Going camera-less

A fortnight ago, after putting it off for a decade, I finally underwent surgery to sort out a hernia. I’m pleased to report everything seems to have gone remarkably smoothly, and I’ve experienced very little pain. Thank you, NHS!

I’m under instructions to take plenty of gentle exercise, and not to lift anything heavy for six weeks. So, I’ve been walking around the local lanes most days. Usually, when I take a walk, I lug around my bulky camera bag. But that’s not an option at the moment. I’ve been forced to go camera-less. (Well, camera-less apart from my mobile phone.)

I have to say, the experience has been a revelation. I’ve always found the constant burden of a camera bag something of a nuisance, but I love taking photographs, so along comes the gear. Being forced to leave my camera at home, and to walk a bit more slowly than normal, has been an incredibly enjoyable experience. When I see something that piques my interest, I simply stop and have a good look, without the option/compulsion to record the experience for posterity. It’s weird: this must be how non-photographers experience stuff all the time. I’m kind of envious.

After my enforced photographic break, I’ll be tempted to go camera-less more often. But I suspect I’ll resist the temptation. You never know what you might bump into on a walk. Not having a proper camera to hand seems an unnecessary risk to me. I mean, what if I were to come across something unusual like—oh, I don’t know—a fantastic wasps’ nest, and I only had my crappy phone-camera with me?

Well, this, actually:

Wasps’ nest
A wasps’ nest yesterday.

Dammit! It’s no good: I’m going to have to go back with my telephoto lens soon!

Stupid hernia operations!

Postscript: I did indeed go back:

Wasps’ nest shot with SLR.

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  1. peter anderson avatar
    peter anderson

    Richard – do you know HP Robinson’s 1884 ‘how to’ book “Picture Making by Photography”? Your comments here reminded me of his advice in chapter V … which was to leave the camera at home when ‘prospecting’ for pictures. Take a note book and pencil, he says. Of course, cameras in 1884 were ‘an encumbrance’. I’ve tagged you on Instagram with the relevant passage in a page snap of my 1902 5th ed copy of the book. The Robinson reference would make a nice point of expansion for your note … Cheers Peter A

    1. Sorry for the delay in replying, Peter. For some reason, I wasn’t alerted about your comment. The totally baffling Instagram tag now makes a lot more sense!

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