Letting Your Imagination Run Wild – Black & White Style

long exposure, low key, fineart, black and white, ukrainian church, greek orthodox church, prairie, landscape, Alberta, summer, clouds, cross, Dan Jurak, Alberta

The past few weeks of photography to say the least has been lots of fun and very interesting. I think that I got my mojo back to quote Austin Powers. LOL

After returning to photography after a long absence (it lost it’s sparkle when I started getting paid to shoot for someone else) color landscapes were lots and lots of fun. So much to learn shooting digital and using Photoshop from the old sheet film days.

But after a few years color landscapes lost their luster. I found myself less and less interested in getting out and doing what seemed to be the same old thing. I am sure that I will return to color one day. Maybe soon? There is something awe inspiring catching golden rays peaking over the horizon onto a fog covered valley.

Color is on hold for a while. Black and white gets me excited again and here’s the crazy part. When I HAD to shoot black and white in my first year of photography school back in 1971 I think, I somehow had it in my head that the “proper” way to photograph black and white was to pre-visualize and wait until the conditions were perfect and then release the shutter. It was a very disciplined kind of photography. I never would have thought of darkening a corner or lightening an area to draw the eye into it. I can look back on that time and say that it made me a better photography. You couldn’t be sloppy with your technique or the photo wouldn’t work.

Fast forward a few decades and my how things have changed. All the rules that I had learned long ago are now meant to be broken. I understand them. I know why they are rules but I use them and break them to my advantage and it is soooo much fun!

I’ve been to this old church a few times and shot it in color. It never quite looked right to me. Shot in black and white and this old church becomes more a figment of my imagination than a real place. Oh there isn’t anything added or removed here. Everything is in place but it is the interpretation of cloud movement and tones that makes it unique for me.

I’m at a time in my life where I care less or not at all about what others might think about what I do. It’s not just photography that this applies to either. Remember being in high school and worrying about your jeans looking right or that your hair was the “right” style? I do and looking back that was such a stupid time. Just as I dress in what I find comfortable I create what makes me happy.

Try it. You might like it.

Happy shooting,



~ by Dan Jurak on June 25, 2015.

15 Responses to “Letting Your Imagination Run Wild – Black & White Style”

  1. Well said, Dan. Sounds like our lives are in the same place. I shot commercially for 30 years and am now trying to ” find my personal voice ” again. As much as it’s really great to make your living as a photographer, it does claim a bit of your soul..

  2. Thank you Steve. I would recommend to anyone who “loves” photography to get a well paying job that you are happy at and do the photography as a hobby/pastime. After a few years of shooting professionally I stopped shooting for myself. The last thing that I wanted to see on weekends was my camera gear.

    Enjoy your new found freedom!


  3. Great B/W photo. Jim

  4. I am an electrician and like most tradesman, none of us want to do on the weekends what we do for a living. Just human nature guess. Exactly where is this church? I will be in Edmonton next week and would like to take a shot (pun intended) at it myself.

  5. Grant, I can’t say exactly where the church is located. I don’t even know its name but it is about three miles north east of Andrew, Alberta.


  6. Thank you Jim.

  7. Great post Dan. At photography school we needed to print our negative with the black border included as a proof we did not crop. Not doing so meant zero points on that task.
    You are right about the rules. Only when one understands and mesters them one becomes free to break them for ones advantage.
    Oh boy, yes, I had forgotten that part… being so uncertain, always worrying about what others would think… 🙂
    For some reason Edward Hopper springs into my mind with this stunning image.

  8. Maybe it’s just me, but I swear when I stare at this picture the clouds in the background drift right. They do! Speaking as someone who seldom gives a rip what others think, great post!

  9. What a great shot- wonderful contrast
    of tone and subject
    Does it stop being art if you are shooting for someone – shooting what they want rather than what one feels

  10. Thank you Ray. I don’t know the answer to your question. I think as soon as you start labeling yourself you get into trouble.

  11. Ronuaru, you are right about the clouds. They were drifting left to right while exposing the photograph. In fact the movement seemed so faint (because the clouds were on the horizon) that I didn’t think that the movement would register at all.


  12. Oh those rules from school. I don’t want to think about them as I did NOT like to be told what to do but that was school and it was play by the rules or fail.

    I had to look up Edward Hopper as I was unfamiliar with him and I do see a resemblance. Stark. Contrasty. Simple. Graphic.

    Thank you,

  13. I made a comment about this one on another post because I thought it had been erased.Yes, I really like this!

  14. Not a problem. I would never delete one of your comments unless it was accidental.

  15. No I thought I had deleted your post from my computer when they got sent to me.just got overwhelmed by all my e-mail and deleted a batch. Always enjoy your photos and commentary.

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