Ok, so sometimes luck plays a very important role in a photographer walking away with a fantastic image or a dud. You, as a photographer, still need to have the skills to know how to quickly adapt. You need to be able to quickly setup your tripod, compose properly, adjust your focus, select an aperture, shutter speed, ISO...quickly, without even really "thinking" about it. Then you can take advantage of the lucky moments.
On my first day in Yellowstone I wrote off sunrise because I got in very later because of travel issues. My only hope for "magic light" was at sunset. I put a plan together and took off that evening. I knew I was going to stay in the Upper Geyser Basin that was near Old Faithful. I shot Old Faithful at the last eruption that would occur before the sunset. Then I started making my way down the trail to the Morning Glory Hot Spring, which is about a 1.5 mile walk. Well, about half way on my journey the cloud cover rolled in and I had pretty much written off any kind of sunset, but I was halfway to my destination and I might as well finish the trip. In a very lucky moment, as I got to the bridge that crossed The Firehole River, the clouds broke up just enough, the sun dropped below the horizon and lit up all of those clouds that had rolled in and created a pretty magical sunset. I took a few images and quickly ran to Morning Glory to capture it at sunset. Well, it was nice, but the reflections coming off of the river with the steam from the nearby geysers made a much stronger image, so after a quick few snaps at Morning Glory, back to the bridge I went. It seems the longer I waited, the better the color got. Well, until it gave way to rain. That's right, rain. I was 2 miles from my car and it's raining. In another lucky twist, it only rained for about 15 minutes and not very hard. I like to think I was being rewarded for suffering a horrible travel day on the previous day. ;)