The rain twists slowly across the landscape. It hisses around me, making the world sound like a dead channel, and it clatters against the back of my waterproof as I hunch over my rucksack to fish out my camera.
What a view.
“Please, let nothing change – this is perfect,” I say to myself, ignoring the fact that physically I’m in a fairly miserable state. However, just for a few minutes I will be able to banish what my rational brain is telling me – that my so-called waterproof trousers obviously aren’t, that I’m standing on a Northumbrian hillside in the rain on December 29th, while other people are laying on the floor and groaning from being mince-pied and turkeyed to the brink of death, and it’s only a matter of time until my boots fill with water, at which point Full-Blown Misery will commence. For a few minutes, I can put the camera up to my eye, and the world will recede, the same way it does when I’m tapping out or scribbling down words. For a very short while, it will be nice to not be here.
I compose my shot, hold down the shutter release…
I check the batteries. Oh well, I’ve had these rechargeables for years – I know they’re topped up because I did it last night, but maybe their charge has shallowed out with use. Fair enough. I dig out the pack of brand new batteries I bought at Hexham Tesco the day before, spend a few moments cursing because my fingers are too cold to lever the plastic away from the cardboard back, and pop 2 fully-charged AA cells into my camera.
I turn it on.
After a few seconds, the power indicator flashes red – and it shuts down again.
Alas. After ten years, my trusty point & click Kodak Z740 is no more.
But I can’t complain. I knew it was coming, which is why I’d been scanning point & click camera options for the last year. I wasn’t using it to learn to take photos – that’s what my Canon EOS30D is for.
Still, ten years is a lot of photos, even for someone as erratic with a camera as I am…
Ten years is a good time for a camera to last. But it’s a royal pain that I’ve discovered this at the beginning of my walk. Well, c’est la merde. I shove the inert, suddenly useless lump of metal back into my rucksack, turn and trudge onwards.
My Kodak Z740 is dead.
(Oh HAI, just-arrived Panasonic Lumix).
All photos: Mike Sowden.