Touching the Trophy
The memory of sitting in a hot spring surrounded by Autumn forest and mountains in the Grand Tetons National Park is rapidly losing ground to the maelstrom that usually precedes a big filming trip. Engineering always progresses at exactly the right speed to be ready about 10 minutes before the last case needs to be closed. Strange bits of metal are concocted to solve new problems, make new cameras easier to use or allow the operator to actually focus this time. Things that failed on the previous trip and should have been fixed weeks ago are found still in their cases - exactly as they were packed for the journey home. We have to plead with busy engineers to help us. Couriers are constantly coming to the door with new cables, or special electronic boxes, torches, special batteries etc etc. This is the reality of modern wildlife photography. Budgets, schedules, new projects demand immediate attention while automated sales calls dumbfound us with their complete irrelevance.
During all of this it was necessary to gather the Smalltalk Diaries team to come and touch the Jackson hole trophy themselves - and drink some champagne. James Taggart, Claire Berry, Charlotte Jones, Simon Sleath and Will Dohrn all managed to come at short notice, while Hilary Prosser, Charlotte Crosse, Richard Higgs, Ben Ward, Caroline Norris, Richard Webb, Fiona Mackenzie and Jonathan Jones will all have to come and touch it another day - which means we can have another little party later.
The last case was closed yesterday at midnight ready for the 5am drive to Heathrow.
Cases checked in - ahhhh - 1 hour of peace with nothing to do but read the paper - where I discover that Gordon Brown and Barack Obama aren’t very popular, but Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Tomorrow the Masai Mara, where the problems of rich economies in the North and West may seem very far away - but sadly for the wildlife are very relevant.