Visibility was poor as I descended the
Lakeland fell. A figure emerged from cloud, camera in hand.
Not a good day for photos, I
On the contrary, he replied,
Im taking some beach scenes for a cosmetics advert.
I gestured at the impenetrable mist.
Oh, thats no problem, he
assured me. Its all digital these days. I can add the
sand, sea and palm trees on the computer.
Why do you come up here, then?
I like hill walking, he
answered. Anyway, taking a few shots on the fells makes a
change from photographing the darkness in my cellar.
Have you been doing this long?
I wondered aloud.
Nearly fifty years, he revealed.
Ive worked for all the big papers and magazines. You
often see my work in National Geographic. He pointed over
my shoulder. I took the underwater shots for their recent
article on the mid-Atlantic trench, at the top of this hill.
In the mist?
No, at night in the rain. He
aimed his camera upwards and pressed the shutter several times.
Though I think my best work has been for NASA.
What did you do for them?
Lots. He paused for a few more
shutter clicks. Ive done all the Hubble space
telescope images. Pictures of structures in deep space are easy
because they dont have to look like anything in particular.
He opened the camera and replaced the memory card. Then, of
course, there was the faked moon landing in sixty-nine.
Oh God yes. It was far too difficult
to get a man to the moon. Mind you, in those days there was no
digital photography, so I had to photograph on a set to get
negatives to work on.
You went to America? I
No, He gestured towards the
valley, did them all on my vegetable patch. If you look
next to one of the feet of the lunar module you can just make out
some asparagus. Ive always been surprised that the
conspiracy theorists didnt pick up on that.
Did Neil Armstrong come to Cumbria,
No need. You cant see whos
in a spacesuit. They were all shots of George, the landlord of
the Dog and Duck. Anyway, must be going. He began to walk
uphill. The cloud is thicker higher up, which is just right
for some shots I need of the Brazilian rainforest.
He disappeared into the mist, the clicks of
his shutter fading into silence.
By chance, I was staying at the Dog and
Duck. I now understood the significance of the moon landing
photographs on the walls of the bar. That evening, I studied the
ones of the lunar module in more detail. When you know where to
look, you can see the asparagus.