The Accidental Photograph


Loretta, one of our regular readers, shared a story about an accidental shot that brought her great joy.  It reminded me of this picture, which makes me and Peter smile every time we see it.

We were on our very first photography workshop with Jack Graham, in Oregon.  I had a Canon Rebel XT and was struggling with every technical aspect of the craft – manual mode, slow shutter speed, focusing, composition, you name it and I was agonizing over it.

In the middle of all of this, I balanced my camera on top of a very tall fence to try to get a shot of the river unobstructed (sometimes being short can be a real disadvantage).  I couldn’t see through my viewfinder and this camera didn’t have live view, and as I was struggling to get a sense of what I had composed I accidentally tripped the shutter. Ironically, this was one of my favorite shots of the workshop – in part, because it was actually pretty good for my abilities at the time, and in part because it happened despite of myself.

I share this with you, because I think there is value in letting go.  Sometimes you just have to go with what presents itself, let chance happen, and maybe you’ll surprise even yourself.  When I get really frustrated in a situation, I give up on “what I should be trying to get” and just start playing around.  Its those times that lead to my biggest breakthroughs.

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