Sunday, November 5, 2017

Creative November Challenge Day #5: Happy mistakes

I took this photo from our bedroom window yesterday morning. I was tidying up after my run when I noticed the sun illuminating the last of the red and gold leaves clinging to the branches of a large maple tree on the northwest edge of our property. I grabbed my camera hoping to capture their warm glow through the wavy old window glass, but - for the life of me - couldn't get the camera to focus in either manual or automatic mode.

It was only later that I figured out why the autofocus wouldn't work. I was using a long zoom lens, which isn't able to focus on objects that are too close. The leaves I wanted to capture were thirty to forty feet away, but the lens was mere inches from the window, so the close proximity of the glass prevented the lens from operating as I wanted it to. I still haven't figured out why I couldn't focus manually.

In any case, when I downloaded my photos last night, I was surprised to find that I actually liked the image I'd captured by mistake - especially, when I tweaked it to add more contrast.

Another happy outtake from my frustrated efforts was this photo, which I took while trying to figure out if the lens was working properly.

I love how the blue sea glass pops against the warm colours in the yard outside. 

There's a lovely life lesson in there - something about how mistakes can turn out to be happy things. When we're lucky, they enable us to see situations from new perspectives, challenge us to be creative, and offer opportunities we wouldn't have had otherwise. They also help us recognize our real friends - the ones who stand by us no matter how badly we've messed up.

But, of course, that can be hard to remember in the moment, when our first instinct is to be angry and defensive, and try to undo the error - which is why it's a good idea to notice happy mistakes when they occur - so that, however badly we screw up in future, we can remind ourselves that the very worst things sometimes lead to the very best. 

1 comment:

  1. That is a perfectly lovely 'mistake'! I'd be thrilled with a photo like that. Old wavy glass is funny, it's possible that the camera wouldn't 'see' focus even in manual because of the glass. Our eyes and brain play tricks on us all the time. In this case, your brain knows what that scene looks like without the glass, and knows what impact the glass has. It's entirely possible your brain gives you an edited picture of the leaves by subtracting the wavy glass. Another thing, though I'm not familiar with Nikon, could the camera and lens be fighting each other? Lastly, especially with a zoom lens, if it had auto focused on the glass, it might not be possible to tweak the manual focus enough because it's so far out of range. Something to experiment with.