It’s about a time and not a place…

The term landscape I think is misleading. Maybe for some it fits perfectly. A record of the land.

Visit Athabasca Falls in Jasper National Park where tens of thousand of tourists and photographers stop each year to photograph the Athabasca River as it thunders and roars over the falls. With a great majority of the photos taken, how many were taken only because the photographer/tourist happened to be there with no thought given to what the light or the weather was like?

I moderate a couple of groups on Flickr that are devoted to the landscape. On the one which features landscapes from Alberta, I’m not as selective about what gets let into the group. In there are many, many record shots of Alberta. A few are outstanding. Great weather. Wonderful light. Unusual composition. Most are photographs of Alberta taken during any time of the day. Some are composed and lit better than others but for the most part, they’re not remarkable.

On the other group which has almost four thousand members, by virtue of numbers, I can be more selective about what gets in. If it looks like there was little thought given to capturing a scene, it doesn’t get in. There are dozens or maybe even hundreds of groups on Flickr devoted to the landscape and why not? Everyone can shoot em.

For me the landscape is more about creating a time, a place and capturing the atmosphere of the land.

It’s not so important where you are as “when” you are.

The photo above was taken in Jasper a couple of weekends ago. About fifty meters behind me is the icefields highway, a modern, paved, two lane road. All manner of tour buses, motorhomes, trucks, buses and anything on wheels buzzes by this spot daily. There is a an area to pull over to take photos there. Everytime I am driving by this spot, someone is standing by the side of the highway with a camera pointed in this direction.

As a result there are probably millions of photos of this location with most being taken under, sunny skies, cloudy skies, rainy days and snowy days. The “real” photo is there to be had for everyone except that it’s not there for more than a few minutes of the day. It’s the time of day that’s more important than the place.

I’ve probably driven by this spot a few hundred times in my life, always on the way to some place else and I have only ever stopped here a few times. Why? Because almost always the sun is up too high, the clouds are not right, etc. I stopped taking those photos years ago when I realized that I always end up deleting them anyways.

It’s about the time not the place.

With the strong winds we’ve been having around Edmonton the past few days we are now officially in the “in between” season. It’s the time of year for me that photography really slows down. Unless I see unusual weather being forecast, I stay home.

The mountains are looking good with more snow forecast in the next few days higher up and I think that I might head out there for a little of my own “fire and ice” photography. Some of the smaller bodies of water should be frozen or freezing giving nice icy foreground reflections come dawn or dusk.

Happy shooting,


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~ by Dan Jurak on October 31, 2011.

4 Responses to “It’s about a time and not a place…”

  1. i love reading your posts.They are educative and interesting.Keep up the great work!!

  2. @ antaldamian, thank you for the kind words. Now that the “in between” season is here in Alberta my posts will be less frequent until the snow starts to fly.

  3. Love the look of some of your shots on the blog. Will place you on my blog reader…..

  4. @ Mike, thank you for the kind words and adding me.


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