After much cussing my second time at the site of a magnificent Vermont scenic, I have packed a compass in my camera bag.
A week or so ago, on a spur of the moment ramble around the back roads, I came upon a spectacular shot of a valley. It was late in the morning and the light wasn't good. Took some shots, but knew they'd be useless. When I got back home I looked in one of my Vermont atlases and determined that the best time of day would be late afternoon.
So, the next sunny day, I went back. Only to find that again the light was less than ideal. While the map told me that the road ran more or less North to South, it didn't show me that my exact spot was right after a severe bend in the road.
Had I had a compass with me on the first trip, my second trip would have been successful. I would have known the exact orientation of where I had located my tripod for those first shots and where the sun had to be when I came back.
Thus we learn.