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A Photographer’s Nightmare

Good Day Ray.

I thought I would share this experience with you. You may find some use for it within your growing photography Blog community and please feel free to edit it into any form that is usable.

I have recently returned from a 10 day visit to Porto Rico and had accumulated over 600 photos, a large number of which I was very pleased with and included several lizard species and a number of birds as well as the normal town, beach and landscape views. As is, was, my practice, I used a 30 gig back up drive to transfer my images from the CF cards at the end of each day. All was going swimmingly right up until the return trip home. I would normally carry the back up drive with all my camera gear in my hand luggage for the flights, but due to a momentary laps in judgment I placed the drive in my hold luggage.

My hold luggage was secured with padlocks through the zips and off to the airport I went. At the Airport I was offered and I declined to have my bags shrink wrapped before placing them on the conveyor belt, this was to be the second error in judgment that day, and my bags along with that of my wife and daughter were handed in. We were not expecting to see our bags again until we landed in Bristol (in the UK) following a short stop and transfer at New York.

On arriving at Bristol Airport and collecting our luggage I noticed the padlock was missing from my case and several straps had been removed from our other bags. I quickly looked inside and a large electronic picture frame I purchased in Porto Rico was still there and the Pelican case containing my hard drive was also visable, so we thought no more of it and left the airport heading home, this was my third and final mistake of the day. On arriving home, feeling very tired, we set about settling in and it was about 2 hours later when we got round to opening our cases.

You have probably already guessed it, my hard drive was not inside my Pelican case and the picture frame was not inside its box, both items had been removed while we were in transit and the boxes put back in my bags. There were a number of other items also missing from my case but the loss of the pictures was the most devastating loss of all. I made a number of attempts to contact the airline authorities in the UK as well as in the US, all of whom were totally uninterested in taking any details of the theft, even when I explained I was not looking for any compensation, I just wanted them to have the details of the crime, all to no avail. We have the same response from the insurance company who stated the theft had to have been discovered at the airport and despite several promises to call us back to progress the case nothing occurred.

How I am well prepared to take it on the chin that I should have kept my drive with me, this does not take away the fact that a crime was committed, but no one wanted to acknowledge it.

I have now purchased a large Pelikan box for transporting my camera gear on planes, hand luggage size, along with several other carry-on bags/backpacks and I would suggest that others do the same.

I am also considering not bothering to replace the hard drive but to stock up on memory cards instead as these are far easier to carry, if not as practicable for holding large numbers of photos during extended photo trips. The judge is still out on this.

All the best. Taff

A contribution from Taff