Photography definitely is a medium that rewards being in the right place at the right time. Operating a camera doesn’t take much skill these days, and a photograph largely is limited to what was in front of the lens at the time the capture was made, so simply being present with a camera when something cool is happening stands a pretty good chance of yielding a good photograph.
I think this is one reason why photography gets disrespected as an artistic medium. Given the above, it follows that many who do not pursue photography in a serious way nevertheless likely will produce some very nice photographs. It’s a numbers game – stand with a camera in enough places enough times, and the odds suggest that every now and then you’ll be present when something interesting is happening for which you can point a camera at. If you want to be disrespectful of photography as art, you can point to this fact to support an argument that it takes no particular skill, talent, or discipline to produce good photographs.
However, I think this argument is true only so far as it goes. The measure of a successful photographer-as-artist is not a few lucky shots, but rather a body of work that shows repeated successful photographs time and time again. Successful photographs made even when the photographer was present when nothing out of the ordinary was happening. Photographs that show the eye of the photographer as picking something special out of the ordinary, something unusual out of the commonplace.
Of course, this is not one of those photographs. The cloud in this photograph is decidedly unusual, and its placement behind the silos and rail cars was unusually perfect. Getting this photograph was definitely a case of being in the right place at the right time. What can I say? These kinds of right place/right time opportunities don’t come along every day, no sense in passing it up if you happen to be there for one.