Luck: part chance, part self-made

Sometimes, all it takes is a one-word prompt to get us writing. Today’s Daily Post writing prompt: LUCK.

THE SHOWERS were visible as slanting sheets of dark grey moving across Storm Bay. None came ashore as we stood gazing seaward from the roadside lookout but we could see the land across the bay getting thoroughly drenched. We had better get going and get to the cape before one of those gray curtains of heavy rain decided to come ashore and drench us too.

The day had dawned overcast and threatening when we awoke at our campsite at Adventure Bay that morning, so we decided an early start might get us to our destination before those gray clouds dropped their wet load on Cape Bruny. The cape was our destination. It is the promontary that is the end of land here on South Bruny Island.

While my companion filled two breakfast bowls with muesli and brewed tea on our little single-jet bushwalkers’ stove, I checked my camera backpack. Camera with short zoom lens fitted? Check. Telepohoto lens packed? Check. Flash? Check. Spare batteries charged and packed? Check. Spare memory cards? Check. Battery and memory card in the camera? Check. Miscellanous gear like camera cleaning kit in the pack? Check. First aid kit? Check. Phone charged and packed in the pack’s pocket? Check. Warm sweater in the pack? Right. Rain jacket packed just in case? Yep.

Checking my camera kit was something I had learned the value of long ago. On more than one occasion I had walked out with the battery still in the charger or the memory card still in the reader, neither in my camera and no spares packed either. Frustrating. Now, I always made sure I had at least one, usually two, spare batteries and a spare 32mb card in the bag, plus a freshly-charge battery and 32mb card in the camera. Recharging batteries was something I did immediately on returning home.

This was all about being prepared.

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While my traveling companion was more interested in the summer flowers that bloomed in the heathland hereabouts, my interest was to walk to the light station atop the cape and to make some photographs of the sea, land, and of those summer flowers too.

It was only a short uphill walk along a paved track but as my partner drove I kept my eye on clouds that seemed to be getting lower at the same time they were getting darker. The day, already a study in monotone of grey, had an indisputable menace about it.

A short and not-too-intense shower washed over us. Then another. I felt fortunate that the camera kit I had brought with me was weathersealed but I didn’t want to test the effectiveness of that in heavy rain. Then, up ahead in the distance, Cape Bruny, its light station prominent in top. Like everything else around, it was grey, grey, grey through a tonal range from light to dark and on to almost black.

The Cape Bruny carpark is opposite the light-station museum and the houses of the caretakers. Wisely, my partner said she would stay around here while I dashed up to the top of the cape. Fine, I said… if only this rain would ease-up. Then, ease-up it did. I was out of the car quicktime, grabbing my pack and slinging it onto my back as I made long, rapid strides to the top of the cape.

Having photographed in rainy weather before as well as in other instances where I had to take advantage of some brief circumstance, I was aware that getting the images I wanted relied not only on luck but on grabbing the opportunity when it presented itself, brief that might be.

Yes, I made the images there atop the cape from which the old stone light-station rose as a warning to mariners.

The lesson in this is applicable in many other pursuits beyond photography. Sure, it is about luck, but you need more than that, more than chance. That day I had prepared my camera kit before leaving Adventure Bay. That made it possible to seize any break in the weather when the opportunity presented itself. That, having my camera kit prepared, was one thing I had control over in case something else I had no control over presented itself. That day it did. Luck, we see, is part self-made and part circumstance. That is why I like this definition of luck:

Luck = preparedness + opportunity.

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