John Davey Hayward.

Camping out with the British Canoe Association : with chapters on camping, canoeing, and amateur photography online

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are commonly libellous. Ghastly distortions of
one's external appearance are produced by them,

Camping Out. 95

and we are assured they are excellent likenesses.
To have a friend take to portraiture is the next
worst thing to having him take up the fiddle.

The secret method of working, too, on the part
of the hand-camera, has led to some unpopularity
with regard to its advent in general society. To
one who is not always prepared to have each
deed he performs published, the detective camera
is a foe artful and not insignificant. It can
assume the disguise of an innocent travelling-
bag, a hat-box, or lunch basket It may imitate
any harmless object, and no one is safe from its
searching eye and its recording retina. There
is no other warning than the click of the shutter,
and that occurs too late for prevention ; but just
in time to tell us that, in imperishable gelatine,
our absurd or ill deed is registered ; the image
of which, developed in darkness or by becomingly
lurid light, and in a suitably odorous atmosphere,
is unaffected by salt water, and so secure from
the tear of the pitying recording angel.

By the exercise of the secret, stealthy espionage
of the detective camera, it is possible for the
owner thereof to become as unpopular as a mad
dog. If he photograph his best friend in the

96 Camping Out.

pursuit of his hat, there may be a coolness be-
tween them for days ; if a picture of an aspiring
oarsman be taken while the less interesting por-
tion of his figure is in view as he catches a crab,
the only way to prevent open hostilities is by
promising to destroy the negative. If one photo-
graph a lady in anything but her best clothes,
or with her hair untidy, or running from a mouse
or a cow, or anything undignified of that sort,
he becomes a nasty mean thing right away.
Should one, however, be so lucky as to get a
shot at a couple of lovers 'carrying on,' his success
is complete ; in one moment he can make two
enemies for life. Let him beware of threatening
to make a magic-lantern slide of the subject, and
of exhibiting it to a party of mutual friends,
unless he be big and strong, or very fleet of foot,
such a proceeding may otherwise lead to great
damage to person and camera. It is much
better to walk on as if one had not noticed any-

Photography is so easy now that few remember
the trying circumstances of the old time wet
plate photographer, " who used to go about with
iodine stains on his fingers, and a perfect wealth

Camping Out. 97

of collodion perfume on the breeze about him.
And yet he would voluntarily suffer ostracism
from society, and lug about the country a pack
as big as the effects of some prosperous old
clothes merchant, all for the sake of the pastime
he loved." A writer in an American paper
thus amusingly describes the disadvantages he
laboured under : " As soon as his plate was ex-
posed, he had to rush it into his dark tent and
develop it. He couldn't wait till he got home,
and then get some good-natured professional to
do it for him, but had to surround that dark
tent right there on the spot, and develop the
plate, and sometimes a case of galloping con-
sumption, while the landscape waited to find if
it was all right, or whether he would have to sit
again. The dark tent was a curious affair. It
looked something like an umbrella with a floor
to it It had three orifices in the side, and the
idea was for the photographer to stick his head
in one and his hands in the others, and go on
with his work secretly and, but for the all power-
ful and ever present collodion, alone. It re-
sembled the way the dentist worked on the
Girton girl's teeth. The operator remained out-

9-8 Camping Out.

side, though most of the work was carried on far
back in the interior. To an outsider the pho-
tographer, in the full act of using his dark tent,
resembled a man working a dress rehearsal of a
Punch-and-Judy Show, with the curtain down.
Now, if by a stretch of the imagination you can
picture a Punch-and-Judy Show that had some
minutes previously been rotten-egged, and then
draw the analogy, you will have a pretty correct
idea of the general appearance and perfume of
the place. In this exposed position the pho-
tographer was obliged to sit with his both hands
muzzled, and his head handcuffed, while the
neighbouring fields might be filled with billy-
goats, or small boys with sling-shots. And
could he stir ? No ; he could not so much as
even budge without exposing his plate to the
light, and himself to ridicule."

Let us be thankful that we live in the days of
dry plates and hand-cameras.

I do not desire the canoeist to make an idol
of his camera the canoe is a jealous mistress ;
but a small camera can enhance the pleasure
even of canoeing.

True, photography is powerless to reproduce

Camping Out. 99

the colour, the movement, the life and atmo-
sphere of a scene in any but a feeble manner ;
no description can bring back the sensation of
the breeze on the cheek, or the spray on the
brow the sound of the rippling water at the bow,
of the songs of the birds on the banks the glow
of health and energy in the frame : for these it is
necessary to go afloat on the lovely waters of our
country, and to view nature with a lover's eye ;
but some faint reminiscence of all these have we
obtained many a time as, by our magic-lantern,
we have recalled to " view each well-known


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Online LibraryJohn Davey HaywardCamping out with the British Canoe Association : with chapters on camping, canoeing, and amateur photography → online text (page 5 of 5)