Over 150 years ago during a lecture, Louis Pasteur commented, “In the fields of observation, chance favors only the prepared mind.” By this he meant that sudden flashes of insight don’t just happen— they are the products of preparation. I can’t find any evidence that Mr. Pasteur took time away from his experiments to pursue photography, but the point he was conveying applies to photographers as well as chemists.
I’ve witnessed enough sunsets to know this is especially true if you want to capture consistently great images. This shot was taken on July 4 in Bokeelia, Florida. As the sun was going down, there were too many clouds to get the dynamic shot of the fireball going into the water that I wanted. I was briefly tempted to get into the car and head toward the closest fireworks show, but decided to stay around and see if the afterglow would produce something interesting. This decision was based on significant prior experience of leaving a scene too early, seeing a burning sky in my rearview mirror, and making a mad dash back to where I was in a futile attempt to capture the scene.
So, following a lackluster sunset, I hung around to see what might develop and was rewarded with this shot, which was made possible by experience, preparation, and my trusty iPhone 6. Thank you Mr. Pasteur.