Monday, June 6, 2011

Heads-up to photographers traveling to/from Brazil with small tripods

Recently, I traveled to Sao Paulo, Brazil, to attend a wedding.

The trip was remarkably smooth, and all of the airport-related nonsense was surprisingly painless. That is, except for one thing.

When I passed through the security checkpoint at the Sao Paulo airport, I was told that I would be unable to board the plane with my little Manfrotto mini-tripod. It looked just like this:


Large bogendesktopkit


I've been traveling with this little guy for a good 4 or 5 years, and it's never been given an ounce of attention by anyone. But for some reason, the Brazilian version of the TSA was adamant about me not bringing it on the plane with me. Unfortunately, no one there spoke any English, and I don't speak Portuguese, so I couldn't really get any details about what the exact issue was.

This little combination is comprised of three components: the base (Manfrotto 209), the column/extension (Manfrotto 259B), and the head (Manfrotto 492) - costs a little over $100, and I was quite reluctant to part with it. My options were to either leave it behind, or check my bag. And considering that my bag was a ThinkTank ShapeShifter (not a hard case), which contained my camera, lenses, and and computer... That wasn't gonna happen.

What I wound up doing was disassembling the tripod, breaking it down to its three parts. I asked them if I could just take the ball head with me, figuring that it was the most expensive component, and definitely the least threatening-looking. Fortunately, they conceded. But I did have to leave the base and extension behind.

Had I been a bit more quick-minded, I would've tried this - instead of trying to resist, I would've taken them up on the option to go back out to the counter and check my bag. I would have then disassembled the tripod, and put the three different pieces in different spots in the two bags I was carrying. I would've then gone through one of the other security exam lanes. My guess is that would've worked like a charm.

Anyway, just a heads-up to any other folks out there traveling with a Manfrotto (Bogen) 209 mini tripod kit.

Safe travels!

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