Thursday, May 14, 2009

Be Prepared!

Mass for the virgin of la Punta, la palma

Last night I went to La Punta in Tijarafe, to get some photos of the fiesta. It's not a big fiesta but I've been going cross-eyed with the current translation, and I really, really needed a break in my routine. Besides, in 18 years of living on La Palma, I'd never been to La Punta.

Since the procession was going to be quite late, I made sure I had the big flash gun (affectionately known as "The Tactical Nuke") with its external battery nicely charged up. It will take standard AA batteries, but it draws a lot of power. That soon drains the batteries, so that it can take 10 seconds to recharge, which means you miss shots.

So off I went, straight after yoga. When I got there, I phoned my husband, and the mobile's battery went flat, mid-conversation. Silly me, I should have charged it. Not so hot for an ex-girl guide. I'm supposed to Be Prepared, you know?

La Punta's a pretty little place. I found the church, no bother. The mass was still going on, and the crowd spilling out onto the patio. This meant I had plenty of time to assemble camera, Tactical Nuke, and softener attachment. I tested it out on a nearby tree - all fine and dandy.

Then I turned the flash off while I took a couple photos of the mass, because that flash is very intrusive. These photos were also fine and dandy.

Then the procession started, and I took two photos with the flash.

And the camera battery died.

Well the Nuke will run off AA batteries in a pinch, but the camera won't. So I found a handy wall to stand the camera bag on, and I hunted inside it for the spare battery. And hunted. And hunted. And swore.

My mobile has a camera, but that had a flat battery too, remember?

But all was not lost. By sheer dumb luck, I still had my son's compact camera in my handbag. Just 6 Mpixels instead of 10, far less control of the tricky lighting, and an annoying lag between pressing the shutter and taking the photo, but enormously better than nothing.

I got it out, took two photos, and its batteries died too.

At which point I thanked my lucky stars that I had spare batteries in the camera bag. By then, someone was making speech, so I didn't even miss anything more while I changed the batteries over.

Then they had fireworks, and I sighed for the big camera, but I got something.

And then I got hungry, and the smell of fried pork was delicious. And I realised that I had about 27 cents on me.

Of course a hamlet that size didn't have a money machine. I had to go into Tijarafe village, ten minutes drive each way. Still, it made the sandwich all the tastier when I finally got it.

By then it was 11pm, and I had an hour's drive to get home. So I missed most of the fiesta, because they were barely warming up. But yes, it broke the routine rather nicely.

OK, for next time I will need: spare charged camera battery, flash and charged flash battery, AA batteries, spare SD card, money, charged up mobile.

And brain.

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