Years ago I wrote in my profile somewhere, “Photography provides a way to capture time and then travel back there whenever you wish. Every time you look at a photo, it can transport you back to that moment, allowing you to relive and remember.”
Recently, I was browsing through some of my old photos and came across a series I took in 2004, back in my Canon days with the 10d. About a week after I retired from flying airplanes for Delta Air Lines, I struck out on a solo photo journey through part of the great American southwest. The main points of interest on my itenerary were those awesome national parks: The Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Canyonlands.
There’s a common saying that “Luck equals preparation plus opportunity.” I believe that.
Monument Valley in Arizona has some spectacular monolithic rock outcroppings and it’s best to be there at first light. I was there at dawn that day and got some nice photos of those big rocks they call “The Mittens”, but they were much like those taken by so many other photographers – nothing new.
A bit later in the morning after the sun was well up, I was driving through the park looking for more photo possibilities. I felt very lucky when I saw this hot air balloon just filling and getting ready for lift off.
I skidded to a stop, jumped out of my car and managed to fire off several shots as that colorful balloon slowly and majestically ascended right next to those huge rock formations. Wow, what a sight, but I’m sure the view was even better from inside the gondola as it soared over the valley.
Yes, I was lucky because I had a good camera that I knew how to use and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time (opportunity).
Many fine images are created by dedicated photographers who see a good location, have a creative idea, and then go there time after time until conditions enable them to execute that idea. But, many great images are a result of happenstance…just being there when it happens.
So prepare yourself, get out there, and get lucky!