Getting in the “zone”


There are times when everything is in its place. It feels right. It looks right.

It’s being in the groove. In the “zone”.

Something almost spiritual happens and it’s all part of the creative process.

I’ve never been high, at least not on drugs. I was drunk once in my life and it wasn’t a great feeling during or afterwards. It’s a wonderful feeling being in the “zone” that is difficult to explain.

When shooting infrared images on my camera what is displayed on the back of my camera is a pinkish/purple image that is far removed from how it will end up looking.

A long time ago shooting stopped being contemplative and is instead more reflexive. I see. I shoot. It feels right. It doesn’t feel right. It has become that simple.

I shoot fast, only checking for two things while looking at the camera back. Is the exposure close? Is the image in focus. That’s it. The critique comes later when I get home and do a rough edit in camera.

That’s the first part. It’s almost mechanical.

The second part is probably what I enjoy most about photography. With this image for example I did a rough correction in my RAW image editor. All of those things that you learn in art or photography school about composition, balance, etc. happen almost unconsciously. If it doesn’t “feel” right and I don’t have a better way to explain it then it gets deleted. Trashed. Gone forever and inside my head a mental note is made I think, about what DID NOT work. Filed away to be recalled again one day when a similar situation arises.

For the images that I keep, I almost always go to youtube, find some music that I like and open the image in Photoshop.

Looking at the image, I lighten, I darken, I burn, dodge, hold this area back, instinctively while listening more to the music than paying attention to the photo. It’s kind of like channeling I think, drawing something from somewhere that you aren’t really conscioius of and I love doing it.

For the ten minutes or so that I will spend with the photo all that exist in my universe are two things, the music that I love and my creation. Is it mine? I dunno. I don’t know that I have much say in how it turns out.

The idea starts in one direction consciously and unconsciously ends up in another. Weird or what?

That’s being in the “zone”.

Happy shooting,





~ by Dan Jurak on June 26, 2016.

6 Responses to “Getting in the “zone””

  1. All I can say is welcome back. I just read your previous two posts:)

  2. Hi Eric. Good to be back and thank you for your continued visits.


  3. I love the zone. Also love this photo. It’s contrasts are nicely balanced and the sky and main tree trunk particularly draw me in.

  4. Thank you Offshoots.


  5. You’re welcome. My name is Sheila, btw. πŸ™‚

  6. Thank you Sheila. πŸ™‚

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