Serendipity Plus Patience

cameraI have always found photography an interesting and frustrating artistic medium.  After all, if I were to stop people at random, in, say, the Brea Mall, how many do you think would say, Oh, yes, I paint in oils, or Watercolor is my favorite medium.  How many would confess to loving to work in charcoals?   But almost everyone takes photographs, particularly since the advent of capable smartphone cameras.  I know quite a few people who regard themselves as photographers whose photographs, while beautiful, seem to be nothing more than snapshots taken in very beautiful places.   To me, a photo becomes art when it illuminates some familiar place or thing in a way I’d have never seen through my own eyes.  That can be a matter of composition, or lighting or even a particular moment in time that makes me say, Wow!  How did the photographer ever catch that?  Sometimes it takes serendipity, just being at the right place at the right time.  With camera in hand, of course.  But look at Thomas Mangelson’s signature photo, Catch of the Day.  Does that look like serendipity?  Yes, right place, right time plus endless patience.


Last week, I was taking a late evening camera walk along the bike trail running parallel to the Santa Ana River near Yorba Regional Park.  The day was just dimming and a nearly full moon was yellow in the twilight sky.  I took photo after after photo, trying to get something more interesting than a hazy circle ofmoon haze gold against a slate blue sky.  Near the east end of the park, the high voltage power lines pass over the river.  The resident flock of cormorants had settled on one of the wires, balancing effortlessly.  I tried a couple shots of bird bodythe flock with the moon in the background, then decided to climb down on the riverbank to get a single bird silhouetted against the moon.  As birds are wont to do, every time I had a perfect shot and pressed the shutter, the bird moved, yielding lots of not very interesting shots of headless bird-bodies.  But after 20 or so tries, I got this one, which I like a lot.  I call it Settling in for the NightSerendipity Plus Patience even works for amateurs.


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One Comment on “Serendipity Plus Patience”

  1. Barry Says:

    I love it

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