On reflection, I’ve realized that nearly all of my most successful photography has been the result of serendipity. No planning or preparing for a trip to a faraway place in order to capture a particular iconic image. If a trip has been planned, and even if I expect to photograph one or another subject, I usually end up dismissing the expected and having another more interesting (maybe only to me) subject consume all my attention until I feel that I’ve “done it”…..whatever “it” is.
And so it went when I recently traveled to Reno, Nevada to photograph Wild Horses (yes, those words are legally capitalized to give dignity to these exquisite animals). My mission was to not only photograph Wild Horses but to attend a 3-day meeting of the Wild Horse & Burro Program Board which was run by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management). The meeting was difficult and disheartening since the main objective of the BLM when it comes to Wild Horses & burros is to bring them to the brink of extinction as quickly as possible. This is no exaggeration on my part, but is known by every advocate (and the BLM) in the USA.
The day before the board meeting a “field trip” had been planned to show the board members and members of the public one particular HMA (Horse management area) that had been allocated to the Wild Horses & burros of Nevada in 1971. I drove, following a convoy of cars, for about 60 miles on dry dirt roads looking not only for the Wild Horses, but stopping occasionally to have the BLM point out how much “damage” the Wild Horses & burros had done to the rangelands. This is totally untrue, but I kept going, taking notes, and driving on the dirt road. At the end of a frustrating day without the sight of even one Wild Horse, I headed back to Reno, my SUV absolutely covered in dust and dirt.
The next day during the board meeting lunch break, I took my car to the local car wash. There was a bit of a line, but I was desperate enough to wait it out. Finally, I paid my $13 and headed toward the wash area. A man sprayed my vehicle down with a pre-wash, then sprayed it with a sudsy liquid, then used a large brush to scrub the entire car down by hand. I could see the typical automatic car wash in front of me and rather wondered if I’d be driving through anytime soon. The answer was yes! At his direction, I moved my car forward onto the tracks and we started to move. I was so surprised by what I saw that I barely pulled my iPhone out in time. As the usual car wash activity was going on (long strips of toweling flopping and skidding back and forth, more suds being sprayed, water rinsing…..) I started to make a short video for my grandson. Normally, I wouldn’t bother, but not only was there a lot of car wash action going on, there were colored lights that lit the scene up in blue, green, red, purple…..one after the other. It was really cool, but I didn’t realize until I had viewed my 25 second video that I had actually found a serendipitous subject again!
Back at the hotel, I viewed the video multiple times, fervently wishing that I had taken cellphone photos instead. I didn’t have the time to go back through the car wash (with a clean car this time!). So, after a bit of pondering, I started playing the video while simultaneously taking screen shots. It worked a treat! The results are the images you see here in all their abstract glory. They’re colorful, they’re lively, and they’re totally serendipitous!
iPhone 13 Pro
No Post besides cropping from the screen shots
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