A lesson learned the hard way …
… but a lesson truly learned! If you’re one of my „real life friends“ then you might already know. If you’re one of the three people reading my blog then I will tell you now:
Never ever in a million years fall asleep on a train with your camera bag on the luggage rack above your head! If you do so, chances are extremely high that you will end up being my companion in misfortune: Your stuff gets stolen. So instead of posting some photos, I thought I might share some thoughts on photography + public transport travel (from and to assignments, etc.) today.
That’s easy: Two people can look after each other, three or more people would be even better! Especially when you’re shooting concerts OUTSIDE the photo-pit a.k.a. INSIDE the crowd: Your buddies can act as bodyguards for you and your precious gear. At this point, once again, a big thank you to my best friend & concert bodyguard Thomas (as seen in a previous concert post)! Looking after each other is not limited to the actual assignment/concert, it also covers most things that happen before and after the show … e.g. falling asleep on trains, etc.
If you really have to take the midnight train goin‘ anywhere then treat your gear as the most precious thing you possess (it probably is)! Wrap the camera strap, the camera bag strap, every strap that can connect you to your stuff, around your body parts (e.g. legs, arms). Protect it with your life! Make sure it’s tight enough that you will notice when some fiend tries to grab your stuff … but of course not too tight that you might lose your arm or leg 😉 Then you can even risk closing your eyes for more than a few seconds.
They can’t steal it if they can’t find it! It might not be a good idea to post hiding spots here but I’m sure you’ll find your way. Be smart, under your jacket might not be the best hide-out for your Canikon/Sontax …
For the love of everything that is sacred to you, insure your damn gear to cover your butt in the unfortunate case of damage/loss/theft. There are many insurance companies that specialized in photography/video gear and related stuff. For example, in Austria there are some companies that charge a monthly rate of ~ € 9.00 depending on the value of your gear. Come on … € 9! That’s nothing compared to the huge amount of money you put into your fancy DSLR and the countless lenses.
The one thing you will certainly lose even if you get your gear back: The photos! I took over 500 concert photos that evening, those are gone forever and that’s the part that really really hurts! Take your cards out of the camera, put them into their neat little plastic covers, keep them safe in your wallet, etc.
If you’ve got the opportunity to stay at a friend’s place over night then TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY. There’s no use rushing home in the night when you don’t absolutely have to (e.g. having deadlines, etc.). Relax, have a drink, have a laugh, put your mind at ease.
Those are my tips, if you’ve got more be sure to drop them in the comments.
Have a safe trip and stay tuned!