Lee's Camera Fund

I recently had a disaster with my Canon 5D Mark II camera while photographing an amazing sunrise off South Beach over the weekend. While setting my camera up on a tripod for the next sunrise shot on the beach, an errand wave came ashore knocking me back and tipping over my camera into the surf. I watched in horror as my tripod legs were barely visible as the tide tried to take my camera out to sea. I managed to scramble back to my camera grabbing a tripod leg to pull it from the water.  I knew immediately that the damage was done.  I felt like I lost an old friend. I can only blame myself for not being aware of my surroundings, it was my mistake and my loss.

I took the camera and lens to the Southern Photo, a local camera repair shop on Monday, two days after the incident. They took the camera cover off – only to see the oxidation and moisture still on the electronics and the small particles of Miami Beach sand had penetrated almost every crevice, I could see the camera was beyond repair and so was the lens – it still had water droplets still inside the elements rendering it unsalvageable as well. The expensive camera & lens became an expensive paper weight.

What I lost when the camera fell into the saltwater:
Canon 5D Mark II -  $2175.00
Canon battery pack - $249.95
Canon EF 16-35 F/2.8 USM II - $1,599.00
Canon LP-E6 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery - 57.00

My total loss - $4080.95

I also called Canon Service and spoke about the incident. They told me that saltwater is the worst problem for cameras. Saltwater destroys the circuits and it will corrode the copper contacts. The camera was basically useless now. I shared my story with my friends on Facebook and many people expressed their thoughts about my loss. I never realized how many people actually enjoyed my photography.

My friend Cindy suggested Go Fund Me, but I was rather reluctant to explore this option. The photo used with this Go Fund Me campaign was the last photo I took with my camera before that errand wave.

I would like to purchase some new gear but I know I can't afford it at this time... it may take a very long time to save up to purchase new gear. The cost of new Canon equipment seems to have almost doubled since the time I purchased my camera and these new prices are out of my budget. However, if I cannot buy new equipment, I will also look for good used equipment.

B&H offers new camera gear at reasonable prices:
Canon 5D Mark III  for $3,099.00  or Canon Direct offer a refurbished camera with a 1 year warranty for $2,447.00  - when in stock. I also need a new lens that was lost but will settle for a cheaper model  - the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens – for $1199.00
Or I may buy a Sony A7r ($2,098.00) with Zeiss 16-35mm F/4 ($1,348.00) and a metabones IV adapter ($399.00)  to use my canon lenses which is about the same price. It depends what is available.

I will also need to purchase some accessories, like batteries, an L-bracket, intervalometer and memory cards.  Plus I will pay the cost for printing and mailing the photos  and my thank you.

If my love of photography was not so strong, I probably would not even consider creating a Go Fund Me option, but photography is a part of me and who I am.

I have been an amateur photographer most of my life. Self-taught, inquisitive and always taking photos of our world, trying to capture the beauty around us. As camera technology advanced from film to digital, a new wave of photography seemed to evolve and I along with it. I spent more time taking family photos of my kids growing up and then moved towards landscape and wildlife photos of South Florida. Over time, I had learned more about photography, software and editing techniques to get the most out of my photos. I have traveled a little but always enjoy photographing Florida. Sharing much of my work with Facebook & Twitter friends.

I need to mention that I am extremely grateful for the camera gear my friend Colby lent me, but I wish to get the gear I have trained on and been using.  I can see a big difference in what I photograph now compared to what I've done in the past.

With this Go Fund Me program I can at least give  each person that donates a print of my work, which helps me raise the money to buy the equipment I need.  I will also get insurance for the camera gear when I buy it so I never have to face this issue again.

Go Fund Me does receive a small portion of the proceeds (about 8%) to cover their costs for running this website and collecting the money.

You can view my work on line:

Thank you for your help and any support.

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Lee Smith
Fort Lauderdale, FL

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