Your vision… your style

Dan Jurak, long exposure, black and white, fine art, fineart, prairie, minimalist, clouds, sky, style, vision, Alberta, landscape, 

“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”

― C.G. Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology


It’s only been a few weeks since I focused on black and white images and already I can start to see the beginnings of a direction.

I think that Jung had it right when he said that “your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.” Look to the work of others and you are dreaming. Seek approval from others dream. Look inside and awaken.

Kind of deep words but then life and photography exists on many levels.

I am finding black and white to be more about seeing potential in a scene and then developing it when I get home. Color for me has always been about seeing the shapes, colors and textures and magnifying them on the computer. I usually have a fairly solid sense of what the final image will look like from the moment I release the shutter. Black and white is the complete opposite.

On the Alberta prairie there are buildings of every shape and description every few hundred meters. Some are hidden in trees others, the ones I like are out in the open against the sky.

The conditions that worked for me in color are not the best the kind of black and whites that I am reaching towards. Because I am usually shooting with long exposures of from two to five minutes the skies for the time being at least are completely unpredictable. What direction are the clouds traveling? Are they side lit? Back lit? What direction are they moving? How much blue sky is there around them? Is it completely overcast? These are some of the things that are making this so interesting for me.

RAW image

This is where the part Jung states about looking into your heart comes into play. Once I open up the RAW image I have an almost blank canvas with only a rough framework to play upon. In the RAW there are the bare bones of shape, shadow and light. Photography becomes less at this point about photography and more like playing with a pencil and paper, lightening this, darkening that and moving forward with the result. Only when looking at this RAW again do I see the lines of the dirt road doing the narrowing perspective thing towards the top of the hill. I was aware of it when shooting but did NOT make a conscious effort to frame it this way, it just “seemed” to fit better like this.

Where before I would process a color image in less than ten minutes and be finished, now I find myself, playing for an hour, saving the photo and re-visiting it and changing or moving it forward. It’s a completely different way of doing things.

Places in the landscape that I would drive by before I now see with fresh eyes. Is this barn photo worthy? How about that tree out in the open worn bare by grazing cattle?

It’s fresh. It’s new. It’s fun. It’s me on a different level. It’s my vision. It’s my style.

Happy shooting,






~ by Dan Jurak on November 4, 2014.

6 Responses to “Your vision… your style”

  1. Great photo, Dan! Love the darkness in the sky and those waves of clouds really make the house such a great subject!

  2. @Rondje, thank you. There is so much to learn yet about what translates in the real world to a strong final image.

    Thank you for your visits and commenting,

  3. hi dan –

    nice of you to share some of what’s moving you (you’ve been using such great quotes throughout all this, thanks), and how you are moving the images through your longer process. i know you have done b&w infrared in the past, are you doing anymore of that lately? i always mean to try overlaying/blending the IR and the color or rgb-to-b&w, but once i am out shooting i stop planning and just respond…

    – marke

  4. Hi Marke, once I feel like I understand how things work in getting images that I like with some consistency I will try to explain what I am doing. Right now I am doing things more by feel than anything else.

    Funny that you should mention the infrared. I was looking at buying another camera body to have converted to IR before things turn green here in about seven months. LOL The camera body that I used for the IR is an old Canon and now I have switched over to Nikon so I plan on getting a refurbished D800 this winter and sending it away for conversion. This time I will have the conversion done so that there will be no channels to switch. My Canon sees some visible light and mostly IR the Nikon will be IR only. This makes for darker skies where blue and the foliage should be much brighter.

    I know what you mean about planning things out when in the field. Same thing happens here. All plans are forgotten and I get carried away with shooting. LOL

    Thank you for the comment and visits,

  5. I love that quote by Jung and thank you for quoting it. I remember reading it a few years ago. You are on quite the journey, so inquisitive, so rewarding the photos are so dream-like. Thanks for sharing.

  6. @ Jane, I read somewhere that it is the journey that is important and not the destination. The landscape is the same one I have always photographed but seen in a different way. A nice change for me and a challenge.

    Thank you for visiting and commenting,

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