Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Second Chances

A Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train rests in a snow globe world of winter wonderland fascination. Photo taken at Brecksville, Ohio on January 24, 2009.

New to photography years ago, I found myself stopped at a railroad crossing with a train just about to pass right in front of me. All excited, I got my camera into position. The train zoomed by looking just right in the swirling snow. But on seeing the resulting picture in Photoshop … I discovered that I had forgotten to roll down the window, and the train was obscured by steamy raindrops! I deleted the image, only to realize I had made yet another mistake. The imperfect train shot actually had artistic possibilities since the streaky wet window made for a uniquely surreal dimensional effect. But now it was too late. I’d made an impatient decision, and that captured moment of possibility was all gone except for its memory.

A couple of weekends ago, it was a chill 15 degrees outside on a Saturday after a long week, and just relaxing inside seemed mighty tempting. But the temperature had actually crept above zero, and the work week would start again all too soon. So I ventured forth from apartment hibernation into the unknown, knowing only that I would drive South on Riverview Road in search of something scenic.

That’s when the Alco RS2 train engine came into view. Apparently, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train was in hibernation outside, awaiting tourist season. And I was in luck. There was a nearby parking lot offering a halfway decent view. Snow flurries kicked up at my discovery, and lasted just long enough for me to grab this shot. Some would say it was a case of being in the right place at the right time. I credit Divine Providence.

It’s good to know that sometimes in life, even when you mess up, there are second chances.

Question for Readers: Any similar experiences? Any cases of serendipity or just plain “happy accidents” when you had a camera handy? Please feel welcome to leave a comment and share.


Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Country Dreaming---I think some of the best photos are the ones when something happens when we least expect it.. The thing I need to remember is to carry my camera with me everywhere I go. I'm learning--but sometimes I still don't remember...

Tina said...

When I first received my new camera I taking pictures of full size aircraft at a airshow in Columbus, Ohio. A man next to me who had the same camera, shared with me the best advice...never delete anything from your camera until you've seen it on your computer!! Wow was he right..some of my most interesting compositions and light effects come from these types of oops pics!
Looks like you got a great pic of the train tho..snow droplets and all! Thanks for visiting my blog..I appreciated your comments! :)

Carol said...

Ahhhhh....what a beautiful photo story. Second chances don't come along too often in life. I'll have to think about this one. GREAT post!

CountryDreaming said...

Betsy from Tennessee: You're absolutely right. One of those unexpected photo opportunities happened to me in Tennessee of all places, and that shot I'm planning to feature in an upcoming blog entry. (It involved a stampede of cattle coming over a hill and me shooting blindly into the sun. Lots of fun!) It looks like you've got your camera with you in your blog picture, so you're off to a great start in 2009. Am looking forward to seeing what exciting photos you'll come up with.

Tina: Thanks for your kind compliments. You're so fortunate to have found an older and wiser mentor from the beginning. I can't wait to see more of your photos and take a look at those unexpected shots of yours that turned out to be real gems!

Carol: Thanks for your kind words. Second chances sure aren't easy, and you always have that first chance, the one that got away, at the back of your mind. That said, a second chance is an extraordinary gift.

All: Just wanted to add a special word of thanks for the quality, depth, and wisdom of your comments. Being new to blogging, it's great to already be meeting people who are making this a worthwhile experience from the very beginning.

jalynn01 said...

I love your snowy train picture...

As Tina said, NEVER delte before you review on the computer screen. My friend and I were documenting a nest of AM. Kestrels last year in a building in the small town where I work. One evening we saw a caton the roof and took pictures of it. We were just mortified by the discovery because two of the baby kestrels had just fledged out of the nest. I posted it ..go here: http://windowonnature.blogspot.com/search?q=Kestrel+and+cat

When we got home and looked at the pictures one of baby birds was directly behind the cat perched in a big B sign for the cinema. We were so flabergasted and laughed and laughed about it.

Always carry your camera with fresh batteries! My best advice.

CountryDreaming said...

jalynn01: Looked up your link on the puddytat and the kestrels. Definitely an awesome, one-of-a-kind shot! Excellent advice about keeping fresh batteries handy ... which is in fact a topic that can make for a blog entry all its own.

Mary said...

This is a wonderful shot and I can see that I will get lots of good visiting ideas for Ohio from your blog! I take so many "happy accidents" I wouldn't know where to start :-) I'm basically a point and shoot photographer, so when I get something really good, often it is sheer dumb luck. I took some neat photos last fall of ducks and geese and the fall trees were adding color to the water that I didn't really notice until I got home. They were some wonderful shots of the ducks "painting" on the water and I loved them. I've also had animals show up in a photo that I didn't even know were there until I had it on the computer. I don't delete anything on the camera. Don't know how. I've probably thrown out shots I should have kept and played with in a photo program, but I don't do much of that.

CountryDreaming said...

Mary: The images you describe with ducks and geese swimming on colorful autumn waters are among my very favorite kind of scenes. The way the animals always seem to show up in your photos really points to your love of wildlife. Very cool, and I'm sure you enjoy the pleasant surprises of these unexpected guests!