There's a song I love that brings to mind a starry night on a cold hilltop overlooking a magically foggy valley, and the joy and confusion I felt at the time. I'd actually debated on bringing my camera along just in case the hike was worth it - and decided that no, I'd rather not have to babysit my gear.
One night in Florida, camping on the Gulf of Mexico, I sat on the beach watching a magnificent lightning storm in the distance, feeling the sand, smelling the salt. Should I have taken my camera with me to the sandy, windy, dark beach? Capturing lightning was and is one of my favorite things to try and do.
The rainforest - a kind of place I'd never been to and may never go to again. A place where it rains a lot (no, really?), where we'd be hiking for a while. To bring the camera, or not? I was so torn.
Thoughts of each of these occasions bring back unique feelings - The numbing cold of an autumn night plus wonder and awe, warm salt wind and the calm serenity of knowing you are safe from a nearby storm, the sense of adventure in exploring an unusual area.
I still remember. As time goes on, I do wish I had pictures. But I also know that I would have enjoyed my experiences somewhat less if I'd had to turn my attention to my equipment.
Those pictures would be for me, yes, but more so, they would be for others, to prove that I'd seen something amazing and then capably photographed it. Honestly, what I feel most keenly is the missed chance for some ooh and aahs. I can only hope that I continue to mature and want experiences more than other people's validation. So far, the regrets are outweighed by the memories.