There's been more talk than usual lately about keeping a camera with you; taking it places you might not normally take it; the disappointment of missing what could have been a great image if only you had; and the question of whether having the camera with you, though not at the ready, would even help.

Opinions differ, but you can't lose by having the camera around even if you don't think you'll use it. I happened to be driving around Narragansett Bay (actually, across it) in Rhode Island this weekend and, because I was there specifically to take some family portraits, I thankfully had my camera with me and was able to capture this scene.

This was taken from the Newport side of the Claiborne Pell Bridge, which connects Newport (on Aquidneck Island) in the west to Conanicut Island (chiefly the town of Jamestown) to the east.

The following evening, I took some advice to heart, took the battery grip off of my old Canon 10D, strapped on my 50mm f/1.4 (my smallest lens), and went for a walk by the city pier. I enjoy walking down there because it's quite scenic and with the harbor and train station in close proximity you never know what you'll be able to see.

Here is an 8:15 Amtrak Acela departing for points unknown (probably Boston, eventually). I braced my camera against one of those I-beams you see ahead of me. No tripod necessary!

A close-up of a vendor's cart parked along the side of the pier, probably left over from Sailfest. I liked the reflection in it and the texture of it.

A handsome public observation binocular lit by the lights on the pier overlooks the Thames River and the General Dynamics building on the far shore. General Dynamics, previously known as Electric Boat, is a major submarine defense contractor and a significant source of income for the southeast Connecticut shoreline.

General Dynamics itself glimmers against the water. I was shooting JPEG (the 10D is so slow with RAW) and I set the white balance to “cloudy” for this shot to enhance its redness.

On my walk back home, this sailor's monument caught my eye.

I think the moral of the story is that it's better to have your “second string” camera with you, stripped down to its most convenient minimum, than to have no camera at all!