One of the many blessings being a landscape photographer is being able to travel around to different areas of the county, getting to see the great variety of beauty, culture, and terrain we so often take for granted. One such highlight for me came back in 2013 on a trip with Rick Louie when we went to Grand Teton National Park in northwestern Wyoming. We both have been to area several times and were looking for something different to photograph. But the conditions had been so great everywhere we went that we were content with hitting up some familiar locations.
I have some "family" in Idaho, literally just across the Tetons from Wyoming and I had wanted to see them since I was going to be in the area. Rick and I went to Driggs and met up with them for dinner and drinks. After enjoying a great meal and some great conversation, Rick and I asked my "cousin" Jesse if there was any good areas nearby that he thought might be great for sunset photos. Jesse said that up by Grand Targhee is some great overlooks and we made our way there, but on the way Rick and I noticed that the light was beginning to really go off.
Jesse had us take some random county road and after a mile or two, Rick just pulled over and said "right here". The view was amazing, we had Grand Teton and Middle Teton standing prominently over some rolling hills, and to top it all off there was even a rustic looking cabin at the end of one of the fields. Pro tip: photographers LOVE rustic looking cabins, it's like our cat nip.
Meanwhile, Jesse was nearly flabbergasted because of how stoked Rick and I were about the light and how great it was illuminating the Tetons. He later remarked to me that he has never seen anyone so jazzed about a sunset. Rick and I love chasing the light and making quick decisions about the scenes we encounter and what compositions might work out best, but often times pure dumb luck plays a big part. My advice to photographers usually goes like this; make a plan, and be very flexible. You can't control the light, the terrain, the wildfire, and the weather. You have admit what you can control and what you cannot control, which is often very humbling. While you cannot rely on luck, you can put yourself to be in a position to maximize it when it comes.
Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good I guess!