Happy Accidents and More

Recently, I was walking through downtown Seattle. It was raining. (Big shock, right?) It was dusk, and the sky was getting more grey by the second. I was with a group of people, and none of them wanted to slow down when we came across this amazing sculpture. I was forced to take this picture on the fly.


When I got home and looked at it, I was really disappointed by how blurry it was. But then I looked at it more closely. I decided that it looked like an impressionist painting. Now, the more I look at it, the better I like it.

I had a similar experience back in 2005. I was driving through Colorado, and came upon a gorgeous sunset. The problem was, I was on a highway with many cars behind me, so I couldn’t stop to take the picture. This is what happens when you snap a picture out the window of a moving car, all while trying not to get yourself killed.


When I showed these to my friend Jennifer Dropkin, she shared one of her own photos. She was taking a picture of a row of books, and her finger slipped. I think this is lovely!

Jens pic

Bob Ross would have called these photos “Happy Accidents,” and I tend to agree.

My friend Linda Cooke then showed me this photo, which she did intentionally, but says it was a lot harder to do than she thought it would be.


This, in turn, made me remember another photo I took, again, purely by accident. I was on the bow of a boat, trying to take a photo of Seattle’s city skyline. I like how it turned out, even if it wasn’t what I was going for.


I have another friend, Martin Hunt, who intentionally manipulates his photos, and they come out amazing. Here are just a few of them, which I’ve shared with his permission:

Check out more of his photography here.

I guess the lesson here is this: Whether or not the things you create turn out as you originally planned, or whether you decide to make even more of them than anyone else would originally have seen, there’s a lot of potential for creativity and beauty in this world.


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