While walking along the river before dawn I laid down on a bench and looked up, and saw the tree, clear and green against the orange clouds in the night sky, and thought, hey, that looks cool, and tried to take a picture.
The screen in my camera stayed obstinately black. I changed settings, moved ISOs, touched on different places trying to convince it to focus and set aperture for the darkest or the lightest areas of what I knew to be there.
And it remained black. And suddenly, I had a dissenting opinion, that there was not a clear green tree there, and that the sky was not full of orange clouds, but that it was all black, starless and empty, empty of tree, of cloud.
I placed my hand above the camera, hoping to catch a glimmer of it, and still, the display was a square of darkness separating my fingers from my arm, as empty as before, mocking me featureless.
Why was it so black, if I could see clearly. If there were lampposts giving light, and I could see clearly, and there was a tree. I knew the camera worked. What was I doing, by the river, at 4AM, on a tuesday, laying on a bench, looking up, with a camera?
You expect your senses to work. You expect to perceive what is there, and not perceive what is not. You expect to see reality, to not see irreality, to listen to things, to not listen to unthings, to touch truth, to smell shit.
What would happen if you had two sets of senses, two visions, and they disagreed, and you were not sure which one to trust, which one is right, which one is true? What would happen if the camera was right and my eyes were wrong, and I was actually not seeing, but imagining, and the truth was empty, and the tree was not there, and the sky was black.
Then I enabled flash, and the ugly picture convinced me to, someday, get a better camera, and never forget to take my gastritis medicine when going for trips on isolated locations.