packing jigsaw: traveling with photo & video equipment with brendon o'hagan


As photographers/filmmakers living in New Zealand our client list is diverse. We have a wide range of subject matter, ranging from trains to super yachts. It’s a great job, and one that we enjoy.

We travel a lot for our assignments: well over 100 flights a year and many road trips. I can't say we have cracked the travel thing yet, but after almost 30 years in the game we are slowly getting closer to making traveling with camera gear a little bit easier. Here is how we travel for an away shoot by airplane.


Words and photos by Brendon O'Hagan


We usually shoot stills and video on most trips, so that means taking two camera kits, one for video and one for stills. We like to mix things up a bit. I’m an all Canon shooter for video and stills because all my lenses work on both cameras.



I usually travel with two Pelican Air Cases that are checked in. I use f-stop’s ICUs to divide up the camera kits. When I’m at the other end I can either leave the Pelican cases at a hotel or operate out of the back of a rental car. My tripod and all my clothes go in dry bags into the cases, because they are easy to pack around the gear. I also carry a drone with me to most places.



Batteries are an issue flying, so I use one of f-stop’s accessory cases to carry all my batteries. Usually when going through the x-rays I lay out the opened case to make it easier for security to check it. I have never had a problem. With the batteries I keep a printed document of the CAA rules for flying with batteries. If airport security asks me about the batteries, I can show them the CAA rules document. This seems to save a lot of time.



The f-stop Dalston is my everyday computer bag, since my laptop and one still camera pack into it comfortably. The Dalston is also my carry-on bag. The great thing is it doesn’t look like a laptop bag or a camera bag, and also looks light even when it’s a tad overloaded. It’s also my everyday bag that goes wherever I go during the week. Also, it is a great bag to work out of.

I carry my video camera on the plane with me as well. The idea is that if my checked bags go missing, I can still complete my assignment, even if it is with a very basic kit that I carried on the plane with me. It has gotten me out of trouble a couple of times.



Over time I have gone for small, light gear, such as carbon fiber tripods and the Pelican Air Cases, which have been a great purchase. f-stop’s ICUs are light and are able to be packed in tight.

I’m always looking to refine my travel system. Ninety percent of the time I’m a solo traveler, so anything I take I have to carry. I’m very careful with what I pack and what I need for each job because it’s always going to be changing.








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