The right place. The right time. The right amount of luck

By | 2013-12-29T18:50:21+00:00 Nov 17th, 2013|
This is quite possibly my favorite, and most successful, photo that I’ve ever taken. I’d kept from putting it through my Redux series for a long while because I never really found myself in the right frame of mind to start over on it… until the other day. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately and starting anew with this photo offered the perfect respite from some of the demon battles in my head.

Getting this photo boiled down to three really dominant factors, as titled by this post: place, time, and luck. In the two weeks that I lived and traveled aboard the Royal Clipper, this was the only time the captain allowed the ship’s sails be lowered in full regality. Furthermore, he only granted Press access to a ship’s tender to circle the vessel several times before coming back. This limited access came much to the ire of the passengers, who all felt very slighted. Because I was considered Press, I was one of six people (out of over 200 guests and crew) allowed on the tender.

I looked at my watch while boarding the tender. We were hitting a really nice time of day where the sun was just starting to set, blanketing the area with really nice light and long shadows. It also allowed for the angle of the sunlight to really shine off of the sails, which were now on full display.

The luck really came into play once the tender started moving. The water was really choppy and because the vessel itself was rather small, it took each wave with little grace, forcing all six of us to wrap our arms around the tender’s support beams and photograph the Royal Clipper while hugging beams of steel. While having a good command of the camera to adjust settings on the fly helped a lot, so much about getting this photo boiled down to luck. The luck to be at the right place and at the right time but also having the luck to have the right lens on at the right focal length, angled appropriately, and to expose the shot at just the right time.

I’m not above to attributing a lot of my successes to these three factors… as well as a fourth that many people understand but rarely admit to – and that the factor of who you know. I’m just very lucky to have the opportunity to share these moments with all of you here, too.

45 Comments

  1. Heidi Henderson November 17, 2013 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Stunning! Kudos to you for making the best of the best!

  2. Jackie Sheen November 17, 2013 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    That is nothing less than awesome!

  3. Bethany DiTecco November 17, 2013 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Wow, this is fantastic!

  4. Shelly Gunderson November 17, 2013 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    It's gorgeous!

  5. Matthias I. Lambrecht November 17, 2013 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Superb shot! Glad to see you could make so much from your spot on the tender :)

  6. John Skeats November 17, 2013 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Beautiful picture!

  7. Joel Frieco November 17, 2013 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Nice!

  8. Mitchell Prout November 17, 2013 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    wwoooooowwww!!!!!

  9. Jon Lopez November 17, 2013 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Awesome, just awesome!

  10. Leon Kuzmin November 17, 2013 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    +Brian Matiash, your photo looks excellent. On a side note, do you get a lot of messages on hangouts from your followers?

  11. Larry Lato November 17, 2013 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    Very cool Brian, even with all that good fortune, I might have froze!!

  12. Matthew Mendenhall November 17, 2013 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    Sweet! Beauty of a shot!

  13. Sunny Wu November 17, 2013 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    Nice!

  14. Qua Veda November 17, 2013 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    wow ,indeed !

  15. Thad Westhusing November 17, 2013 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    Brian, you forgot the fourth factor: the right photographer.  Well done.  This is an outstanding photograph.

  16. Amila Anushka November 17, 2013 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    woow cool great work…

  17. Doug Dillon November 17, 2013 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    Wow!!! Great capture +Brian Matiash !!! That's a really amazing capture!!! What a beautiful ship!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  18. Mia Shin November 17, 2013 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    Amazing vessel

  19. Todd Sipes November 17, 2013 at 9:39 pm - Reply

    Phototools 2.6!

  20. Bharath Bhushan November 17, 2013 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    Looks great !!

  21. Guillaume Desachy November 17, 2013 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    Fantastic one +Brian Matiash!

  22. Atul A Pillai November 17, 2013 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    Wow are there still ships like this :D
    and this is one heck of snap, Brian did you bend down to the level of  water to get this shot ??

  23. Aravind Cugati November 17, 2013 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    Beautiful . Well said about time

  24. Pieter Pretorius November 17, 2013 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    Wonderful capture!

  25. Matthew Hirtes November 17, 2013 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    nice click..

  26. Sandra Herd November 17, 2013 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    Great shot!

  27. Neil Howard November 17, 2013 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    +Brian Matiash  Photography is 10% skill &90% luck anyway. :) you increase the luck "slightly" by knowing how to compose, and knowing exactly WHEN to press the button!   This is a shot to be very proud of too, the composition is spot on IMHO. Congratulations!

  28. Mark Gorilla November 18, 2013 at 12:40 am - Reply

    Great pic but I prefer some of your urban and landscape stuff, but that's just my view.

  29. Arne Lepla November 18, 2013 at 12:40 am - Reply

    Light…Object…YES…Background…

  30. Jorge Forteza Castro November 18, 2013 at 2:39 am - Reply

    Que barco más … sin palabras…

  31. John VanRoekel November 18, 2013 at 4:40 am - Reply

    +Brian Matiash Wonderful shot.
    Your comments remind me of the old photojournalist advice for how to get the shot:
    "F8 and be there"

  32. Stephen Storm November 18, 2013 at 5:39 am - Reply

    Beautiful shot!

  33. Marlo Montanaro November 18, 2013 at 6:39 am - Reply

    Absolutely amazing.  The fact that the captain basically allowed this for only a short window of time means, for you, it was just meant to be.  Good job taking advantage of the situation!

  34. Alex Grace November 18, 2013 at 6:39 am - Reply

    Very Pirates of the Caribbean!

  35. James Brandon November 18, 2013 at 8:39 am - Reply

    This shot and the mossy tree in Oregon are my faves of yours. Killer shot dude.

  36. David House Sr. November 18, 2013 at 10:40 am - Reply

     Brian,

    This is my favorite photo you have ever posted! (at least from memory).

    I have never had "luck" with tall ships being under sail.  The Tall ship parade passes through the Great Lakes every few years, but usually under diesel power, unfortunately!   I have even chartered a boat and gone out away from shore all day, but only bare masts.  

    Really nice image!  Thanks for sharing it!

    Bare masts: http://about.me/davidsr

  37. Anthony Quintano November 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    Brian, 

    Wondering how one gets selected as the cover photo for +Google+ Photos ? Is there a hashtag or submission process? or just based on teams discovery?

  38. judy stowell November 18, 2013 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    Brian – what a FABULOUS photo!!!!  Thanks for sharing with us, and hope your demons go away soon.

  39. judy stowell November 18, 2013 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    Brian – what a FABULOUS photo!!!!  Thanks for sharing with us, and hope your demons go away soon.

  40. Seán Lyons November 18, 2013 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Hey Brian!, I remember this one! It's awesome!!!

  41. Christopher Germano November 18, 2013 at 7:39 pm - Reply

    I'm happy to have been able to see this as a large print, it's a gorgeous shot.

  42. Pam Brown Smith November 19, 2013 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    Beautiful shot +Brian Matiash

  43. Brian Matiash November 19, 2013 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    First off, thank you so much, everyone! Very humbling indeed.

    +Anthony Quintano There isn't a formula – it really is mostly discovery which isn't the most automated system but I'm always up to have suggestions pinged to me.

  44. Mike Wong November 19, 2013 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    I remember this photo. :-)

  45. Brian Matiash November 19, 2013 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    +Mike Wong now with no dust spots!

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