Still Learning To See

Serendipity, I’m ready

I often say that making good photographs is possible because I’m ready (camera in hand, and on and batteries charged, etc.) and luck. Sometimes I call it serendipity when I want to sound a bit more formal but really I’m talking “luck.” Learning to see reflections in water, as in the photograph above, for example, has been an amazing process of learning to be ready and being darned lucky.

Another recent example: I know the sunshine will come back in our kitchen window on March 3rd—if the sun is shining that day. I know both from personal experience and from our collective, scientific knowledge of how the changes in our angle with the Sun happen that March 3rd is the day it will happen.


So imagine my surprise when last week I found the sun already peeking in the window?! Had the axis of the Earth shifted? Had I lost a couple weeks of time without realizing it?! I looked out the window and—nothing supernatural here—saw the light was being reflected off the front window of a car parked up the hill. Such a simple thing full of such mystery and delight.Simon-8773

I know I am a lucky man! Not just because of a bit of sunshine coming through my window earlier than predicted but because of the countless—truly countless—miracles that unfold from this life of ours—my daughter and grandson being just one more of many examples.

Or stepping out from a long meeting earlier this week and seeing a hillside like this:


Luck? The sun sets every single evening and sometimes it looks like this. I’m grateful to be able to see and enjoy! Thank you, life, I’m ready… .

This entry was published on January 28, 2016 at 10:22 am. It’s filed under John Snell, John Snell Photographer, Reflections, Sunrise, Sunset, Water and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Serendipity, I’m ready

  1. Great entry, John–that picture of the Hawk and Suz is priceless! And how incredible that the front window of a car could give you a bit of early sun 🙂 I do tend too use “serendipity”, mainly because I love the source of the word: “The first noted use of “serendipity” (meaning pleasant surprise) in the English language was by Horace Walpole (1717–1797). In a letter to Horace Mann (dated 28 January 1754) he said he formed it from the Persian fairy tale “The Three Princes of Serendip”, whose heroes “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of”. The name stems from Serendip, an old name for Sri Lanka (aka Ceylon),”

    But whether “luck” or “serendipity”, the key point is that we have to be open to SEEING those miracles, which surround us constantly. Thanks for capturing so many of these moments of wonder and sharing them with us!

  2. Deborah Leu on said:

    I love the early sunlight story. I always know spring is well on its way when the sun peeks in through a northwest window of our house – and when it goes away in the fall. These are the little things I’ll miss whenever we leave CT. Not having an outside job, I get to pay plenty of attention to light and tides here. You are the most open to serendipity person I know!

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