Making Your Own Luck

Landscape photography is something where you are at the mercy or whims of nature.  We depend on light and weather for the right conditions for our photography.  However sometimes you can not just get lucky but make your own luck.

I awoke in the Guadalupe Mountains to cold rain.  The National Weather Service was calling for rain and even snow.  The NPS was prepared to have to close Guadalupe Pass they expected so much snow.

Rain and 30+mph winds were not really conducive to outdoor photography so I decided to drive up to Carlsbad Caverns.  You see it is always 56 degrees in the caverns!  I got there, in the rain and, of course, chose the walk in tour.  It was raining so much they were taking your ticket in the building and letting you walk down on your own.  I bundled up my rain gear and made the walk down to the natural entrance.

Within a few yards you are out of the wind and rain.  Soon you enter the dark and constant cave temp.

I spent a few hours in the caverns in the comfort of the constant 56 degrees.  I turned some poor weather into a good morning.

Then as I left the caverns the rain had stopped.  The snow never happened and we only had rain.  As I was driving back to the Guads it was thick overcast.  Then I noticed something.  Just visible over the peaks I thought I saw a slight patch of blue to the west.

I instantly knew what could happen.  The front was breaking up ever so slightly in the west.  It just might be enough to get a sunset.  Also with it being so overcast it was likely to be an epic sunset.

So west I drove out to the edge of the salt dunes west of the park.

Sure enough there was a small bad of clear sky in the northwest.  Everything else was still thick overcast and the light looked flat.  I was not sure if the gap in the clouds was far enough south for the sun to pop out in the last 5 minutes of daylight but I hoped it was.

I waited.

Then luck happened as the sun just caught the corner of the gap and bathed the land in amazing light.

I took image after image and followed the narrow band of light across the desert for five glorious minutes of light.

Nature made it happen but I read the right signs to be in the right place at the right time. I had a day with 8 hours of cold windy rain and then caught one of the most epic 10 minutes of photography by being in the right spot.


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