This morning while looking for an image to share on our Facebook page, I came across a photo taken by Rolf Maeder. The photo is quite stunning to look at given that it was taken in one of the most beautiful parts of North America and captures a phenomenon as photogenic as it is potent. However, the story behind the photo is the real star of the show here. It turns out that Maeder and several other photographers had headed out to the Grand Canyon to get some sunset photos of the canyon. I’ve seen several photos like that and they are amazing so it’s understandable that Maeder and his friends were no doubt quite upset when the clouds began to roll in and the sky turned hazy, hiding the brilliant sunset.
However, it is fortunate for us that Maeder and the others didn’t decide to pack it in right then and there. Instead, they hung around a bit long and were lucky enough to see the clouds coalesce into a storm. The storm gathered enough energy to produce some magnificent lightning bolts which Maeder was quick enough to capture with a long-exposure shot.
That got me to thinking about how often some of the best shots we see are those which were completely unplanned or those which happened after the photographer’s plans had been discarded (in this case by the weather being uncooperative). How often do you find yourself looking back over a series of photos you’ve taken only to be amazed at how they turned out despite the subject matter or the lighting not being exactly what you’d hoped? Or, are you the kind of photographer who will not scamper and scramble if your plans have been disrupted? How often do you see photos you capture after hours or weeks of meticulous work and planning versus photos that are beautifully unscripted? Which photos do you tend to prefer in the end? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
— da Bird
Photo by: Rolf Maeder