Cool pictures caught by dumb luck thread

Have you ever taken a really cool photo completely by accident? Or for you professional photographer types… a picture that totally surpassed your expectations or who’s unexpected results created a better picture?

We had a family get together this weekend at a lake up here in Montana. We were sitting around the fire pit chattering at each other and drinking, just hanging out. I was messing around with my camera and was trying my hand at the Night Portrait setting and getting really piss-poor results. Until this shot of my brother. It’s not real clear, but it’s a funky shot anyway.

Then, I was doing some self-portraits, and wound up with this photo of myself. The flash must’ve gone off, though I thought I had it set for no flash, but I was well into a pitcher of margaritas so who the hell knows. I was facing the fire pit, so there were no flames in the original frame. I know the Night Portrait setting uses a longer exposure that grabs the ambient light to illuminate the shot, but I can’t explain the flames. The streaks of light were probably embers floating around, but the flames are just cool. Took one of my son, (whose birthday we were celebrating with his adoptive family) and got the same kind of result.

Dumb luck and cool photos… Got any you’d care to share?

I really like that ‘flames’ photo - eerie but very cool at the same time!

Mine aren’t as good but …

I didn’t take this picture. I’m not sure who did, actually. But I really like it, it captures the personalities of all the guys so well! It’s a photo of my son and a bunch of his friends. It looks almost posed, or like a stock photo. Taken a couple of years ago IIRC.

My mom took this picture of me in 1977 or 78. It’s another strange but cool one. Summertime, working a co-op job (constructing a road) when I first started University. Someone else added that tag on the pic.

Last one: my son and daughter jumpingoff the couch back when they were small. I love the expression on her face and her hair flying up in the air. Lots of action and enthusiasm going on there!

This one was dumb luck to a fair extent. The gold color was the result of a white balance mistake; the room is actually fairly bright white. The auto WB meter happened to pick “daylight” for the shot, though, and this was the result.

This one was taken while snorkeling by our house. The color came out so weird–not sure what happened. The color on this one the same day is more accurate. Still a cool photo. Thisis my favorite dog picture, just a lucky shot. Nothing amazing, I just like the composition.

That’s an amazing shot. If I took that picture, I’d frame it.

Anyways, here’s my dumb luck, but turned out kinda neat shot

ETA, as long as were showing dog pictures (those cat people get waaay too many excuses to show pictures), here’s one of mine (as well as my favorite picture that I’ve taken, I have this one framed (sans the watermark)).

Here’s another one. Only slightly dumb luck. I had the picture all figured out in my head, it looked like I wanted it to look on the camera’s LCD, but when I saw the full size, it wasn’t what I expected, still neat though.

This is my two girls sunbathing in my room. I’ve always loved the way it turned out - the hard angles of the chair versus the soft, organic shapes of the cats, the light versus the dark, etc.

ETA: Sublight, that is indeed a gorgeous picture.

I was at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, years ago. There was a Ju-52 that had been restored by Lufthansa and they would take to various museums and airshows. I think it was in February, so the sun was low in the sky at closing time. I had to finish off the roll, so I took this picture.

It probably breaks every rule of technique and composition, but I like it; the silhouettes, the light shining through the rudder hinges, the reflection of the trees, the Junkers, and my shadow on the glass.

Taking a good picture of a cat is always lucky.

Maybe not the kind of luck the OP had in mind, but I had one weekend in Paris. I took the overnight train and got in early in the morning. I dropped my luggage at my hotel, and headed out to see the city. It was overcast, but as the sun rose, it came through under the clouds with the most beautiful, red light I’d ever seen. It lasted 30 seconds and then it was gone. I got two pictures, this and this. I like them, but they aren’t even close to what it was like to be standing there.

These aren’t the best pictures, but I was happy to catch them. The clouds passed over really quickly. I just love catching cool cloud formations. These are some Mammutus clouds and it was the first time I had ever seen them(2006).


More of the same
That is a gorgeous photo!

This one of a fire dancer in Fiji was not exactly dumb luck, since I was trying to get the shot, but there’s no way it should have worked.

It was taken at 1/20th of a second, hand-held, and the other few shots I took were hopelessly blurry, as you’d expect, but this one for some reason captured his head sharp while his arms went into a blur. And I even managed to get (very nearly) all the flame in shot, somehow…

These are wonderful! The clouds, the church, red Paris, all of them! I never knew what those types of clouds were called, so thanks CAT=^…^=. I just spent a bunch of time at Wikipedia reading about them, and Stormgasm looking at more pictures.

My entry here is not as good, but I do love it. This was at a house concert, the lights were dimmed and a rope of lights were strung around the microphone stand. I didn’t want to use flash because the artist was so close I was afraid it would distract her, so I took tons of pictures without flash. Since I have no skill and know nothing about F-stops and whatnot, all of them came out blurry and useless. Except this one. Blurry, yes, but not completely. Most interesting is how the light rope looks like flames, such as in SylverOne’s shot. The cool thing about that is that she has a song called “Feed The Fire” which is a thank you to the people who influenced her. I call the picture “Feeding The Fire.”

I was at a botanical gardens last Friday, and found a little frog in some begonias. As I was trying to take a picture of him, he hopped up onto a potted banana plant and then because I think he was frightened of the camera, he obligingly positioned himself absolutely perfectly on this red-veined leaf.

I’m really, really pleased with this shot, and I couldn’t have set it up!

Colophon, I think your dancer shot is brilliant - really evocative!

Wow, it looks like he’s only got one foot on the ground. I love the composition, it just looks so tranquil and cheerful.

After a typhoon we’re usually in for some interesting atmospheric effects as the sun goes down. Usually, though, I’ll just be spacing out in front of the computer when my wife shouts “look at that! Get the camera!” So here’s one that I took, and here’s one that she took.

ETA: And thank you for the comments!

Actually you pretty much nailed the rule of thirds, which is part of the reason it looks as good as it does.

Some excellent pix here!

The only pic of mine that was truly serendipitous (as opposed to “turned out even better than I hoped, but it was what I was going for”) is this self-portrait. This was taken in a delightfully funky museum in Haarlem that is half science and technology museum and half art museum. This was some kind of scientific instrument (since I don’t read Dutch, I don’t know exactly what the label said), and I was just going for a general art shot, realizing only later that it was actually a pretty well composed self portrait.

I am particularly fond of all the photos on this page but very specially the last one. The guys are doing incredible acrobatics on tiny platforms set up high up from the ground. One miss and they would be seriously hurt.

A guy I worked with showed me a picture he took while on a battleship during excercises. He managed to catch an image of 16" shells being fired from the main guns.

That was pretty cool. And pretty lucky.

Here’s my lucky shot of one of the clinic cats, Levi. A couple people have mistaken it for a professional pic but as I say in the blurb on the page, I had just stuck the camera behind the blinds and clicked. I didn’t even look at the viewscreen.

This is another kind of serendipity - I wanted to take a series of pictures of this “Lollypop” lily in my yard this year, to capture how it starts out white and pinks up as it ages, and it turns out it is nearly impossible to take a bad picture of a lily. They’re just such a spectacular flower.

Not my picture, but if you do a google image search on “Montana fire” you’ll find my favorite serendipitous photo.