Or, as I like to call it, dumb luck.
Sometimes you just don’t have time to compose a shot, focus and shoot. Sometimes you just have to push the shutter button and hope for the best. Sometimes you don’t even have time to think … you react. Occasionally, you get lucky and get a good photo. I consider myself fortunate to have a few of these, with a story behind them that makes it all worth it. In the end I think the story (and the memory) might even outweigh whatever virtues the photo might have. Isn’t that one of the reasons why we take pictures in the first place?
This first photo was shot on the tiny island of Iona, population 90, part of the Inner Hebrides islands in Scotland. We had just left the ferry from the Isle of Mull and were smitten with the white beaches, hedges of wild fuchsia, and whitewashed houses. Standing in the center of the village – a small cluster of houses at the edge of the beach – I noticed a young boy playing in a doorway, and his shirt was exactly the same color as the trim on the house — electric blue. Knowing I HAD to get a photo, I clicked the shutter and hoped for the best. The result is what I hoped for … a piece of Iona in royal blue.
The second photo took place in the town of Monpazier, France. Judy and I had parked on the street, but then had second thoughts about whether it was legal or not. We left the car but as we did a man came out from the house in front of which we were parked. Thinking he might be complaining, Judy launched into her basic French to try to communicate with him. It turned out he just wanted someone to talk to and was thrilled to find that she knew French! I stood back a little and, not wanting to draw attention to myself, turned on my camera and literally took this shot from where the camera hung from my shoulder. Lucky, lucky, and a fun memory besides!
This third photo happened in Ireland. We had just entered the Sky Road in Connemara when Judy looked in the rear-view mirror and said, “Look behind us at the man in the road! Get a picture!” I turned around in my seat and saw a timeless image. I only got one shot, and again I was lucky.
So, while I really do try to carefully compose my pictures, pay attention to the light, and understand the rule of thirds, sometimes all that goes out the window and I just click the shutter. And sometimes these photos end up being my favorites.