Archive for December, 2009

FAA Guidelines for flying with strobe power pack batteries


Big pile-o-batteries

For those of us photographers that travel internationally a lot, things could change drastically soon.  With the recent failed terrorist attack on December 25, 2009 there is a lot of chatter on the internet about TSA potentially banning all electronics usage in-flight on American bound flights from outside the USA.  This is pretty lame but if it happens it could mean for a lot of boring long distance flights.  Check out some of the chatter here and here.

About this time last year, things changed for those of us using lithium batteries.  Although the rules are counter intuitive to actual potential dangers, it’s another poorly thought out knee-jerk reaction to some previous problems with some lithium batteries catching fire.   For more information about the lithium battery restrictions check out There is a fair amount of information there regarding lithium batteries on domestic flights.

So, although this is old news…a year old in fact I’m still posting this for a pretty good reason.  My power packs for my Elinchrom Ranger RX AS Speed and my Alien Bees strobes use SLA and NiMH batteries.  NiMH, Alkaline and SLA (Sealed Lead-Acid) batteries are still fine to put in your carry-on luggage.  Sure, you know this.  But do you have a pdf proving to the TSA village idiot you can to include in your Pelican case your strobe pack is in to make sure you don’t have a problem?  I just spent the last half hour looking for mine, and fortunately I found it.  So I thought I’d share it.  Download it, print it, put it in your case/bag.

View the document here

Make sure you have your flash’s user manual as well.  That way the security agents can see for themselves what’s going on in those strobe packs.

Elinchrom Ranger RX user manual

It’s a good idea to read all of this.  Know the rules, have a copy of them.  Chances are if you get an idiot asshole TSA agent none of the guidelines matter and you’ll be stuck waiting for a manager that knows what the rules actually are, but sometimes you can actually convince the TSA village idiots that you are obeying the rules and that you aren’t a terrorist.  Just a photographer with a bunch of gear.

However, all of this being said, if you are someone that happens to have a Hensel Porty strobe kit then you are in for it.  Your Li-ion battery for your power pack is too big and not allowed on the plane at all.  You’ll have to ship it.  Funny since it would be shipped, in a 747 just like you’d be flying in.

Lowel 0133 Omni Light Stand – 9′ tall, compact + Lowell KPH Half Pole 3′ Extension


It’s again that time of year for me, the season is ramping up and time to replace old broken and lost gear.  In an effort to pack lighter for trips on the unfriendly skies I recently looked at my pile of light stands looking for a way to cut some weight and to get things in smaller bags.  In the past I’ve been packing my rolling ski bag in order to get my older 9 foot Bogen light stand in the mix.  The nine foot basic stand sits at 36″ long folded up and weighs in at three pounds.  While it’s a pretty good sturdy stand, packing my rolling ski bag around the airport and small rental cars really sucks.

Lowell 0133 Omni Light Stand

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4Bi9 House


4Bi9 house Christmas card photo

What the hell is 4Bi9?  They are a local ski film crew out of SLC.  Most of which all live together in one house at the University of Utah.  I’ve been shooting some portraits and lifestyles of Tom Wallisch,  one of the crew a bit this summer and they wanted to do a Christmas card to send out so I went over for some of the usual entertainment there.  The crew of Tom Wallisch, AJ Dakoulas, Ryan Wyble, Steve Stepp, Rich Fahey, Dave Euler, and Tim Maney.  They also recently had a bunch of pretty funny 4Bi9 branded shirts made so I shot some stuff with those as well.  Pretty fun.  Good people makes for good photos.

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Pre-season outtakes


Joss Christensen and Alex Schlopy hiking up to the snowmaking pile in Deer Valley to build the backy jump

Posting outtakes is something here I usually don’t get a chance to do.  This time around though the shoot was for and with the instant turnaround time with web, I get to post these while they are still fresh!  This few days of shooting was mainly about one thing.  Fun.  It most certainly was.  These photos were shot at Alta, Deer Valley and Brighton Resorts in Utah after a few early season storms in October and early November.  My lighting was pretty simple in these, some just ambient, but those that weren’t, usually just a few Nikon SB80 DX’s, an Alien Bees 800 and a Elinchrom Ranger RX AS Speed with the ol A-Head.  Of course, add in a pile of Pocket Wizard Flex TT5’s.

Check out the full gallery here

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