Staying motivated… how do I do it?

I love shooting landscapes. I can easily see myself riding into the sunset with my camera, taking photos for as long as I have the energy and ability to do it.

Many take up photography as a hobby and immerse themselves totally with it. They live, eat and breathe photography. You know the old saying about the candle that burns brightest, burns fastest? There’s a grain of truth to that. Over the years where I used to work, I’d see photographers just starting their careers. When their shift ended, they’d still be out there hunting for the ever elusive enterprise shot. Fast forward a year or two and they’d already been burned out, their enthusiasm waning. Photography had become just a job. Not a passion just something that they did to earn a living.

During the years that I earned a living with a camera my personal shooting completely stopped. There was a span of almost twenty years where I didn’t ever pick up a camera to shoot for myself. Photography had indeed become a job. It’s like the Greyhound bus driver, the last thing he/she wants to do for vacation is hop into the family van and drive a thousand miles.

I stay motivated by not eathing, thinking and breathing photography. I keep it as a small part of my life. When I want to get away to clear my mind for a few hours I hop into the Rav and drive. It’s almost like meditating. The “real” world disappears behind me and I settle into my groove, observing, being a spectator and ultimately taking photos.

Being creative is being liberated. Everything that you are becomes part of the process. I drive and I marvel at nature. The way that the clouds dance across the sky. The falling of light on the land. The shapes. The colours. It always amazes me. All the while this is happening, I’m concentrated on creating memories of what I observed.

I seldom write about camera equipment because I seldom think of it while I am shooting. It’s automatic. For some it’s become all about the equipment. When the new Nikon D800’s were coming out it was incredible to see what a feverish pitch photographers/customers were getting worked into. Two months later for the vast majority, the enthusiasm and novelty has worn off and their state of the art, high megapixel cameras sit and gather dust or they’re being used to take photos that a smart phone would be just as useful for.

To see me take photos, you wouldn’t be impressed, you might be surprised.  Instead of the contemplative, slow, deliberate photographer that landscape shooters are supposed to be, I am like a bumble bee, hurrying and scurrying. Observing.  Planting the camera. Snap. Snap. Snap. Getting up, looking around and doing the same thing again. I pay almost no attention at all to my equipment. It all happens in my head. The seeing, the exposing and even how I want to process the final image because many times, how the camera sees is not how I see. When I’m out there, things naturally flow. When I get home I edit, process, upload and then, IT’S ALL FORGOTTEN!

It’s important I think to let go of photography. If you ate pizza all the time, you’d get sick and tired of pizza. If you spend every waking moment thinking and dreaming about photography, well, you get the rest.

I love pizza. I don’t eat it every day for every meal. It’s healthy to have a balanced diet and that’s how it goes for your photography.

Happy shooting,


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~ by Dan Jurak on August 30, 2012.

6 Responses to “Staying motivated… how do I do it?”

  1. I really enjoyed reading this piece of motivational work. You cover some excellent points that are absolutely true and I myself have an escape route to go photography something that I want to, which is mainly textures and landscapes.

  2. @ Lindsey, I made the mistake? of becoming a professional photographer for too many years. Fun became work. That was a great way to ruin a wonderful pastime.

    Thank you for visiting and commenting,

  3. Your very welcome :)

  4. Another great post Dan. It can sometimes be hard for all of us to find the motivation or inspiration to create and you’ve listed some good ideas on how to overcome those lulls. Excellent image by the way as well… I’ve always preferred darker/moodier processing for storm photos.


  5. Stunning shot!

  6. Great article and wonderful picture!

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