I think I knew it the moment the shutter clicked on this beautiful sunrise over The Wedge Pond in Kananaskis, someone was going to tell me how lucky I was to make this shot. They don't know about the number of times I've crawled out of bed at 4:00am to load up and make the one hour drive to Kananaskis only to have the sun blotted out by low clouds not predicted on any weather site, app or almanac.
It's not just the number of times I've made the trip, it's finding the site and going there at the right time of year to maximise the potential when the leaves are changing colour. Checking and rechecking data for conditions in the area for weeks until they show potential. Walking through a forest full of bears at 5:00am with a head torch creating bears in every shadow. Setting up in the stillness of the morning with a forest full of creaking, groaning and snapping sounds just feet behind you. Finding focus manually as it's too dark to focus. Taking along an ND graduated filter to balance out the extreme contrast between the dark forest and mountain, and the bright skies overhead.
The usual rant about having the gear and the knowledge to use it correctly should come into this too I guess, understanding composition and exposure to ensure the scene is captured as desired and actually going out there and doing it. I'm not sure there was any good fortune in this shot at all, I've planned this for years and revisited the location repeatedly, often returning empty handed.
But as I say often enough, if we got the shot every time we set out it would be boring. Still, as a good photographer looking for continuous improvement when it finally does come together like this, I see a number of ways to make a better shot next time.