In most circumstances, photography is 10% skill, and 90% luck. I've been saying that for years now. The main difference between an average photographer and a truly good photographer is how he/she reacts when luck does finally present itself. Those who have trained and practiced instinctively know how to respond in most any situation, allowing them to capture these rare scenes when they finally occur. Though I don't claim to be a truly good photographer by any means, I often find myself in circumstances where I am given an amazing opportunity to capture a moment. And when all the elements collide, I know I am in for a treat.
The photograph above is one such occurrence. Quite frankly, this photograph should not have happened. My original plans to go on an adventure last night were first challenged when I couldn't find anyone to take with me. Instead of letting it stop me, I went ahead and decided to go alone. Though my original destination was an overlook that looked quite promising, I was blocked by a series of closed gates and "Private Property" signs. My plans had changed, and I figured my chances of getting any photos that night had gone down the drain. Instead of turning around and going home, I checked the map on my phone, and found that I could keep going down the road I was on to eventually get home. The narrow and windy road took me on an awesome adventure down the side of a hill, where I decided to pull over at the spur of a moment and set up my tripod. After capturing a couple of fairly uninteresting starlit shots, I set up my camera for one last exposure. When I pressed the shutter button, there wasn't any trace of a car in sight. But right after the exposure started, I heard the faint sound of a lone car speeding down the switchbacks. As luck would have it, it entered the frame about halfway through the exposure, and exited the shot right as my shutter snapped shut. It was incredible and impossible to predict timing, and it resulted in a shot like nothing I had even expected.
Sometimes life surprises you. When I set out that night, I wasn't even sure if I was going to get a single interesting shot. But all of the factors aligned just right, and the outcome was far better than I could have ever imagined.