Mountain Weeds?

Weeds or flowers? I’m not sure what these fluffy dandelion like plants are but they seemed to be everywhere I looked in Jasper and Banff. The roadsides were covered with them.

While waiting for the sun to drop a little lower I played with the idea of photographing them. Into the sun. Away from the sun. Perpendicular to the sun. There was all kinds of time to experiment. The post from the previous day on the blog was actually taken close to an hour after this was shot.

One of the blessings of digital photography is the ability to shoot and not be concerned with how much money film and processing is going to cost. I think that this is one of the reasons that photography has become much more popular and why the quality of photography has skyrocketed in recent years. It’s when you’re able to experiment like this that you can grow artistically through failure or success.

It’s easy to copy someone’s shooting style. That’s a great way to learn. It’s more difficult to develop your own way of seeing.

I was greatly influenced by the landscape photographers back in the seventies when I first became serious shooting landscapes. I tried to emulate their look, their equipment, etc. etc. and like when a child grows up and leaves home to be on their own they make an effort to be separate from their parents. I think that’s the case with photography. Eventually the young adult settles down and become themselves. They’ve borrowed a little from their parents and through their own experiences become unique.

Without realizing it, I think that I just wrote about myself. LOL. The days of trying to emulate anyone’s look are behind me. I admire certain photographers but I also have no interest in doing what they do and so should you.

Happy shooting,


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~ by Dan Jurak on September 23, 2011.

10 Responses to “Mountain Weeds?”

  1. Dan, the plant is an Eriophorum – commonly referred to as bog cotton, or cotton grass. I’m sorry, not sure what the species is, but I think it is probably angustifolium, It’s found in acid bogs across northern europe and america… It is not actually a grass, so do not be fooled by the name – instead it is a sedge… Hope that’s useful.

  2. @ Sean, thank you so much for the information. A question. The plants were growing everywhere along the roadside and across rocky slopes that were anything but boggy. They would still be Eriophorum?

    I’m still learning something new every day after all these years. Thanks so much again.

  3. beautiful image as always, dan!

  4. Flower Power!
    I’m sure I’m allergic to it…

  5. Dan, I kind of feel like I’m in the stage of venturing out on my own. The time that I was trying to copy everybody, though, was important for my learning, though.

  6. @ Rick, copying someone’s technique or look is a great way to learn. It’s part of the creative process. The second part is adapting what you’ve learned from imitation and making it yours. :)

  7. @ Oli, click on the banner on this blog for antihistamines. Oops. Wrong blog. :)

  8. Sorry, not cotton-grass. These are mountain avens, or the genus Dryas.

  9. @ Daniel, I just Wikipedia’d the mountain avens and the seed head certainly looks what I saw. Dryas octopetala

  10. Three species are found in Alberta (and all of them in the Jasper area), so without seeing a close-up of the leaves I hesitated to identify it to species.

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