“Dans les champs de l’observation le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés” ( In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind. ) – Louis Pasteur, 1854.
I made this photo from my favorite spot to shoot Houston’s downtown skyline, the outside edge of a bridge that arcs over Memorial Drive. I knew where I wanted to shoot from as I shot from that point often. And from experience gained from a few dozen trips there, I knew roughly what time of day would give me the general light I liked but of course I had no control over the weather or whether or not I’d ever be lucky enough to catch a rainbow, with the right light, at the right time of year, or if it fall behind the buildings or off to one side or the other, and with a dramatic sky to set it and the city off. I go into self-assigned shoots like this knowing what I know (a bit about light, weather, composition and photographic gear) and trying my best to receptive to what might happen. I also had to shoot when the bridge wasn’t bouncing due to traffic. Knowing my gear lets me work as fast as possible with minimal wasted effort.
The bigger idea behind this photo came from an acquaintance who once told me that he thought Houston’s skyline really was a symbol for the promise of the city and what was possible. That got me thinking about the scene in “The Wizard of Oz” where Dorothy and friends see the Emerald City for the first time. I worked at shooting the skyline for many years with that idea in mind.
A detail lost at this size is the runner heading towards the city to the left of center of the frame. He’s the little white dot just to the right of the trail.