It might be a photographers' cliché, but it's true: the best camera in the world is the one you have with you; all other cameras are useless.
Pretty much whenever I go for a walk or have a trip out somewhere, I make a point of taking my SLR camera with me. I am a photographer, so I should have my best camera with me whenever possible. You never know what you might see. Sod's Law dictates that, the one time you don't take your camera with you, you're bound to see something amazing. Like the time, many years ago, when I saw a man straining to push a huge hand-cart stacked with all manner of rubbish up the slope of a railway bridge, while a huge advertising hoarding in the background announced: AFTER THE DAILY DRUDGE… I'm still kicking myself about that one.
With two annual exceptions, I always take my SLR with me whenever I go for a walk on my beloved Moor. Why would I not? The exceptions come each June, when we help our farmer friend take her cattle up on to the Moor for the summer, and each September, when we help her bring them down again. There is usually lots of running, stumbling and swearing involved; plenty of mud, if you're unlucky with the weather; and there simply isn't time to take photographs—even if they were welcome. So it's safest to leave the SLR at home.
This June, we were caught in an unexpected thunderstorm as we took the cows up on to the Moor. We were thoroughly drenched. Coming back down afterwards, I spotted a photo opportunity which perfectly summed up our morning, so I grabbed a shot with the only camera available: my iPhone:
We were back on the Moor again yesterday. The weather was uncharacteristically glorious. As a small group of us waited at the Moor gate for the others to herd the cattle down from the heather, we spotted a weasel watching us from a pile of old fence-posts. It was incredibly inquisitive, zipping back and forth, checking us all out. Fortunately, I had my point-and-shoot camera with me, so was able to capture our new friend for posterity.
My point-and-shoot camera turned out to be the best camera in the world yesterday—but I'm still kicking myself for not having had my SLR with me!
“…wonderfully droll, witty and entertaining… At their best Carter’s moorland walks and his meandering intellectual talk are part of a single, deeply coherent enterprise: a restless inquiry into the meaning of place and the nature of self.”
—Mark Cocker, author and naturalist
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