Ready for the Unexpected (or Happy Accidents)


Sometimes when I go out to shoot photos I have a plan or project in mind. But most days I just find photo opportunities when I’m going somewhere or I’m out wandering with my camera watching for the unexpected. That’s why I like a small camera that I can easily fit into my backpack/purse.

Whether or not I have a plan, I look about with an easy open eye (at almost anything, no matter how seemingly mundane) seeking interesting shapes, lines, angles, or colours. I try to compose the photos as best I can as I take them, but there are always some surprises when I later load them onto my computer to edit. You have to be ready to take advantage of the unexpected.

I was wandering at night, enjoying the lights, when I took the Jetson car photo seen above. At the time I didn’t realize it was floating, I was thrilled when I saw it hovering there on my computer. I also like to think of it as a forerunner to future driverless cars. I love the colours of all the lights in the shot, too. It’s one of my favourite photos—a happy accident.



Writing is the same. I’m on a bus and I overhear an odd snippet of conversation. Or an unusual person is sitting on a park bench. It’s not likely that a complete poem or story idea will come to me right then, but I jot something in the notebook I carry. Later, when I’m looking for ideas, it just might reveal itself.

Sometimes I combine the photos and the writing by using favourite photos as writing prompts. I go with whatever comes to my mind and write a first draft without worrying about how good or bad the quality of the writing. I know there will likely be some happy accidents, that I will pick up upon later, when I revise.

Oh and remember, you have to be ready to take advantage of the unexpected. And it’s funny how when you’re ready (keeping eyes and ears open while carrying the little camera and the little notebook) they happen more often.

Now, isn’t that interesting?



6 Replies to “Ready for the Unexpected (or Happy Accidents)”

  1. Life is full of surprises eh? It helps to have an eye to catch those unexpected moments though, and turn them into beautiful photos and engaging stories.


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