All about Luck

Luck! Do you believe in luck or are you a believer in people making their own luck?  I was thinking about luck this past week with all the hubbub surrounding the Power Ball lottery.  Since I’m a firm believer in both, I joined the ranks of lottery purchasers with the high hopes of being one of the lucky ones.  After all, you can’t win, unless you play…. right!whooping cranes

When I came home from the grocery store and told Al I bought a lottery ticket(s), he was surprised considering we can count on one hand the number of times we’ve bought lottery tickets.  Just like millions of other American’s, I was lured in by the hype and insane amount of money. I justified my purchase by considering it a donation.  Lottery money is usually used for good causes.  In Colorado, the money supports parks and recreation.  Here in Texas, the money goes toward education and veterans.  Realizing my chances of winning anything were slim and none, I sought solace in knowing my ten dollars worth of lottery tickets went to a good cause.



But the fact that I didn’t win any lotto money doesn’t mean my week wasn’t full of good luck.  Ah, to the contrary!  A blogging friend recently commented to me, that a person has better luck at winning the lottery than seeing a whooping crane in the wild.  (It was after this comment, that I bought the lottery tickets…. hoping I was one lucky gal LOL)

how lucky - 2 whooping cranes and a roseate spoonbill in fight

how lucky – 2 whooping cranes and a roseate spoonbill flying by

The majority of whooping crane photos featured on this blog are photographs of WILD whooping cranes.  They aren’t banded and their lineage dates back to the 1940’s to the last remaining fifteen whooping cranes in the world.  Whooping cranes were close to extinction and still remain high on the endangered species list.

whooper_map_EThis group of whoopers that winter in the Rockport, Texas, area are referred to as the Wood Buffalo National Park wild whooping cranes.  Their migration takes them from the far northern reaches of Alberta, Canada, south 2,500 miles to the Texas Gulf Coast.  Looks like these Canadian cranes have joined the ranks of RVer’s who escape the harsh northern winters by heading south and becoming winter Texans.

So, do I consider myself luckier than a lottery winner?  Maybe I should….. but just think of all the good I could’ve done for the cranes had I won the lotto…. even second place would’ve been quite acceptable  😉

Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron – If a heron sees his shadow……

Just like the lottery, bird photography requires a certain amount of luck;  being in the right place, at the right time, with the camera at the ready.  However, I have to take the effort to make that luck happen.  In this case, I have to make my own luck and get lucky in the process  (hubby’s ears perked up with the last part of that sentence).Bird photography 

Getting lucky might mean hanging around a place watching the clouds roll by for an hour or more in the mere hopes of catching a glimpse of a rare or endangered bird, let alone a photograph.  This is where patience and perseverance pays off, and a little luck is always welcome.photograpy

Driving around scoping out great locations in hopes of capturing a unique sunset or sunrise photograph can also be challenging, but is there such a thing as a bad sunrise or sunset?  I think not.  Some are just Birdingmore spectacular than others and I consider myself lucky to be able to capture those truly amazing ones.

The other morning, I was dressed and out the door by 6:50 a.m. with my travel mug filled with hot, black coffee and my camera battery full.  I had high hopes for a beautiful sunrise and I was going to capture it so I could share it with all of you.

I drove to a couple of my favorite little spots along the coast.  I tried some new spots as well.  Then I waited, and waited some more.  The thick cloud cover wasn’t producing the results I had hoped for.

A beautiful sunrise, just not the photo op moment I had hoped for.

A beautiful sunrise, just not the photo-op I was looking for.

With the photography a bust, it was time for me to run a few errands.  First stop was the post office.  I arrived at 8:40 a.m. thinking they’d be open by 8:30.  Wrong – they didn’t open till 9:00.  Ah, what’s a gal to do for twenty minutes with a camera and empty media card sitting in the passenger seat?

Interesting grove of oak trees. Dozens of Great Blue Herons spent the night on top of them.

Interesting grove of oak trees. Dozens of Great Blue Herons spent the night on top.

How about a little exploring?  What was supposed to be twenty minutes of aimlessly driving around to kill some time, turned into over an hour of discovering one unique sight after another.   When I came upon an enchanting grove of wind-swept oak trees topped with dozens upon dozens of Great Blue Herons, I swiftly pulled the truck off the road.  Wow!  This was so worth the post office not being open.

Birding trifecta!

Birding trifecta!

As I ventured further down the road, a shot of pink caught my eye.  I quickly found a place to pull over and park.  I donned my favorite camo shirt and green hat and slowly walked through the weeds.  Talk about winning a birding trifecta …. boo-yah!   I hung around with this diverse group of locals until they wandered out of sight.Birding

It was well past 10:00 a.m. when I finally headed back over to the post office. Talk about an interesting morning.  What started out as an unlucky morning with a poor photographic sunrise and the post office being closed, turned into a lucky morning of birding.  If I had sat in the post office parking lot waiting for it to open instead of aimlessly exploring, I never would have stumbled upon these wonderful sightings.  Was it luck or did I make my own luck?  Hmm, when’s that next Power Ball drawing 🙂

“Luck, that’s when preparation and opportunity meet” – Pierre Trudeau

You can read about my trip to the Aransas Wildlife Refuge here and here.

Cranes are said to be a sign of good luck!

Cranes are said to be a sign of good luck! Does that mean I should buy another lottery ticket?


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77 thoughts on “All about Luck

  1. Some of my best photo ops are discovered while running errands too! And if I don’t have my camera with me, I get really bummed, lol. Lesson learned, ALWAYS take you camera with you no matter where you’re going! Love the Great Blue Heron capture with his shadow, awesome! 🙂

    • I always have a little point and shoot camera in my purse, but it’s limiting. Thus, while here in Texas, I’ve gotten in the habit of taking the good camera along even if I’m just going to the grocery store. I’ve stumbled upon some interesting photographic opportunities. I sure enjoyed photographing that heron. Don’t you love cooperative models?

  2. Great post! Love those serendipitous moments! I’m glad you showed the correlation between luck, planning and doing. Luck doesn’t just happen…it’s that window of opportunity, that if one is prepare, one might meet it. But, I think I’ve heard that somewhere! ;D

  3. Thanks for taking me back to Rockport/Fulton and those amazing whoopers! That little pond you found all the waterfowl on looks like the one we happened upon down a street in the residential area out by the bay. I happened to get a Roseate Spoonbill and some others, plus a Heron in one shot. I sure miss it there, but I just bet you would LOVE the birding down here in Florida..

    • That little pond was down near the Italian restaurant, so I think you pegged it. I’ve gone back several times since, and no luck 😦 I know I would love the birding in FL, I just don’t know if we’ll ever make it that far east. With the kids in AZ, that’ll be a tough decision. We’re having a great visit this year in Rockport/Fulton 🙂

  4. I think you will find that you will invariably have almost infinitely better luck finding birds to photograph than you will at winning the lottery. Hahah.

    Meanwhile, I wanted to let you and your readers know that lottery money frequently does not go where people think it is going. I’ve come across more than one investigative report that shows little if any of the lottery monies collected go where people expect. Here is one link to one such article:

    • Yes, obviously my luck has been much better in the birding department. I’ve read many a time about lottery money and the distributions or lack there of. I do know Colorado has some of the greatest parks and rec available to the public, thus they must be getting a fair chuck of lotto proceeds to maintain and increase trails, etc. But on the other hand, I rarely spend my money on tickets. Vegas wasn’t built on winners!

  5. Hi Ingrid,
    I loved this post – the bird pics and your narration are excellent. A very appropriate quote by Trudeau as well. I love the whole thrill of the chase, so to speak of nature photography. So often while desperately looking for one thing I find a few other surprises. That’s the combination of luck and effort I guess. We usually have to be out there and open to seeing something in the first place. Thanks for sharing the results with us. 🙂

    • Thanks Jane and I totally agree that it’s a combo of luck AND effort. If I didn’t get out and explore, and sometimes step out of my comfort zone, I never would stumble upon some of the most unique and beautiful things.

  6. Unbelievable beautiful shots! The Blue Heron with the shadow! Fabulous!
    The last sunset photo… gorgeous!
    I have been to busy in the shed to get out to take photos and I finally took Christmas down.
    Hopefully soon I will get out there and enjoy some luck of my own……………. 😉

    • Thank you Nancy. I have images of myself sitting in your backyard enjoying your little bird sanctuary as I snap away. I’m great at supervising projects LOL.

  7. I do believe that luck is mostly based on preparation, however I also believe in blind luck, which is indeed, lucky. I don’t think you can wish for luck, luck just happens. Just like 💩!
    Your whoopers are just gorgeous!

  8. I think your experience parallels the good luck discussion. Most would have stayed in the parking lot and waited for it to open. Instead, you went for a ride and look at the gorgeous results. Some might say you were lucky but I see it as a result of your being open to trying something else, the road less travelled. The more open we are to Life, the richer it becomes.

  9. I adore your story about getting sidetracked from the post office! Isn’t that what your great lifestyle is all about? We bought two lottery tickets about an hour before they shut down purchases. We actually had to drive to a small convenience store in a less populated area due to the *long* lines at all the ones near our house. It was pretty crazy. Texas schools only get 27.5% of the money taken in, but I guess that is better than nothing. We had fun for a couple of hours just discussing what we would do with all of that money, if we did win. Happy to say that we agreed that we would make sure a lot of people led better lives if we won it, not just us. I love that man. 😉

    • Thanks D. Discussing lotto winnings can be an enlightening discussion. Hubby and I decided we probably wouldn’t change too much about our lives, but it sure would fun. Perhaps I’ll buy another 🙂

  10. I must say your timing (or luck) was pretty darn good:) I really like that photo with the two whooping cranes and my favorite the roseate spoonbill. How cool that the spoonbill is in flight with its gorgeous color as the cranes walk below:) Glad you didn’t wait at the PO and instead got that awesome photo of the oak trees with all those Great Blues…Wow! That must have been quite a site.

    • My photo doesn’t begin to capture the amazing site of all the herons on the wind swept oaks. It was so stunning and unique and definitely unexpected. My hunt for pink continues. As nesting season approaches the male spoonbills are getting even more handsome.

    • Awe, thank you Gene. I’m having a great time experimenting with different settings on the new camera. It helps to have a great model 🙂

  11. Your photos are beautiful! I look forward to them ever week!!! Would love to get some great advice where to Go along the coast.
    Thanks for sharing!

  12. Incredible writing! I think everybody has different interpretations of where their luck comes from. 😉 Is it true that the lottery reached a billion? I also buy tix only when the winnings get high. Insane reflection shots!!!

    • Awe, thank you Rommel and yes the lottery reached an insane number. I probably won’t buy another ticket for a while but then again the lure of the win can be addictive 😉

    • Well, not sure if I’ll get ‘bird’ lucky again in the next two weeks, but I’ll keep venturing out in hopes my feathered friends will cooperate. Regardless, I’m enjoying my time along the coast 🙂

  13. I always feel so lucky to be in the right spot at the right time…you definitely hit the jackpot Ingrid! The little Ibis at the beginning of the post is so sweet…love the ruffled feathers and the lighting! I sure hope to visit the Texas gulf!

    • It is all about being in the right place at the right time and that can’t happen unless I’m out exploring. The Ibis was backlit and thus presented me with a bit of a challenge considering I was shooting into the sun. I was fumbling with camera settings all the while she sat there patiently waiting for me. The perfect model 🙂

  14. We went all out and bought two lottery tickets which were just a donation. Awesome pictures, I think my favorite is the close up of the great blue heron. Just love the detail.

    • Thanks Jim and yeah I thought I was going all out spending $10 bucks. I couldn’t believe the guy in front of me at the 7-Eleven spent $100. I guess he’s just more generous than me 😉 It was amazing how close the heron and ibis allowed me to get. I felt pretty lucky that morning.

  15. Your birding luck was certainly fabulous! Your photos are gorgeous, Ingrid. Love the cranes, the close-up of the heron, the light on the tern’s bill — and of course, the spoonbills! We’re pretty darned lucky, even if we never win the lottery! 🙂 (Eric keeps reminding me that I need to play to win, haha!)

    • Don’t you love it when the birds are so accommodating? I did get lucky that morning. And Eric is right… you need to play to win! But I always hate loosing. We lived in Las Vegas for four years, and they didn’t make much on me 🙂

    • Thank you Gary. I’m definitely not as patient as some, but there is a joy in watching the birds go about their business that makes being patient easy. Just sitting and watching can be entertaining and when that photo-op presents itself, it’s exciting.

    • You are so right Mary. Whenever I head out with the intent of what I’ll be photographing, it turns into a bust. But when I go out meandering with no focus, I stumble across the most fantastic finds.

  16. I love the shot of the whooping cranes and spoonbill in one shot – amazing! And the low sunlight on the great blue heron is gorgeous. Nice!

    • I’m still learning my new camera, thus was excited to have some of my shots turn out ok. The birds have been extremely cooperative lately and I’m taking full advantage before we move on in 2 weeks.

    • Thank you. I do enjoy running around searching for photo-ops and there’s no loss of photographic subjects around here. That’s one of the main reasons I enjoy visiting the Texas Gulf Coast.

  17. You are lucky! The photos are awesome. You inspire me and now I’m getting the itch to break out my equipment and take a nice long drive along the river to the Bay.

    I can’t remember the last time we bought lottery tickets, until this week – played both Saturday and Wednesday. It never hurts to dream a little and the money does go to a good cause. In California, it helps support school.

    • I’m sure I won’t make it a regular habit, but buying a lottery ticket every now and then can’t hurt. This blog helps inspire me to get out and about exploring with the camera. I’d love to see photos of your neck of the woods. I’ve never been to the bay area even though hubby lived in San Jose for a short time before meeting me. It’s on the travel list 🙂

      • Two great musts (especially for photographs) the Fort Point under the Golden Gate Bridge and the sea lions that have taken over several docks near Pier 39. Although a bit of a tourist trap, Lombard Street in the spring is beautiful as well.

        • I’m sure when the time comes for me to visit, I’ll be asking you for all the must see sights (I’m thinking hubby has forgotten) and any special recommendations. I’ve explored some amazing places thanks to fellow bloggers.

  18. Yes, you are one lucky gal! Love the trifecta of birds and the herons on top of the trees! I also picked up $10 worth of lottery tickets but was not so lucky. Only matched one number on my five tickets.

    • I too matched one number out of the whole bunch. I did get lucky with the birding. Now if only I’d have the same luck with lotto numbers. My photo unfortunately didn’t grasp the amazing sight of all the herons on top of the oak trees. I was mesmerized…. so cool.

    • Awe, thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed. I did feel pretty lucky that day even though I didn’t win the lottery. I won the lottery of birding 🙂

        • Wow… thank you. I’m humbled. I think the key to photography (and most other things in life) is practice. Because I shoot so much, my photography has improved somewhat over the years. It’s fun for me to look at photos on this blog that I took 3 years ago versus the photos I take now. The blog and photo-ops seem to give me a sense of purpose as we travel.

  19. Did I say Im jealous with all your bird sightings ? Great, and great bird photography.
    I imagined I was sitting next to you as you were heading to the Post Office, just like the time we were birding in Galveston!
    Yup, we, too was drawn to the hype 😦 but like you said it was for a good cause.

    • Thanks ML. I was thinking of you when Rosie flew over the whoopers. The birding center was a bit of a disappointment but I was entertained by GBH and Ibis walking the rail. Reminded me of our visit and the egret and spoonbill. Good times 🙂

  20. Ingrid – love your perspective. I purchased 10 tickets for $20 last weekend, won $4. On Wednesday, I reinvested my winnings and purchased seven more tickets – at the behest of my 13 year old daughter who was holding my hand when I bought them – 7 is her lucky number and she can’t buy tickets on her own. The conversation and laughs we had were worth the money – spent a grand total of $30, won $4 Saturday, and $4 on Wednesday. It’s all good. I am out $22 but time spent together was better than spending $22 somewhere else. Love the photos, made me warm just looking at ’em. take care and keeping sending the warmth north!

    • Can’t put a price on special moments shared with our children. Perhaps after your $4 wins, your winning will increase. I can’t complain about the weather this year along the coast. Sure we’ve had some cold and rain, but it’s rolling in and out. Last year, it seemed to hang around. I’ll be keep that camera working in overdrive 🙂

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