Sunset Snapshot on wet road 03 | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2015)

Chance and coincidence

“The world is so unpredictable. Things happen suddenly, unexpectedly. We want to feel we are in control of our own existence. In some ways we are, in some ways we’re not. We are ruled by the forces of chance and coincidence.”   Paul Auster
Flag GermanyFellow photographer Marco Spalluto (spallutography) and I once discussed the influence of the various factors when taking photographs. Spotting the opportunity, composing the picture, getting all the settings on your camera right and pressing the button at the right time. All of them are essential, but to get everything anywhere close to what you think is perfect takes a lot of time. However, many awesome moments are exactly what the name suggests: moments in time. Capturing a moment in bright daylight is more often than not measured in thousands of a second shutter speed.

What if that special moment only lasts a few seconds and the only equipment available is a smartphone? Try anyway!
After driving in heavy rain for almost two hours today, I spotted a hole in the clouds that appeared to be big enough to get a glimpse of the sunset. Driving on a westbound road in the rain might just yield the opportunity to see the sunset with some interesting reflections.
The first picture admittedly isn’t good. While the composing might be allright and ticking a couple of boxes, the result is rather boring.

Sunset Snapshot on wet road 01 | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2015)

OK. Let’s add an overpass and some mist from the vehicles traveling on the Autobahn on top to spice it up with some drama. And once again, the picture does not deliver because now the sun is just a white blob and most of the color wasted due to overexposure. Now this really is disappointing! But…

Sunset Snapshot on wet road 02 | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2015)

… following the road through a left-hander after the overpass suddenly changed everything:

An explosion of colors! I especially love the contrast between the speed displayed by the proximity to the guardrail and the almost static rain drops on the windshield. The powerline pole is a welcome addition and I am surprised by the detail available in full resolution. The reflection on the road surface is exactly what I had envisioned. Does that make me a happy photographer? Yes.

Sunset Snapshot on wet road 03 | Drive-by Snapshots by Sebastian Motsch (2015)

Mind you – the pictures have been taken with the standard camera settings of a Samsung Galaxy Alpha smartphone (while riding shotgun in a friends car).

Mr. Auster was right: sometimes things just happen and there is nothing (or not much) we can do to influence the outcome. I’m happy with the picture because it shows that millisecond that made an otherwise not-so-memorable journey on a rainy day a great one. 🙂