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.