Keeping it simple

I decided against the four hour drive to the mountains on Monday morning. I would have loved to photograph them. After all, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Everywhere you look there are pictures to be had. My heart wasn’t in being on the road for so long. Some days are like that.

Instead, I stayed close to home. Truthfully, I think I was better off staying on the prairies for two reasons. We had a great sunrise on Monday. I shot for less than an hour and was home by 8:30 a.m. As I write this the skies have clouded over and the morning has lost it’s magic. That’s reason number one. Number two? I’ve been having great stock sales to multinational pharmaceuticals. Being able to shoot a landscape minutes away from my driveway and selling for multi-thousand dollars for international ad campaigns is a bonus. I really don’t shoot with the intention of selling stock. I shoot what I find pleasing to my eye and then submit it for stock. That goes contrary to what a lot of photographers do. If I did that, well, it would become work and the last thing I ever want to do is make photography a job.

I’ve written about how the times are a changing for the outdoor and stock photographer. It aint pretty.

The sunrise wasn’t anything out of the ordinary today. The deep, crusty snow made walking about a major chore. Stepping up on crust only to break through to knee deep snow and step up again, arrgh. My heart was pounding so hard breaking trail and rushing about trying to capture as many different views as I could before the sun rose too high above the horizon.

Whether I am in the mountains, on the prairies or even when I used to shoot in the studio, I am always trying to simplify my composition. The viewfinder can be deceiving. You see all that great detail when composing your shot. It looks wonderful. You process your image at home and think that you can’t be looking at the same picture.

I am always looking to keep my compositions lean and clean. The fewer things going on in the image the better. Addition by subtraction if that makes sense.

The snow has matured. It’s melted, frozen and drifted many times over giving it a sculpted look when the light is right. It’s not at all like fresh fallen powder. It doesn’t have the same look or feel. The snow instead of being featureless and white, has many interesting swirls and shapes in it. It becomes a design element.

I’m gonna head off for a long soak in a hot tub to get the blood flowing again in my fingers and toes. Brrrr. It was a chilly one.

Happy shooting,


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~ by Dan Jurak on February 22, 2011.

4 Responses to “Keeping it simple”

  1. I always learn so much from your posts. Enjoyable AND educational. Thanks.

  2. @ Cecelia, you’re very welcome. That keeps me writing. :)

  3. I was in a similar situation last week. Took an easy way in to get down a river without spoiling the snow and ended up way off course in 3 feet of snow with a lot of that irritating crust breaking thing happening. I’ve reached the age where I stop now and think about that statistic that heart attack is the leading cause of death in parks. Something to think about when each and every step is 3 feet down. Along with a set of snowshoes for next year. ;-)

  4. @ Eric, I hear you about the heart. I’m no spring chicken either. When I was trying to catch my breath, with my heart pounding hard in my chest, I thought that if I didn’t get some kind of angina at that moment, I would probably die of something other than a heart attack. LOL

    This is the most snow on the prairie in recent memory. It doesn’t look like there’s much until you step off the road into the ditch and then…
    Waaaaay deep snow!


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