Today, I was sitting calmly at my desk, looking through the past week’s Reporter when I came upon an event happening in a nearby town. I had put it on my calendar to cover.
Of course, I hadn’t looked at my calendar yet this morning. I glanced at my watch and the event started in 15 minutes.
So I grabbed my camera bag and headed for the door. After the obligatory trip back inside to my office to locate my glasses, I was on the road.
Arriving with about 90 seconds to spare, I rushed out to realize I had woefully underestimated both the temperature and velocity of the gusting north wind. The event, of course, was outside.
I stepped into the street and noticed many people in the crowd were wearing hoods, gloves and even mufflers. Who even owns a muffler in our area? I was in what could charitably be called a windbreaker. What I needed was what my father always called a “bear coat.”
But I pulled my camera out of the bag and started snapping away. The first thing that happened was a speaker said it would be appropriate to read from the Bible.
Fine with me, but when he started out “In the beginning....” I began to wonder.
I’ve heard lots of preachers, including my father, read the Bible and when they start with Genesis 1:1, there’s always this little thought in the back of your mind that they intend to read it all in one sitting. He did read the entire chapter but then he stopped. I talked to him after the program and told him my fears. “I would have stopped you if you’d gotten to Thessalonians,” I said.
“First or second?” he asked.
I busied myself with taking pictures. After about three photos I pressed the button and it didn’t do anything. I looked down just in time to see the little battery strength icon flicker and wink out.
I knew what had happened. This was the battery I’d used much of the week and I’d forgotten to change it out with the newly charged one in the charger, which is usually the first thing I do before the first photo of the day. Not today. In a hurry.
But I haven’t done this job for 39 years without learning a few tricks. Usually by f licking the off-on switch several times, I can generate enough juice to take one or two frames before the battery gives up the ghost for good.
I waited until I saw the photo I wanted to take, double clicked, was relieved to see the icon reappear and fired off two photos.
Relieved, I did the double click again to restore just enough power to look at the pictures I’d just taken and be sure I was okay.
That ’s when the readout informed me I didn’t have a card in the camera.
You see, practically the only drawback to these idiot proof digital cameras we all use now is that while our digits may be idiot-proof our brains just go merrily on as before.
The two cards that go with the camera were back at my office, in my scanner and on top of my computer instead of in the camera and in the camera bag, which were the two items I had with me in a different town.
After the obligatory panic, I cruised the crowd until I located a longtime friend, also with a camera.
I was relatively sure I could blackma....uh, persuade her to either take a photo for me, or let me use her camera, and get the result e-mailed later.
That’s what happened. And I’m very grateful, no kidding, no jokes.
So, the photo assured, I decided I’d make up for my Three Stooges approach to photojournalism by doing an extra special good job covering the little ceremony.
I grabbed my notebook, flipped it open and drew my pen.
Which didn’t have any ink in it.
I wish I could tell you this was the first time something like this has ever happened to me.
I also wish I could tell you I’ve spent the last 20 years getting mistaken for Tom Cruise.
I’ve pulled the “no card in the camera” thing before, but in my defense some digital cameras will let you snap away with no warning that you’re not loaded.
My suggestions to Canon and Nikon to add a device which injects a sharp needle from the camera into your cheek in case you try to take a cardless photo have been ignored.
At one of the first Rockdale Fairs, I was using our newest Yashica Mat camera, employing actual film—anybody remember?— which had a paper backing.
They were notorious for jamming, which was exactly what happened at the sale, while unphotographed steers, pigs and, for all I remember, humpbacked whales, piled up in a line.
I beat a hasty retreat back to the office to find our older camera, whispering my plight to the auctioneer, who waited until I was all by myself in the middle of the big bright arena to announce to the crowd: “And the picture man, says he’ll be back; he ain’t got no film in the camera.”
That was to have been the last line in this column, but my e-mail icon just came up and I clicked on it to find I’m being offered some financial advice.
It ’s addressed to “ Nancy Brown.”
I just don’t think this is my day.