The beauty of a September morning on the prairie…

My favorite time of year. It might sound crazy to some readers but I really look forward to the days getting shorter and the nights getting cooler.

Autumn is definitely in the air.

Yesterday evening there were some great clouds passing overhead. Heavy. Dark. Foreboding. The were impressive and I could easily imagine them hanging low over a field of barley. The problem was, it was very windy. Not so good for my photos.

With a forecast for rain overnight, the winds abating and temperatures dropping to just above freezing, Saturday morning had all the makings of some great landscape weather. It’s a long weekend up here in Canada. Do I sleep in on and enjoy the comfort of my down comforter or do I have the coffee maker set to go on at 5:30 a.m.? It was an easy choice.

Morning came quickly and at 6:00 a.m. the eastern horizon was becoming lighter by the minute. The sky was clear overhead. Far to the east it looked like there might be a few clouds.

As I drove out of town I could see low lying blankets of fog. A little heavier than a couple of days ago but still not very thick. I didn’t have to drive for very long, maybe ten minutes and clouds were starting to materialize from the formerly clear sky. I don’t know why that happens. Often it can be cloudless when leaving home in the morning and forty minutes later there are clouds everywhere. Other times, it stays clear.

I pulled over to a spot that I have photographed many times before. A field of canola which had just been swathed was on one side of the road and a crop of barley on the other. I followed the fence line for a few meters stopping occasionally to grab a shot and then moving on to the next spot.

The light was great for almost an hour and then it was time to head home to finish the pot of coffee that had brewed a couple of hours previously.

A fine September morning in Alberta.

Happy shooting,


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~ by Dan Jurak on September 3, 2011.

7 Responses to “The beauty of a September morning on the prairie…”

  1. I love the colours in this shot.

  2. @ Livvy30, this is very close to how it looked. No filters and very little processing. The color of skylight ten minutes before the sun rises can be almost magical.

    Thank you for visiting and commenting.

  3. Dan, a little off-topic, but are you on 500px at all? I’ve been at it for several weeks now and I think I prefer it to Flickr. It all depends on what you want out of a photo sharing site, though. There seems to be less back-slapping going on over there, and I like the overall quality of photos seem to be much better.

  4. @ Rick, yes, I am on 500px. There might be less back slapping going on but that’s probably because the website is organized so poorly. 500px makes it incredibly difficult to find photos. I like Flickr because I can post to the appropriate groups or if I want, start my own.

    I’m not really sure how 500px is supposed to be any different than the other photo sharing websites. Feedback on there is horrible. I emailed a question a month ago and have yet to hear back. At least on Flickr there seem to be real people behind the help section.

  5. Beautifully done as always, Dan. I must tell you about this morning’s adventure. After not being able to sleep since 2:00 am, I got up around 5 and read your blog entry. I got fired up enough to go in search of my own fabulous sunrise, ha! Went driving like a bat out of hell around our twisty turny roads to try to rise above the surrounding mountains and trees in time, up to where I could actually see some horizon and the sun come up. Yesterday the light was like gold but I had to be at a craft fair so I didn’t have time to shoot. Today the light was pretty so-so…it had warmed up considerably from the past few days, so I guess that had an influence on the intensity of the light. Nevertheless, some of your advice was ringing in my head as I hit the top of a major hill that overlooks the ocean. That’s when it really hit home…where I live, we’re surrounded by mountains to the east. Where there are no mountains, there are janormous trees. It doesn’t bode well for sunrise photography.

    I got some o.k. shots but nothing thrilling, that’s for sure. Will have to try again but I’m not quite sure what to do about the mountain/tree problem!

    Thanks again for all the inspiration.

  6. @ Not all sunrises are great for photography. That’s certainly the case where I live.

    Sunrise in the mountains or tall trees? So very different than shooting on the prairies but think of the possibilities. If you can find sunlight streaming between trees early morning or late evening… How I shoot is determined more by what is around me than how I would like to shoot. I guarantee that if I lived close to you that my shooting style would be completely different.

    The specifics of what I write might not always apply to where you are but the spirit does. I stumbled upon my shooting style by experimentation. Seeing what works and what doesn’t. If at the beginning you can get ONE interesting photo from an outing consider yourself lucky. There are/were many times that I go out and don’t even expose a frame. Be the water that fills the vessel. Adapt yourself to the conditions around you. I think that you’ll surprise yourself by how good you can be and how different.

    All the best and don’t get discouraged.


  7. Thanks again, Dan. I appreciate the encouragement! I did get a shot of some trees with mist rising off the lake that might turn out to be something…haven’t worked on it just yet. Getting ready for a trip to Nelson…more mountains and trees, lol! Anyway, I’ll keep at it and we’ll see what happens.

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