What a landscape is and isn’t

Before I write anything else, thank you for being such a good sport about my April Fool’s blog yesterday. Until I see a way of giving photographer’s value for their money, I have no intention of offering workshops of any kind. The larger groups that I see advertised might be great as a source of income for the host “photographer” but as an actual tool for learning? Nope. I smell cash cow and golden goose all the way.

I’ve been adding photos to my website over the last few weeks. While working a full time job, having family responsibilities and squeezing shooting in there somewhere, the website was neglected. I’ve still not redesigned it. I’ve played with a few different versions of it on my hard drive. When I come up with something that I like, I’ll rework the whole thing.

It’s fun going through the old stuff. Because I only process a few photos from an outing there are always lots that are different enough to process. Processing is a huge part of my visualization. Unless you’re spending over three hundred days of the year outside with your camera, you’re not likely to get everything right so that no post processing is needed.

Looking at a few years worth of work it’s easy to get a better perspective on what you’ve done. One of the things that stood out in my mind was a similarity¬† or continuity through everything that I liked. The same goes for what I didn’t like.

It’s impossible to preach to someone or lecture them on what or how they should be shooting landscapes because we might all like the same thing.

The kinds of photos that I did like were taken when the the sun was either low on the horizon or below it. That low light helps to give a feeling, a place and a time.

The pics taken when the sun was higher ended up looking like a record of a place that I had been.

Obviously for some photographers the important thing is to capture a beautiful place. It’s just that simple. Take a trip to some drop dead, gorgeous place and voila!, instant masterpiece. If it were only that easy.

A great landscape is all about evoking a mood or a feeling.¬† You’re never going to get that if you’re shooting without thinking and looking. When you go to Vermillion Lakes or Abraham Lake you want your photographs to look DIFFERENT from everyone else’s. Don’t you? I do.

Happy shooting,


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~ by Dan Jurak on April 2, 2012.

11 Responses to “What a landscape is and isn’t”

  1. Gorgeous, gorgeous photograph.. I rather wish I had been following your blog months ago :)
    In terms of learning.. I am always being told I have a great eye but technically I know I’m not much good ( more of an artist than a camera buff if that doesn’t sound horribly pretentious! ) and I seem to have a bit of resistance to reading camera manuals etc! so if not workshops then what?? I know I need to improve technically to take my photography to the next level.
    In a couple of weeks I’m meeting with a woman ( just she and I ) from a camera club who’s a bit known in this area as being good..she has seen my blog and likes my work and intially I contacted her about attending one of her workshops ( she only takes 2-3 people at a time) but she is full up for months. She suggested meeting for an evening..
    So the question is… what way of learning and improving? – paying someone to do individual work with them? doing a part time photography course? or just practice, practice, practice ( which I’m already doing!) and trial and error?
    Ooops didn’t mean this to be so long !

  2. @ Helen, I too dislike reading dry manuals and learn more easily by doing or by seeing. In a few days I’ll write something about how I believe the best way to improve as a photographer is and it doesn’t cost a penny.


  3. I will wait with bated breath ( so don’t take too long to post :) )

  4. Boy do I agree 100 percent. Many years ago when I was doing architecture photography with a view camera, I decided to go to a workshop for architecture photography in Chicago. What a total waste of money. Besides the money I wasted and all the time the instructor spend in the bar I still knew as much as he did. Never again will I do the a workshop.

  5. @ Bruce, there will always be some people who are extremely satisfied by workshops. I never was and I think that I am in the majority when I say that. I was sent to a few workshops through work years ago. The best thing that I got out of it was a free trip to Boston and accommodation for a few days.

    If I really wanted to make money in photography and not take pictures, I’d be hosting these things year round but my conscience and the fact that I enjoy photography don’t allow that. LOL

    Thanks for visiting and posting,

  6. Hi Dan. I couldn’t agree more. As I see it, it’s all about creating unique images, through composition and best use of the light that convey the emotion, that the photographer feels as he/she captures the scene, with the minimum use of post processing.

  7. You said “the kinds of photos that I didn’t like we’re taken when the sun was either low on the horizon or below it.” I think you meant those were the kinds you Liked! Just sayin I read your blog entries thoroughly and hang on to every word you write. LOL.

  8. @ Bob, thanks for catching that. I usually write these things in under ten minutes and then go off to do something else. Proofreading is not my forte. LOL

    Thanks again,

  9. LOL, you got me yesterday! ;)

  10. @ Derrick, sorry. I hope you didn’t reserve a flight here to Alberta on account of me. LOL

  11. no, but I was talking smack in my head about how you had gone to the other side!! LOL. It was a good prank – much better than me telling my FB friends I was switching to Nikon. ;)

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