Going with the flow…

Shooting landscapes is in a way similar to shooting fashion. Years ago when I used to photograph people as part of my job I learned a very important lesson. Your subject matter dictates how you shoot someone or something.

Some models looked stunning from just the right angle and with the right expression but get them to smile and the look was ruined. One model I remember in particular looked very average when she came into the studio, this was very early into my shooting fashion. I saw her before the stylist put on her makeup and didn’t have too high expectations. When she changed into the clothes we were illustrating and stood in front of the camera, BAM!!!!!!

It was incredible the transformation that occurred. I could have put my camera on a tripod, set it to expose a frame every second and come back when the film was used up. She was incredible in the range of expressions from giggling to demure to seductive. Some models were great at one thing but not another. To get the best photos that I could, it was always better to shoot what THEY did best and build on that.

Landscapes are like that. I go with what nature presents me with.

Now that autumn has nearly ended and the land is almost stripped bare of anything green and alive, I have to adapt to the changes on the landscape. No more lush and alive scenes. No more stalks of wheat or barley swaying in the wind or covered in morning dew. No sirree, things are drastically different.

The shots are still there. There are fewer of them and they occur less frequently. The brown weeks of spring and autumn have always been the least productive times of the year. Now I’m looking forward to the snows of winter. Another different look.

So what to do when the foliage has dropped and most of the color has gone? I look for shapes. I look for silhouettes.

I shot this a few minutes after photographing the hay bales I posted a few days ago. As I always do, I shoot quickly and I shoot a lot. Snap. Snap. Move. Stop. Snap. Snap. Repeat.

Coming over the crest of a hill the sun was just breaking the horizon. This sunrise was unusually red. Sunrises are like that. Some are almost colorless. Others it seems have waaaaaay too much color.

The radiating lines of stubble in the wheat field caught my eye and then as the sun rose it momentarily skimmed the tops of the wheat. The sun was still low enough that it lit part of the hill and not others. It was the interesting pattern of light and the lines of stubble that I saw and shot.

As quickly as the pattern of light appeared it was gone and off I went looking for more to shoot.

The wheat normally wouldn’t appear this red. When I transferred the RAWs onto the computer and previewed them my first thought was that some setting was changed. I double checked everything and this was very close to they looked as they came out of the camera. In fact I removed a bunch of the red. You can still see how much is left. Looking to the left of the horizon close to where the sun is you can see how orange the sky is there. That color was reflected in the clouds overhead just like with the hay bales. That’s not a filtered color. That’s mother nature.

I might be posting a little less frequently in the next little while. Things at work are in a word, interesting and my mind isn’t really on photography but I haven’t given up on posting entirely.

Happy shooting,


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~ by Dan Jurak on October 13, 2011.

4 Responses to “Going with the flow…”

  1. This photo (and the one of the hay bales) tug at my heartstrings. I was raised in farm country in northern NY and scenes like this were such an everyday fall occurrence that I know (now) that I took them for granted. Looking at this is like taking a step back in time. Gosh, I miss that place …

    Hope you keep coming back with more!

  2. @ Rontauru, Your comment is exactly the kind of emotional response that I think landscapes should evoke. You’ve made my morning in a week that’s been filled with crap. Thank you. :)

  3. Great photo!
    I find it interesting how the changing seasons affect photographers. In my case the “brown” season is my favorite time of year for landscape photography in Alberta. As soon as the cold and snow comes I’m done with the camera. Then it’s time to retreat to my cave and process the shots I took in the previous six months and wait for spring.

  4. @ Brian, interesting! Lots of brown ahead in the next few weeks for you to enjoy. Thank you for visiting and commenting.

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