In photography,  serendipity is sometimes all you need or can hope for. Other times photographers  have to toil diligently to create a photo and put in a special effort to create a photo that doesn’t look as if it was ‘created’.

     Actually, it is somewhat rare in my experience to guilelessly capture an image of interest…

     There it is…Perfect!…shoot it….download it…Voila! 

     Even some of the most intriguing moments are somewhat tainted by time in the adulterated mechanical trappings of setting up a tripod, or making certain that camera settings are adequate.  

     But it’s the result, the capture, that pleases the photographer, and hopefully the subsequent viewer.  All preparation and manipulation, of body, mind, and/or equipment, seem of little consequence if the final image is as originally projected on the mind’s sensor…or a few years ago, I might have said ‘the mind’s emulsion’.

     The smattering of images in this post were but fortunate occasions…and all on the same day.

     Either an extreme rarity or  I was plainly lucky….?  Did I mention serendipity…Not to be confused with that ’70’s pop duo, Sarah ‘n Deputy…oh, wait, that was  The Captain and Tennille….my bad…

(There’s that lame excuse for grammatical humor that causes my children and wife to roll their eyes…. ) you too, huh?    

  …On Mackinac Island at the Grand Hotel, ostensibly to photograph the blossoming  lilacs that cover the area with burgeoning shades from white to deep purple and fill the air with their intoxicating perfume.  A welcome fragrance in a hamlet that includes a proportionately large equine population…

..I’m just sayin’…

 (Apparently the lighter the shade of color, the more intense the smell..of the lilacs, not the horses…Didn’t know that….)

     So the odiferously superlative lilacs aren’t ‘lilac’ but white… or to put it more honestly simple… the white ones smell ‘more goodly’than the purple…!!

I guess, on reflection…the ‘lilac’ shades of lilac flowers then provide the best of both worlds…

     As I was climbing the stairs in front of the hotel, through the dappled sunlight, I happened upon this one flower in a ‘spotlight’ so I couldn’t resist. It captured me, so in the sense that ‘turn-about is fair play’, I captured it. The photographer in me said to go pull and bring flowers covering all the shades of violet and swap them out one by one in the limelight  to see which ‘created’ the most appealing photo.

     The….uh….’Buddhist’ (?)possibly,  in me said, “No, this is too nice…Let it stand alone as a fortunate bit of reality!”

The creation stands perfect alone.

     In the woods below the hotel where the greenhouse lies and the gardeners begin their daily ritual of decorating the grounds by sinking their hands in the redolent loam, releasing yet another essence of life here on earth,  there are areas abundant with native ferns and wild flowers.

     Again, the dappled sunlight filtering through the trees overhead creates interesting patterns and textures…


not creates, but brings out and enhances the patterns and textures that in softer light are obscured.

    The thing about the contrast of bright sunlight with deep shadow, photographically, is that the camera can not record all of the nuances of light and color shades that the eye can see…which is one of the reasons that HDR processing has become ‘de rigueur’… (I did not use that process here…but I have, elsewhere.)

Or… the photographer  takes those tonal discrepancies into consideration in composition and exposure, through the maturity of failure combined with the patience of success.

And the third photo…?

     This happened to be one of those moments where it pays to have a camera in hand.

The subject IS the subject and speaks for itself. Hundreds of people walked by this spot and maybe hundreds took the same picture…doesn’t matter… I took it again!  And I didn’t ask anyone to place the dog a certain way, or clean up the yard, or…whatever.

I just smiled and said, “What a good pupper!” and he looked my way and posed.


sometimes in photography things  ‘click’ into place.

To quote Walker Evans,  (Let Us Now Praise Famous Men)

“If a thing is there, Why, there it is!”

Sometimes it’s there..

but  the structure built on a foundation of preparedness and the intimacy of observation are what turned the lilac bloom into a picture… (Two years ago I might have crushed it unnoticed underfoot)

the ferns were purely a matter of patterned sunlight reacting with chlorophyll…

and the whimsical  is a ‘given’ as far as capturing  interest.  I mean, who could resist a tree-climbing dog?

I guess there’s a pretty good correlation to life here.

     Sometimes you work really hard to achieve a goal.

     Sometimes you are successful..sometimes you fall short of expectations… sometimes the goal moves. 

 But all of the work and time spent in preparing and observing then allows you to be freer to accept and soak in the unexpected…the little gifts.

To receive a gift, one must be open to it and accept it as such.

Ok…One more..

     The jubilation of a member of the pit crew of the winning car at the 2011 Indy 500.


     Another example of the subject elevating the photo over any expertise provided by the photographer…

being at the right place at the right time…

And the experiential foresight to ensure that there is  plenty of memory left on the card…..


~ by rkpowers on June 21, 2011.

One Response to “Serendipity”

  1. excellent, as usual Randy…keep on looking around…”It’s what the hell you do with what the hell you got.”


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