Young Island Girl
Manglito Beach – Baracoa, Cuba
Canon PowerShot G15 1/200s @ f/2.8 ISO 80 @ 140mm
Do you believe in luck, especially where photography is concerned? I believe in opportunity, not necessarily luck. I once heard luck defined as: when preparation meets opportunity. I think that’s a great definition of what we usually think of as luck. Like so many of the other photographic clichés, I often hear: you were so lucky to get that shot. Usually followed by: you must have a really good camera. You photographers out there know what I’m talking about.
I will admit that certain photo opportunities are serendipitous, but if you’re not ready to grab the shot your “luck” suddenly runs out. Opportunity sans preparation equals bad luck, or no luck at all. In a sense photography can be a metaphor for life, getting that much coveted job promotion is usually more a function of preparation meeting opportunity, than just blind luck. He or she (or you) is not lucky, he or she (or you) is prepared to take advantage of an opportunity.
Bottom line, whether it’s photography or life, we are responsible for making our own luck. The above photo is a case in point: Steve, you were so lucky to have been in Cuba and have that adorable little islander come up to you for this photo. Really? Seriously? Lets look at the situation for a moment. First, I am an American expat, I wasn’t allowed to legally enter Cuba in 2014 (my government’s decision, not Cuba’s decision). I made arrangements to visit Cuba for a month, entering via Yucatan, Mexico (yeah, I snuck in . . . shame on me).
Second, I had my camera with me (in fact I had two). Let me repeat that: I had my camera with me. No camera, no luck. A photographer without a camera is shit-out-of-luck. My primary shooter, my Canon EOS 5D Mark II, was in my vehicle, but I had my backup shooter in one of my cargo pockets: a small Canon PowerShot G15 pocket camera. This is a great little camera, especially for travelling, and will do almost everything my big-boy camera will do.
Third, this little imp didn’t just come up to me and beg to have her photo taken. I engaged her in conversation, with my limited Spanish, as I was sucking down a beer on the beach (okay, a few beers). As she became more comfortable I introduced my little, non-threatening pocket-shooter into the conversation. Snapping a few quick shots while talking, I was able to capture the essence of this little slice of Cuba. Luck? Well you be the judge.
Stephen F. Dennstedt
Photographer, Writer and World Traveler
Currently in South America