Unexpected destination.

Sometimes you end up where you weren’t expecting to go.

Yesterday evening, I was driving alone along a familiar, busy two-lane route that winds through farmland. The sun hung low in the sky, hovering behind a cluster of clouds and radiating strokes of light.

This was a picture just waiting to be snapped. I knew those sunrays wouldn’t wait for long. Thinking I could use a farm field for leading lines in a photo of the sinking sun, I pulled over to the shoulder. Since I’m nervous about being rear-ended, stopping on the side of the road is something I generally don’t do unless a) the car is making weird noises or b) there’s imminent danger of the sudden appearance of an occupant’s barf, pee, etc.

I chose my camera settings carefully, poked the lens out the window, and waited until there was a shot clear of passing cars. Then I fired away.

I’m sure I must’ve been scowling as I reviewed the shots on my camera’s screen. No beautiful rays of light – a blown-out sky instead. Flat, dark fields in front of flat, dark trees. They looked stark and dead.

The photos were boring.

I fiddled with the exposure controls and tried again. And again.

Nope, still boring.

At that point I wondered why I’m bothering to learn photography anyway. Why couldn’t I make one half-decent picture of a graceful farmer’s field in beautiful light?

Arrrrgh. I’d risked stopping here, so I didn’t want to leave without a reasonable photo. But I was so impatient with my attempts at proper camera skills that I got fed up about being overly intentional with exposure and composition.

So. I moved the angle of the camera. I didn’t bother waiting for a gap in traffic. With a slower shutter speed, I clicked like mad at cars as they passed. I was so involved in this process that the fear of getting crushed in a rear-end collision was hardly bothering me. Well, maybe a little. Especially while the car quivered in the wake of roaring transport trucks.

Luckily, I had no incidents involving automobile collisions, weird car noises, barf, or pee. At home later, I pulled up the photos on my laptop. All duds… except (I thought) for this one.


With some help from Lightroom, I made it pop. I love the pattern of the moving wheel rims.

So I admit that this picture was kind of created by accident. And that the subject (or mood) isn’t one I’d first intended. And that it was the only one of a million shots that I liked. And also that Lightroom is my friend and hero. But if I’d given up when I’d gotten discouraged about my first failed photo attempts, I wouldn’t have ended up with it at all.

A happy accident, indeed. One I can learn from.



(Inspired by the WordPress weekly photo challenge: The Road Taken).

10 thoughts on “Unexpected destination.

  1. This is soooo coool, Vanessa! This is exactly how it works, being out shooting, experimenting, playing with different settings. Sometimes you get intentionally great results, sometimes it happens by accident. And one great image can make your day! Have a great weekend! Marcus

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The Road Taken: New Office | What's (in) the picture?

  3. This picture is great. I feel like with a lot of art forms people don’t end up with what they first imagine. The process is a journey that creates something new through fumbling, grasping, edits and mistakes. I must say I’ve never had any luck with landscape photos. I stand in front of an absolutely stunning landscape think it should be easy to capture in its obvious magnificence and when I look at my photo I just can’t grab it. Basically what I am saying is- I think good landscape photography is quite difficult- great shot!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi – thanks so much for your comment. I’m very familiar with the feeling of not being able to capture with the camera what my eye is taking in. I guess that’s what comes more easily to experienced photographers. I’m working on training my eye to see a little differently. Enjoy your weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

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