I’d Rather Be Lucky…
I left the house just before six Saturday morning with a vague idea of heading south and ending up at Bald River Falls in Monroe County (Tennessee). I drove through the pre-sunrise light down Highway 411 till I came to state highway 360 and turned east. Within minutes I found a decent vantage point to photograph the sunrise over the lake.
I spent the next hour and a half meandering south and east down 360, stopping every so often to shoot. For most of those shots I gave a fair degree of thought to composition and exposure. “Hmm, do I want the tree line here or there? Hmm. Should I put the horizon at the top third or the bottom?” I felt faintly proud of myself and just a bit smug that I was consciously thinking about how to get first rate, “arty”, shots.
Near the end of my sojourn down 360 I realized I was behind schedule. If I was late getting to Bald River Falls there would be too much light to get decent slow water shots. I sped up. The effect of my speed was what I call the “Damn I Missed It” effect. This occurs when you are driving forty or more miles an hour down a country highway with at least one car on your tail and you notice, too late, a marvelous river, landscape, old barn, pond or tree off to your right. You can’t stomp on the brakes because of the car behind you; and you can’t find a turn around and come back because you are already late.
So there I was, speeding through the rising mist on 360, with the sun directly behind the car when I saw a funny looking tree in a roadside meadow with a backdrop of mist curtained trees. I was afraid to stop for fear of what might be flying down the highway behind me. So I grabbed the camera, lowered the driver’s side window, pointed the camera at the tree and snapped off three or four shots. “Probably a waste of time,” I thought as I speeded back up. “God knows how the camera was set,” I lamented…
Well, those hurried shots produced what may well be the best shot of the day… Luck. Absolute luck. What do you think?
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