Where do I go to get my refund?

landscape, snow, drift,, praire, Alberta, Dan Jurak, foggy,

It wasn’t what I was promised. I paid to see the headliner but they never showed up. Instead all I got was the warmup act.

Before I had wiped this blog of my old posts I think that I had over 700 various postings over the years.

Aristotle made famous the quote, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” With regards to landscape photography this is especially true.

I will use our famous rocky mountains here in Alberta as an example. Banff and Jasper are two national parks here in Canada that are renowned for their “wild” beauty. Many of the photos that you see of these parks are not exactly wild. On the photo sharing website 500px.com if you do a search of those two places probably close to 100% of the photos that show up in the results were taken within a five minute walk of the highway. Not a tiny four wheel drive kind of highway but a highway that is modern enough to allow motor homes and Greyhound buses roar behind you as you practice your wilderness arts. So you see, it is really easy to find and get to many of the very photogenic places.

Back to Aristotle. I have been traveling to Jasper and Banff on weekend trips and holidays for most of my sixty years. I have seen them through all seasons and conditions. Sometimes you can see the mountains and other times either blowing snow or rainy weather blocks them from view. They aren’t always pretty and they aren’t always great subject matter for photographs. If you are after stunning landscapes one or two days out of ten might be in order. The rest of the days it doesn’t matter how good a photographer you are you will end up with very middle of the road, average looking photos of spectacular places. That’s like doing a fashion shoot ten times and only twice do the makeup, hair and clothing stylists show up. How do you think the other eight sessions will look?

No matter what your subject matter is you need ALL of the ingredients of the recipe for it to turn out. Bake a cake and leave out one of the major ingredients. What is the result?

I write this for a reason. I have long known how important how variable the weather is. If I travel to the mountains for photographs if the forecast doesn’t have the right ingredients, I know from years of experience, I will have a nice trip but I won’t get any keeper photos.

We’ve had an incredible winter so far this year. A few weeks ago I thought that before our winter had ended we would have shoulder high snow lining our driveway. Today most of the early snow we had has shrunk and melted down to small mounds of hardened snow and ice. It looks more like late spring here than early winter.

In Jasper and Banff about three and a half weeks ago they had so much snow that the highway between Jasper and Banff towns was closed for almost two days because of clearing and avalanche concerns. Picture in your mind the mountains with over a meter of freshly fallen snow sparkling and shining under a crisp winter sunrise. Everything is covered with the white stuff. Tree branches are pushed downwards because the snow is so heavy. Distant mountains are white from bottom to top.

Conditions like that are when I would love to be in the mountains. I might even pay for that privilege. In fact some people do pay for that privilege, almost two thousand dollars a week, no lodging, just being led down the highway to a few choice locations that are accessible to anyone with a pair of eyes.

The following weeks in the mountains were much like what we had here in Edmonton with all of the snow in the lower areas, the areas next to the highways flattening into mounds of ice. The trees sluffed their winter covering making it look more like summer than winter. A drive through the mountains would be nice but not worth the trip for photos.

There was indeed a trip similar to the one I described in our Canadian rockies that ended a week ago and with curiosity I was watching to see what kinds of photos resulted. Slowly they are being posted and the result? If I had paid my two thousand dollars I might be asking for a partial refund. You don’t always get what you pay for in the world of landscape photo tours.

Merry Christmas to all and a happy New Year,



~ by Dan Jurak on December 23, 2014.

7 Responses to “Where do I go to get my refund?”

  1. fantastic reading … it brings together YOU and your ART … speaking of which, let me steal from your concluding line: and a very merry christmas to you and yours, and a very healthy, thus happy and successful, next year!

  2. As always, sage advice. Our weather here has been really poor for a long time now. Oh, there’s been a few spectacular moments, usually on those mornings when I had an appointment to be somewhere else. (Excuses, excuses) I’m sure things will improve eventually, but in the meantime I’ll enjoy your efforts. So thanks again for generously sharing your wisdom and work. To you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthful New Year!

  3. Rontuaru, I know exactly what you mean about the weather.

    Thank you for your kind words, visits and comments.

    Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year to you and yours,

  4. 🙂

    Happy Holiday’s and a wonderful, productive and healthy 2015

  5. Stephan, thank you so very much!

    Happy Holidays and all the best to you and yours in the new year,


  6. I love this photo for its subtle tones, lighting and topics I never tire of-hoar frost, a fence and a snow drift. Happy shooting Dan in the days to come.

  7. Thank you Jane. I can never get enough frosty or foggy days, they really transform the land.

    Happy shooting to you,

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