We all loved Bob Ross. Bob was awesome and his legacy lives on in the programs he left behind. He didn't believe mistakes were bad, he believed they should be celebrated.
As he'd whisper his teachings through the TV, if he put paint in the wrong place or pushed it in the wrong direction he'd find joy of in his mistake and he wouldn't undo it, it would become part of the image.
"Oops! my brush hit the canvas. That's a tree now. We'll make that a tree. Happy little accident . . . "
"Oops, didn't want a mark on the sky! Never mind, those are birds now. Happy little birds . . . ."
If you've never seen the Joy of Painting by Bob Ross, stop what you're doing and go and watch it. It really is a Joy. It's more than that, it's therapy!
That brings me to this image, it's a happy little accident. I was on a family visit to West Midlands Safari Park and while I don't normally take my "proper" camera to a family day out, on this day I made an exception. On this particular day I took a couple of cameras, one for me and one for the kids to share. They had an old 35mm film camera (an Olympus OM-10) to give them something different to play with, and I had a trusty Nikon.
For most of my work I shoot manual and not being a "work" shoot, I didn't really prepare for this, just grabbed my already packed camera rucksack. My wife drove in and I unpacked the Nikon. Just as I picked up the camera this chap stuck his head up to the window. I reacted and fired a couple of shots off. And it's at this point I thought, "hang on, I need to check the settings!".
My next thought was, "Blimey, these will come out a bit rubbish, I'm pushing way too much light on to the sensor". So I adjusted and carried on shooting.
Fast forward to the evening. I'm at home in front of my monitor and looking at the images. I shrug my shoulders at the first couple of images. Yeah, I'm a bit of a numpty. What a newby error! Shooting without checking my settings, this is so over exposed.
But then . . .
Hold on, adjust for levels and this becomes an absolute black and white image. I mean this could look quite cool. I adjust for levels, makes some targeted adjustments to retain or drop some detail and I end up here. I end up with an image I wouldn't have normally kept, I might have just hit "delete". Yet somehow it becomes my favourite image of the day. Perhaps one of my favourites for that year.
I thought of the absolute legend that is bob Ross. I thought about the lesson he taught us.
I'd made a mistake.
It was a Happy Little Accident.