was used to transport 2 Pocket Wizard Receivers, 1 Pocket Wizard Transmitter and a Calumet Swivel Adapter.

The tricky part was affixing the Bogen 3373 compact light stand. I did not want to attach the light stand using the lash-tabs at the bottom of the bag. After playing with a few options, I ended up inserting the the fully closed light stand upside down into one of the side mesh pouches. To keep the light stand in place I clipped a small carabiner to the rear top handle and a single leg section of the light stand. It held in place comfortably all day, and no one at airport security gave me a second look (I didn't expect any second looks at the airport, I fly with light stands externally all the time)

My "hit-the-ground-running" kit consisted on the following
2 - Canon EOS 1D bodies (one on each shoulder)
1 - Canon 14f2.8
1 - Canon 50f1.4 (on EOS 1D)
1 - Canon 85f1.8
1 - Canon 16-35f2.8 (on EOS 1Ds)
1 - Canon 70-200f2.8
2 - Nikon SB-28dx Speedlights
2 - Spare EOS 1D batteries
1 - Think Tank PeeWee Pocket Rocket (not pictured)
1 - Photoflex 22" white/gold LiteDisc reflector
1 - David Honl black/white Gobo w/speed strap(packed in LiteDisc)
1 - Bogen 3373 Compact Light Stand
1- Calumet Swivel Adapter
1 - Manfrotto 345 Table Top tripod w/extension pole
1 - Wein optical slave (used as a flash-foot on the Manfrotto 345)
2 - Pocket Wizard Receivers
1 - Pocket Wizard Transmitter
2 - Pocket Wizard to PC cords
2 - 4-packs of rechargeable "AA" batteries(for Nikon SB-28dx)
6 - 2-packs of AA batteries (for Pocket Wizard units)
1 - Small Roll of Gaffers Tape
1 - Ilford Anti-Stat Cloth (for lens cleaning)
1 - Set of Phillips Noise Canceling Headsets
1 - 60gb iPod Video
1 - Sony PSP w/Manhattan Portage Canvas Case
1 - Case of 4 UMD Disks (PSP Disks)

Another change in how I approached this shoot was to not travel with my laptop. Normally I fly with a 13" Apple MacBook, at times a 15" Apple PowerBook, but I have been seeking to shed this item due to weight and size restrictions. I know I need a laptop the majority of the time, however on this day trip I decided to shed the excess size and weight of a computer.

For entertainment on this day trip I brought a handheld Sony PSP with four movies on UMD disk. The UMD disks are smaller in diameter than the Canon EOS rear lens caps, and are roughly the same height as two DVDs (since the UMD disk is in a plastic protective case). I'd never used the Sony PSP before and really enjoyed it..........but that's for another post.

All in all for my day long trip to Philadelphia, two trips through TSA check points, packing the bag for flights on two regional jets and a few hours of packing and unpacking my kit on location while shooting I think this set up is fantastic. In the long run I can see this kit completely changing how I approach my short shoots.

Below are a few detailed photos of the kit in the bag and laid out with the bag. The images below also show some detail shots of the Newswear pouch with the Mountainsmith Day; the Manfrotto 345 and it's carry pouch attached to the Mountainsmih Day; the Domke lens insert and the Domke lens insert inside the Mountainsmith Day.

I have also added a few images from the engagement session this kit produced.

Happy Flying!

--Click Images To Enlarge Them--

25 March 2008

Come Fly Around The World With Fish! : The Round-the-World No Jet Lag Workshop! Nov 1-to-Nov 12

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

25/03/08 - Come Fly Around The World With Fish! : The Round-the-World No Jet Lag Workshop!

The Flying With Fish Round-The-World No Jet Lag Workshop is not really a workshop, it is more of an intensive boot-camp. Once you begin this program of extensive travel on a tight demanding schedule there is no turning back.

Photographers tend to have a natural curiosity to explore. Most photographers have visions of going out for weeks to explore a city or a country, this is not my reality and this is not the reality you will experience during the Round-the-World No Jet Lag Workshop. During this hands-on, in the field, workshop, you will be pushed to the limit of my reality as a traveling photographer.

My schedules are demanding, at times having worked in three countries, on three continents, in three days. My goal when traveling on assignments is to minimize my actual time on the ground while maximizing my potential shooting time in this narrow space of time in between. I work quickly, I work light and I work cost effectively, often forgoing hotel rooms to shower in an airline lounge and sleep on a return flight.

For those adventurous enough to join me on the Round-the-World No Jet Lag Workshop you will experience travel and the world in a whole new way. You will learn packing, planning and travel logistic skills that will save you time and money.

Through our journey together you will learn to think quickly, you will force yourself through jet lag, you will adapt to an ever present time constraint, and you may find yourself in more than one worst-case-scenario that you have to deal with. The travel pace and demands of this workshop are not designed to have you leisurely experience the cities we will travel through, it is designed to force you to create images during our limited time on the ground in each city.

All participants are limited to only what they can legally get on the plane as "carry on," and this must be comfortably worn while out shooting. What does this mean for you? It means you are packing for 10 days of summer, winter, city, desert shooting, including your bodies, lenses, batteries, chargers. etc etc etc, in a backpack you feel comfortable wearing while shooting and a waist pack, belt system, harness, etc that you can work out of. In some stops we'll have no hotel and be fully dependent on public transportation.

This is not an impossible task. You'll carry you cameras on your shoulders, one lens on each. You'll be warm in some places and chilly in others. We'll stop for laundry half-way through the journey and start shedding some excess clothes after that. We'll often shower in the airport lounge and they'll supply your toiletries. We'll often sleep in lay-flat business class seats on a long-haul flights rather than in a hotel (some airlines even offer pajamas), so no need for sleep clothes. The airport and the plane will become your oasis on the road to charge your gear, rest your body and fuel yourself up.

Don't worry, all of our flights will be in international business class seats (even the one U.S. domestic flight). Throughout the journey you will experience 4-&-5 star in-flight service, comfort and meals. Flying in this class of service is the only way to ensure you are comfortable, rested, well fed and able to get off the plane and go straight to work.

During this nearly 11 day journey you will shoot in six defined cities; you visually explore two "surprise" cities; you will create images in seven countries; you will work through jet lag in two hemispheres; you will travel from winter to summer to winter again.

So where and when are we going? Let me tell you! This Round-the-World No Jet Lag Workshop is scheduled for November 1st to November 12th, departing and returning to New York City's Gateway To The World, JFK International Airport. The following is the current intended route of "defined" city stops*
New York City
San Francisco

(*any city may be swapped out for another incredible city on the planet due to flight availability)

The two surprise cities during our journey are both World Class cities, on two different continents. None of these cities will let you down visually.

The cost of this Round-the-World No Jet Lag Workshop is US$15,000. This fee includes all international business class travel, all hotel lodging costs, all taxes, airport and airline fees, all "eVisa" fees (obtaining non-eVisas are the responsibility and financial obligation of all participants) and of course this fee covers your non-stop grueling fun as we span the globe in search of insightful images!

If you have any questions please drop me an e-mail at fish@flyingwithfish.com

The image below is a World Map of our journey (minus the "surprise cities")

--Click The Image To Enlarge It--

24 March 2008

Choosing Your Camera Equipment - What You Want vs What You Need (Practicing What I Preach)

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

24/03/08 - Choosing Your Camera Equipment - What You Want vs What You Need (Practicing What I Preach)

Since I first started Flying With Fish I have preached the mantra "pack what you need not what you want." Using this as a packing thought process has made my life on the road simpler and lighter. Most photographers are gadget-geeks, we all have our toys that we "sort of justify" and love to use, I know I am guilty of this, but when I must pack light I have one thought process, what do I need, what can I shed, how can I save space.

I have recently changed my choice in camera bodies based on my needs rather than my wants. When I was first introduced to Canon back in 1995 it was with the Canon/Kodak DCS-3 (the Canon version of the Nikon/Kodak AP NC2000c) which was based on the Canon EOS 1n film body; later in 1998 I used the Canon/Kodak DCS520 which was also based on the EOS 1n film body and when I switched to Canon in late 2002 I jumped right in with the Canon EOS 1D series bodies which was based on the EOS 1v film bodies. The Canon EOS 1 series bodies met my needs, I liked them, I loved them and after being a long time loyal Nikon shooter I was surprised at how happy I was with Canon.

Why is my choice in bodies relevant to packing what you need? Simple, the 1D bodies while comfortable sucked up more space than I need! The Canon EOS 1D batteries are more than twice the size of the Canon 5D batteries (same battery in the 20D/30D/40D/Rebel/PowerShot G9, etc) and on average shoot more frames per charge than the 1D batteries! Forget the batteries, the charger for the Canon 1D series bodies takes up nearly as much space and 4 (FOUR!!!) Canon 5D battery chargers when you factor in length, width, heigh and external power cord. The 1D battery charger, with two power leads, charges one battery at a time, while two 5D battery chargers can charge two batteries simultaneously.

Yes the Canon 1D/1Ds MkIII batteries are smaller, but they are still considerably larger than the 5D batteries. Yes the MkIII battery charger is differently shaped, but it is still larger than I want to pack. I won't even mention that the cost of the 1Ds MkIII is four times than of a 5D body (cost is not a packing issue, but it is a huge issue for almost everyone!)

For me camera size is not the big issue. I won't trade camera ergonomics for space, my camera is my tool, it must feel comfortable, it must be balanced, but everything else is up for grabs. I will miss the 1/250 flash synch of the Canon EOS 1Ds vs the 1/200 flash synch of the 5D..........but with the 1Ds (and every other body) I really miss the 1/500 flash synch of the Nikon D1 and Canon 1D (CCD sensors can shoot 1/500, CMOS sensors tend to top out at 1/250).

So while I have always practiced what I preached about packing essentials and only essentials.......no matter how hard it may be......I have taken my equipment to a new level and chosen my equipment on the basis of saving space, saving weight and being able to charge my batteries faster (which allows me to further maximize my time on the ground).

Below are photos of two Canon 5D batteries side by side with a single Canon 1D battery and two Canon 5D battery chargers side by side with a single Canon 1D battery chargers. I also have a photo of a 5D with my old (much loved) 1Ds body. The body sizes are about equal,everything else frees up considerable space and weight in my bags

Happy Flying!

--Click Images To Enlarge Them--

23 March 2008

Airline Lounges - Are They Worth It?

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

23/03/08 - Airline Lounges - Are They Worth It?

Anyone who has traveled through a large airport or an airline's "hub" airport has seen the private airline clubs that get tucked away because the thick oak doors or the subtle smoked glass doors. The simple plaque at the entrance "Members Only," just builds the curiosity.

In all honesty, most airline lounges for US Domestic airlines are not worth the hefty price tag for the vast majority of flyers. Airline lounges used to be a quiet haven with comfortable chairs, a fully stocked complementary bar (although I don't drink I know why people liked this), a snack and just a refuge from the stresses of traveling. Many of the lounges now are outdated, the bar is a cash bar (soft drinks are free!) and the snacks consist of apples of yogurt (Northwest Airlines and Continental Airlines lounges generally have bagels with butter and cream cheese in the morning which has always made them a favourite of mine!). When you check into most lounges you should expect to pay for the Internet. If you are hungry and bring your own food some lounges will ask you to leave the food behind or eat it then return to the lounge.

A perk of some lounges is a shower, although in the U.S. these showers are few and far between, especially for domestic and trans-boarder (US/Canada) travel. I have often landed in Atlanta (ATL) and sprinted to the Delta Airlines Crown Room Club all the way out in Concourse E, the international departure concourse, to grab a shower after a red-eye in from California and a connecting flight to somewhere else to shoot something else.

For international travel the lounges outside of the United States can be fantastic and well worth the memberships. What you must keep in mind is that membership and access to many of these lounges is only available to those in the airline's top-tier of frequent flyer program and those flying in business class or first class. This type of lounge access tends to offer a more serene environment and a better place to kick back and sleep.

While no US airline offers access to it's lounges based on frequent flyer status for US domestic flights (most do for their top-tier flyers on international flights) many international airlines offer this to it's frequent flyers when flying domestically and abroad. As a BMI Diamond Club "Gold" (top tier) frequent flyer I can access any Star Alliance lounge as a "Star Gold" frequent flyer. When I was a US Airways Dividend Miles Platinum frequent flyer I could not access the US Airways lounge when on domestic flights, much less any other Star Alliance lounge. So now no matter what Star Alliance airline I flying ( United Airlines, US Airways, Air Canada in North America) I just bring my boarding pass to the lounge with my BMI card and I can enter. No membership fee of more than $400, just a smile and a polite "Thank you and welcome" before I can go sit down.

So are the lounges worth it? If you fly less than 75 segments a year, or under 75,000 miles per year and you live in the United States? No, in my opinion it is not worth it. Do I use the lounges? Yes, only because I have access due to my status with BMI for Star Alliance and Air France for SkyTeam. Would I pay for it? Never did before, can't say I would before.

Save your money, get a decent sandwich and find a quiet corner in the airport. 8-out-of-10 times you'll be an equal experience to most US a lounges.

Happy Flying!

--Click Image To Enlarge It--

Relaxing at the US Airways Club at PHL

19 March 2008

No Jet Lag Euro Course & Workshop - Come Fly With Fish!

Europe is a continent full of history, architecture, diverse cultures and languages. During my "No Jet Lag Euro Course" you will have the opportunity to experience it's diversity intensely over six days of non-stop on the ground shooting.

For those photographers interested in learning a whole new way to travel quickly, effectively and seeking to maximize their time on the ground seeking out photographic opportunities the No Jet Lag Euro Course may be just what you have been seeking. During the No Jet Lag Euro Course you will experience five historic and diverse cities over a span of six days on the ground.

This on-the-road workshop is designed to push it's participants to not only re-think how they work on road, but also teach it's participants how they plan, pack and seek out their photographic subjects. My work as a photographer is often in-and-out in a day. My assignments have sent me half-way around the world for less than a day, and around the world one-and-half-times in less than five days. Working under intense limitations is not something you overcome, it is something you work around. My time on the ground is spent calculating my options and planning my images, regardless of obstacles in my way.

When I travel I place an incredible amount of time on the packing logistics of each job. Usually I travel with only what I can carry as I shoot; I will teach you too how to pack effectively given limited packing restrictions. With short spans of time on the ground, and never sleeping in the same bed twice, being able to work with what you can carry is important. Prior to our departure I will personally start your introduction into "packing what you need" rather than "packing what you want." There are hard choices in gear selection. I will ensure you understand these practical travel principals before and during our travels.

At this time, the "No Jet Lag Euro Course" will take it's participants through London, Stockholm, Zurich, Frankfurt and Paris (this list of cities may change due to flight schedule limitations, but any city swapped out will be replaced with an equally cool and interesting city)

Over these intensive six days you will learn how to work around time constraints, how to ignore obstacles in your way and how to hit the ground running. You will learn a whole new inspiring set of skills that will carry over to your work as an editorial, wedding or corporate photographer.

The No Jet Lag Euro Course is scheduled to depart from Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) on November 30th and return to Washington Dulles on the 6th of December. This intensive workshop is US$4,500 and is inclusive of all air travel from Washington Dulles and point-of-departure and all flights within Europe. The No Jet Lag Euro Course requires a minimum of four participants and can travel with a maximum of six participants.

For those who sign up for the No Jet Lag Euro Course before April 15th the workshop cost will be $4,000 for early enrollment.

If you have any questions please drop me an e-mail at fish@flyingwithfish.com

Happy Flying!


16 March 2008

Portable Tripod Flashlights: Small, Useful, Multipurposed

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

16/03/08 - Portable Tripod Flashlights: Small, Useful, Multipurposed

I must have half-a-dozen flashlights I use for work. When I travel I often end up with two or three in my bags. One is a Maglite MiniMag with rear-button switch and LED bulb (rather than the normal twist-on type with standard bulb), another is the Maglite Solitaire keychain sized MagLite that is attached to the inside of my waist pack, usually attached to my ThinkTank PeeWee Pocket Rocket CF card wallet, and a third is the Stanley MiniTripod Flashlight.

The Stanley MiniTripod Flashlight looks like a toy. Out of the box this flashlight has a keychain at the end of the center post, I have sawed the end of this center post off, at the bottom of the first "leg holder" section. By removing the lower half of the center post I find I can spread the legs of the tripod further and make the flashlight more stable.

This is a truly compact flashlight. I use it when working in the dark and I need two hands to work. With a flashlight head that can be rotated 90-degrees I am able to aim the light at tripod I am setting up in the dark, working on setting up strobes in the dark, packing my gear into a Pelican Case or other dark bag in darkness. I also find this flashlight useful on a plane at night. My Apple MacBook is black, and the keys on the MacBook do not light up, so I prop up this little flashlight on the meal-tray and aim it at the keys to give me some light for typing.

I used to hold a flash light in my mouth, but that is not ideal, the Stanley MiniTripod Flashlight with it's bright LED bulbs, at US$5.00, is perfect for these situations.

Below is a photo of the Stanley MiniTripod Flashlight on, and with a Canon rear lens cap to show the very compact size of the light.

Happy Flying!

--Click Images To Enlarge Them--

15 March 2008

Electrical Outlets : Need More In Less Space?

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

15/03/08 - Electrical Outlets : Need More In Less Space?

As photographers we always need more electrical outlets. We need to plug in our laptop, mobile phone, battery chargers, iPod, etc etc. When packing light the surge bars and outlet splitters always seem to suck up space.

I have most of my electrical devices knocked down to three items I need to plug in on a regular basis. These three items include
- Apple MacBook
- Canon 1D battery charger
- Mobile Phone Charger (Motorola Razr & Blackberry 8700 use same charger)

I hate wasting space in my bags. If I can save an inch and an ounce I want to save an inch and an ounce. To eliminate the need for a large surge bar I started to use the US$1.97 three way splitters you can find at any hardware store (technically they are called "Polarized - Single Receptacle to 3 Outlets" or "Rubber Polarized Triple Adapter"). These little items are often overlooked. Many people look at them with their two-prong outlet and dismiss them. I used to think this way until I started thinking about Japan. What does Japan have to do with electrical outlets? Well in Japan the electrical outlets are the same as they are in North America (the continent I call home), except they are two prong only. No grounding third-pin in the Japanese outlets. I did some tests with my gear and found that if I used a three prong plug, and pulled out the grounding pin, I had no problems.

This playing around with my plugs let me buy, and mutilate, a series of US$1.97 three-way splitters. When I buy a new splitter I figure out the depth of the grounding-pin in my plugs and cut away a hole in the splitter. It is not pretty, it is not precise, but it does not need to be pretty or precise. I make sure the 3rd pin touches the plastic/rubber of the splitter so it does not come into contact with metal, and to allow me to use all three outlets in the splitter.

By using these small devices I am able to carry an item about the same size as two 9volt batteries taped together (slightly larger, but not really) that gives me three fully usable outlets, while taking up virtually no space in my bag.

Below I have posted a few photos of one of my three-way splitters. It is shown from the top, the front, the notch cut in one side, and with a 3-prong plug inserted into it.

Happy Flying!

--Click Images To Enlarge Them--

12 March 2008

Keeping Your Passport Current & Paying Attention To Visas

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

12/03/08 - Keeping Your Passport Current & Paying Attention To Visas

Recently I have received quite a few questions regarding passports. One e-mail this morning regarding a Canadian needing to expedite the renewal of their British passport to travel to the United States really got me thinking about this subject.

Most people I speak to pay no attention to their passport or when it expires (mine expires 13 Feb 2013) until it is to late. Many people do not realize most countries will not admit you if your passport expires in less than 90 days.

This is IMPORTANT INFORMATION for any traveler. If you have flown half-way around the world and your passport expires in less than 90 days you may be denied entry and flown back home on the next available flight.

If you are less than two weeks from your date of international travel, many countries will allow you to visit the passport office in person, with proof of travel, to renew your passport on site. I have done this in Boston , having had my passport office appointment for 1:00PM, picked up my passport at 4:00pm and boarded a 7:00pm flight to London.

For those of you unsure about Visa requirements always check them out before departing for a trip! Someone countries issue a visa upon arrival (such as Bahrain) some do not issue them at all upon arrival (such as China) and some issue an "e-Visa" (such as Australia). I have been amazed at the e-mails I have received from travelers, some seasoned travelers who tell me they have had troubles trying to enter a country without a visa.

Visas are not a formality. Visas are not a suggestion. Visa's are required or you will be denied entry!

I know this may seem basic and mundane, but you need to keep this information handy.

Now go put your computer down and check out your passport expiration date!

Happy Flying

--Click The Image To Enlarge It--

03 March 2008

Theft At Airport Security Check Points - Don't Be A Victim!

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

03/03/08 - Theft At Airport Security Check Points - Don't Be A Victim!

A photographer recently e-mailed me that her iPhone had been stolen while going through security at the Philadelphia International Airport. The initial e-mail asked the best course action of trying to deal with the TSA and Philadelphia Police Department, as neither agency seemed to care much about her loss.

The fact is the TSA and most local police departments do not have the resources to track down minor thefts. I informed this photographer that she should contact the TSA Supervisor Desk and PPD at PHL and ask them to review the tapes. Everyone passing through a TSA check point has a name and a "positive ID," the problem of course is matching up that positive ID and a face. Today I was informed that the PPD pulled the tapes and they could see the man behind this photographer reach into her bin and remove the iPhone...............................the problem of course is no clear view of the face and no name to match it to.

As I have discussed multiple times before on Flying With Fish, there are some thieves who make their living in airports. People think I am an alarmist; the fact is these people are out there and there are ways to protect yourself, even when going through an area you think is "secure" such as a TSA check point. Who'd be dumb enough to commit a crime on front of dozens of United States Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, Agents? Skilled thieves, that's who. These thieves are not that dumb, they are skilled and brazen.

What some of these thieves do is this; they find the lowest fare for travel from a high traffic airport and check in early online. By checking in online these thieves can have their boarding pass for a 9:00pm flight 24 hours before boarding the plane, and get through security when the security check point opens at 5:00am. The thieves spend their day people watching. They are looking for body language, items out in the open, people who seem unfamiliar with security procedures and those who seem confused and easily distracted by dealing with all the procedures for crossing from the "land side" to the "air side" of security. The "professional airport thief" has a subtle way of getting in line behind their target. You won't know the thief is there until they are gone.

In the course of a day a skilled thieve can go through security at an airport like PHL a dozen times. These thieves go from one check in point to another and use tactics like waiting for lunch shifts and shift changes. By waiting for shift changes these thieves can cross back and forth without being noticed, they can avoid the problem of already having a screeners initials on their boarding pass by print multiple copies of their boarding pass on their home computer, hotel computer, or anywhere they choose to check-in online. To blend in these thieves dress like business travelers, carry a roll-aboard bag with a small amount of clothes or a brief case with basic items inside as to not raise any red flags. In short, they blend in and blend in well.

Some very experienced thieves fly short point-to-point, or low cost "hub flights" at the end of their stealing day. Why? Because if they buy tickets frequently and never fly the route a few times they will raise red flags in both the airlines system and the US Dept of Homeland Security's system. These people do not want any red flags. Some really good thieves gain "elite status" and use airline clubs to further their stealing endevours.

OK...........now..........here is what YOU can do to better protect yourselves from someone snatching your wallet, phone, camera or laptop when you go through the TSA security check point at any airport.

1) Before you get to the metal detector place your wallet, phone, keys, watch, or anything else you may have on you that will set off the alarm in the pockets of your jacket or in your bag. Somewhere that is not easily accessible for a their to "snatch and walk."

2) Right as you are about to place your bags and bins down pat yourself down from one end to the other. By patting yourself down you may find some items, like change in your pockets. Do NOT separate the personal items you have removed from yourself, keep them all in one place, all in one bin

3) Do not cross the metal detector until you see your open bins have started to enter the x-ray machine.

4) From the time you approach the metal detector to the time you arrive back at the x-ray machine NEVER take your eyes off the x-ray machines exit runoff area!!!!!

5) Make sure the FIRST bin you place through is the bin with you shoes, jacket, etc that has your personal items. Thieves will not spend time going through your pockets; they only want what is open and readily accessible. If you need to, place these items in your shoes or in a baseball hat you then cover with your jacket. These thieves can't rummage for items, they only want what is readily available to them.

6) The second bin through should be your laptop. By the time you clear the TSA metal detector you should arrive at the x-ray machine with the laptop (in a less congested airport you'll arrive with the first bin). In some airports, or at certain times of the day I place my laptop through first. It is a judgment call on my part.

7) Place your bags last onto the x-ray machine belt . Always place the bag most likely to be pulled for secondary hand-screening last in the order of the bags you are having screened. By doing this you ensure you have all your items in your possession before the TSA Agent-Screener pulls your bag to open it.

8) If your bag is pulled for secondary screening (and mine are 90% of the time) be polite to the agent and NEVER act confused by this. If you act confused or become forgetful as a result of your bag being pulled for secondary screening you open yourself up to becoming a target again. This is a clear sign to the airport thieves that you are inexperienced and can easily be distracted.

9) When you find your seat in the gate area try and find a corner, it gives you two walls of protection

10) Just be alert and if need be always travel with a small locking zip-cable and a small combination lock to secure your bags to a bench or post. You never can be to secure!

If I may quote Sgt Esterhaus from the TV show Hill Street Blues : "Hey... Let's be careful out there!"

Happy Flying!