On Adapting To Circumstances Beyond Your Control

Yesterday afternoon, I received a message here on G+ from my friend, +Ben Canales, who wanted to see if I’d be up for a sunset shoot on Mt. Tabor. The whole plan itself vacillated a bunch throughout the day because the get-together was dependent on the notoriously fickle weather we’ve been having here in Portland.

Around 5:30PM, we gave ourselves the green light to meet up for a quick shoot at the peak of Mt. Tabor. Naturally, of all the days when I had to be somewhere at a certain time, there happened to be a three car accident on I5, causing a back-up for several miles. The long and the short of it was that I ended up getting to the park about 40 minutes beyond our meet up time – still enough time to prep for the sunset but not enough time to meet Ben at the summit.

As I was making my way up the path on foot (Mt. Tabor Park apparently closes all roads to auto traffic on Wednesdays), I got an MMS picture from Ben letting me know that there were all sorts of rays busting through cracks in the clouds, affectionately referred to as God Light.

This stopped me in my tracks. Options swirled. It was clear that if I decided to continue on my path to rendezvous with Ben, I’d miss this light. And, really, all is fair in love and photography, so I veered off and headed straight for the vista overlooking the reservoir and Southeast Portland (along with the downtown skyline).

It’s not surprise that plans always change. No one plans to take part in a 3-car accident that causes a major traffic jam nor do they plan to show up 40 minutes late to a shoot. But things happen. I always share my philosophy with my webinar attendees when a flub happens or an app crashes:

“Incidences will happen. Always. It’s not the incident itself that will mark your performance, but rather it is how you respond to it.”

Keep your wits about you at all times and just get the shot.

In terms of processing
Definite tone-mapping here via Photomatix. I needed to do this in order to bring out any sort of detail in the shadows and mid-tones because of how bright the sunlight was. Stylization was achieved by combining Golden Hour Enhancer, Green Enhancer, Hollywood Glow, and the Magic Sunset effects via Perfect Effects 3 by +onOne Software. Final touches in Adobe Lightroom 4.1 RC.

In album Pic Picks Over The Years (1 photo)

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  • WOW!!!

  • Awesome!

  • nice!

  • awesome photo

  • The light onto the building is awesome, mate. I'm not sure what I'm looking at beyond the building though… Water & cloud cover?

  • Such awesome light. Really rad atmosphere here.

  • Thanks everyone!

    +Jacob Lucas – Clouds.

  • Thanks for the details, especially the Processing info. I have shot many thousands of photos, but never got very interested in the post-processing end. I know that I need to gain some in this area, so I particularly appreciate your explanations.

  • WOW!!!!! +Brian Matiash This is so amazing! I'm speechless!!!!

  • Not bad for a plan B ;) Excellent execution.

  • It's always about the light, and being in the right place at the right time (whether intended or not) helps, too! There are so many levels in this photo to look at. Great work!

  • Very cool rays +Brian Matiash

  • I think it was a wise choice to stop. that ray is awesome.

  • Wow! Wonderful "God Rays"!

  • > I think it was a wise choice to stop…

    Any true photographer would totally understand making that choice! Sometimes you just have to get the shot…

  • Suitable for an ad for the Wells Fargo tower. :)
    Nice one, Brian.

  • Sick shot.

  • Awesome!

  • I love the story, and love the shot, however the only thing going through my head right now is "Today…..is our….INDEPENDENCE DAY!" I think I've seen that movie too many times.

    But yeah, good call on stopping and getting the shot of the light. At least you made it eventually!

  • Nice little story and what an awesome shot! You made the right choice to abandoned the plans to meet at the summit and find your closest vista to shoot from! Nice one!