Feeling lucky today?

Does luck play a role in capturing that “perfect” moment in a photograph? You know the kind of moment I mean… when the shadow of a cloud is just right… or perhaps when a ray of sunshine breaks through the overcast and hits the subject of your photo? For me, the answer is yes – sometimes.
Generally, I feel that I make my own luck by continually practicing my craft. This improves my ability to anticipate those “perfect” moments and if I take enough pictures, I improve the odds of having camera in-hand when one of those moments comes along.
A couple of years ago I had one of those moments that led to one of my favourite photos. I was traveling a rural road through Eastern Ontario and had stopped to take some shots of an abandoned farmhouse.

Farmhouse, from the gate.

I changed to a long telephoto lens to pick out some of the interesting details of the building. It had a sheet-metal roof that had rusted into most interesting patterns of colour.

Red roof

Moving in closer, I started to take a look at the doors and windows. (Looking at my portfolio, you can see I have a thing about windows and doors.)

Front door
Side windows

Taking one more shot of the side windows was when good luck struck in the form of a startled bird. Look in the upper left of the photo below to see it.

Good luck shows up.

In a perfect world, I would have caught the bird in the centre of my frame with my telephoto at max zoom. But the world I live in isn’t like that, so I had to work with what I had. With a heavy crop I was able to simulate the zoom in post-processing. This left me with the essence I wanted: a splash of bright colour and a powerful diagonal line with the diagonal reinforced by the gesture of the bird and the shadow on the side of the house.

Black Bird

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