The luck, the find

Wed 2010.01.20
by brian hefele

Note: this article originally appeared on

haunted sky.
haunted sky – click for flickr page.

Above is one of my photos which has drummed up a bit more interest than most of my work. This makes sense – it is a much more interesting photo than my usual fare. The sky is bizarre and enchanted, and why? Are we looking at strange clouds? Smoke from a bonfire? Contrails from an alien craft? The answer lies beneath, another photo from the series:

oil, puddle.
oil, puddle. – again, click to go to flickr.

The reality was that I stopped and squatted down to shoot the latter photo – just the simple lines of the oil slick. But then I noticed something, the reflection of a fence and some trees. As I got them in focus, the oil streaks cut out into the background, giving the appearance of surreal, dreamlike clouds.

This is all well and good, but the fact is that I only noticed it by mistake. I saw something else, and I got lucky and found this as a result. There’s a lesson to be learned, or perhaps two… Luck is a very valuable thing. I feel like it shouldn’t be, like I should have seen the interesting scene first. But the truth is that had I seen that first, I may still have needed luck to find something even better. I can strive to always spot the most interesting part of a scene right away, or I can just take it as it comes. Sometimes you must realize that you can’t force inspiration, it must come to you. And (to find another lesson learned) inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere – even the nastiest, oiliest puddle.