The Last Photograph

Published 4 May 2014

Walking towards Rydal, in the Lake District

This is a photo taken in the Lake District. On the footpath to Rydal Hall to be precise.

In the photograph is myself, my son Sam being carried in his carrier during a weeks holiday based in Ambleside (more on that story, later.) The woman on the right is my mother, who (along with my father) were visiting for the day.

It was a nice, sunny day; warmer than expected. And we went for a walk.

There’s nothing intrinsically special about this photograph at all. Except for one thing.

It’s pretty much the last photograph that will be taken on that camera for, just a few minutes after this photograph was taken, the camera was accidentally dropped. It was only the third photograph I took on the holiday.

It hit the floor and the lens casing got dented. Not dropped by me, I hasten to add. The culprit will remain nameless, but needless to say, she knows who she is. And since the fall the lens won’t come out properly; the camera whirls and whirls, but nothing is forthcoming.

The camera, a Panasonic Lumix TZ-6, has been by my side since 2009. It’s been on the Coast to Coast, the Dales Way, the Southern Upland Way and much much more. It’s taken countless photographs on top of Lakeland summits, travelled down the Thames Path, and even filmed a few videos for this website. It’s had fun in the sun, and been a pain in the rain.

It wasn’t perfect. It had a tendency to get small specks on the sensor, which meant me dismantling it several times (once in a Scottish B&B with a screwdriver from Poundland.) In the rain, the lens cover would sometimes get stuck. And the video quality wasn’t great. But it certainly helped me take some amazing photographs. Most of those you see in A Sunday Picture were taken on it.

And now it is no more. Such is our throwaway culture that the cost of getting it repaired will undoubtedly be almost as expensive as buying a new model. The whole lens unit would need replacing; a messy business for a five year old camera of a model that’s long been discontinued.

For the rest of the holiday I had to make do with the passable camera on my phone. It’s not brilliant, but it had to do. No zoom, no decent panoramic mode, and a rather dodgy battery. The results weren’t stunning but it captured some memories.

And after tens of thousands of photographs (probably – hey, I took about 1,500 on the Southern Upland Way alone) my Lumix TZ6 is off to the retirement home. Also known as the small electrical appliance recycling bin, in Sainsburys car park back home.

So long my trusty friend. I will miss you.

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