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Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

When Accidents Happen

I think photographic “accidents” usually end up being quite interesting. Though my initial response when one occurs is frequently a bit of anger, it often turns out that some accidents should be welcomed. The results are never able to be anticipated and often turn out to be a wonderful surprise.

What type of accidents am I referring to? For sure, not the ones where the wind blows your tripod over or your new 25-600 f1.8 VR IS lens goes tumbling down the side of a hill. I am referring to accidents where unanticipated interference occurs. You are all set up to take a shot and a gust of wind blows the trees or flowers and you end up with an unexpected impressionistic shot. Perhaps a person walks into the frame or a boat comes along while you’re shooting a body of water.

Here is an accident that occurred to me. I was on a workshop at the Oregon Coast and was photographing a lighthouse from a parking lot. The shot was nice, but probably never going to be a ‘winner’ because the community had stopped turning on the light in the lighthouse. It turns out (at least this is what I was told, I don't know if it is really true) that there really is no longer a need for lighthouses these days, as boats have GPS guidance systems and the captain knows where they are even in the dark. The lighthouse, I am told, ended up being lit only for tourist purposes and since the town had little in the way of revenue they were no longer turning it on.

But, while I was taking the shot, another car pulled into the parking lot with its headlights on. My initial reaction was mild displeasure at ruining my shot for the moment, but I took it anyway. To be honest, I rather like the resultant warm light on the stones, which is from the cars headlights. In fact, I like it more than the straight shot that I took after the headlights were turned off.

Coquille River Lighthouse
Copyright Howard Grill


Maybe putting ourselves into a position where ‘an accident is bound to happen’ isn’t such a bad idea after all......

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by Howard

© Howard Grill