It finally happened. I’ve been all over the United States and to many countries with a camera in tow. I’ve hiked the desert of Utah, waded in the Pacific Ocean, climbed up mountainsides in the Rockies, fought tides in the North Sea, and traversed over rugged landscapes in Iceland next to raging rivers in the pouring rain. All this without any issues with camera gear. However, it took a perfect evening with a stunning sunset and the calm waters of the bay of Green Bay in Door County, Wisconsin to finally make it happen. My Fujifilm X-T2, my favorite camera, is no longer with us. I finally killed a camera. Luckily I was smart enough to plan for the worst and get photography gear insurance.
The Day The X-T2 Died
I was out in Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek, Wisconsin after a family photo shoot on Memorial Day weekend. Forget-me-nots were blooming all over the park so I went out looking for images. I grabbed a few cool shots of some forest scenes and was quite happy. Then I prepared to shoot sunset ans found a spot near the water’s edge. This sunset was absolutely stunning. I’m talking like 90%+ in Skyfire. The composition I found was pretty cool but needed a bit of a better angle to put it over the top. If I could only get a little closer to the water.
I felt the water, expecting it to be quite cold since it was still May. I was surprised to learn it was actually bearable. So I removed my shoes and socks and went in. The water was only about knee deep. I placed the camera on my Really Right stuff ballhead, had my camera and tripod all set to get the composition, flipped the lever and went to adjust the tripod a bit more.
Then the unthinkable happened and I’ll never forget it. The camera budged, tipped, and rolled off the tripod. It all happened so fast, yet it seemed like slow motion. I couldn’t react quick enough and to my horror, the camera fell and PLOOP! It sounded like a big rock and that sound will forever be ingrained in my mind.
I let go of the tripod and grabbed the camera. It was only under for a second or so when I pulled it out as quickly as I could. The X-T2 has weather sealing but it is not weather proof. That means it is not water proof. Enough water got in and since the camera was on at the time I guess that was enough to render the camera and attached 14mm lens forever useless.
I was horrified! This was my absolute favorite camera! I have a wedding to shoot in 5 days! And I didn’t even get a single shot of the stunning sunset!
It was a very quiet car ride home.
Learn from my mistake. Get photography gear insurance.
There are two lessons that come out of this. I learned a lesson to make darn sure that my gear is properly affixed to my tripod. The lesson for you is to learn from my mistake. Get photography gear insurance for your self.
Photography gear insurance isn’t expensive. If you are a hobbyist who just shoots for fun, you can add a rider to your renter’s or homeowner’s insurance policy. Before I started my business I had all my gear on my policy for something like $60 USD per year. That is worth every penny. If you make money with your gear, you’ll likely need a business policy. These policies are quite reasonable too and cover far more than just gear. If you are a business you absolutely need a policy.
I’m no insurance expert so I can’t give a lot of information to you here. You need to call Carol at State Farm for better info. But one thing I will say is be sure to get inland marine coverage. It might cost extra but having this coverage will make sure that the gear will cover you wherever you are. Photographers don’t always do all of their photo shoots in a studio. Many times we are out in the world and we need to make sure we are protected outside of our studios.
My story has a happy ending. My photography business has insurance so that means my gear is also insured. First thing the next business day, I called up Carol DeVault from State Farm Insurance in Sturgeon Bay. She was so great! That same morning, I had an order placed for a replacement camera and lens and she had a check in the mail. By the next day, I had my new camera and lens delivered and I was back in action. (Thanks to B&H Photo Video for their free next day delivery too!)
Carol and everyone at her office was so helpful in getting me back in business. They were all so busy catching up after the Memorial Day weekend but they still were able to help me out quickly. That’s great service!
Thank you Carol!