Why do we do it? Or the need to be different

methane bubbles, frozen, ice, Abraham Lake not, Alberta, Dan Jurak, black and white, long exposure, monochrome, Jasper,

I am/was a very competitive person.

I think that I wrote years ago on my blog (I discarded a few hundred posts and started fresh) about when I was younger I used to shoot food and fashion for our local newspaper.

I got thrown into it. I didn’t really ask for the job but was offered it and had no experience at all photographing fashion.

There was a competing paper at the time who had an excellent studio photographer. I loved how he shot fashion and every week on Tuesdays the fashion section would run in both papers. I would anxiously look to see what he had done and every week I would cringe while comparing it to what I had done.

Being the best was important to me. It mattered not that he had many years of experience while I was just starting out. I tried my best. Always striving to do better and slowly it happened. I got better.

That was so many years ago. Now retired and with nothing to prove to myself why do I keep taking pictures (even if intermittently LOL)?

The picture at the top of this post was inspired by photos I have been seeing of Abraham Lake recently. By now almost every landscape photographer has seen or heard of them. They are an interesting phenomenon. Where the North Saskatchewan River flows into Abraham Lake the water freezes slowly. As the water is freezing leaves and other detritus that is deposited on the river bottom decomposes and releases methane gas.

Abraham Lake has a dam positioned at the lakes outlet and as the water is let out of the dam the frozen ice with bubbles heaves and shifts producing spectacular sharp, jagged shapes.

I have visited a few times but always the conditions were horrible. Either the river ice was covered with water or snow or the ice had melted under a January sun and become pock marked hiding the bubbles.

By the way there is another American photographer that claims that the bubbles at Spray Lakes are the best in Alberta. It’s only his way of getting unknowing photographers to pay a premium to take his over priced tours.  Two and a half thousand dollars for a week and not have your accommodations paid for is obscene.

Abraham easily has the best and that is a problem for me. You see, Abrahams bubbles have been photographed so many times over the years that he photo has become a bit of a cliche. It’s become an obvious place to plant your tripod and the result is Google images has all of this bubble images that look the same and that is NOT what I want to do anymore.

I don’t want to become the best bubble photographer in Alberta. The contest ended years ago when I realized that what was important to me was satisfying my creativity. That means shooting what I want to shoot without regard for what anyone has done. It means satisfying my creative self by doing it my way.

That means not being the most popular photographer on Instagram or Twitter but when you think about it what is the point? I stopped hollering look at me a long time ago.

Creativity is a God given thing. It’s not religion to me but it has a special place in my soul.

Strive to be yourself. You are important. More important and unique than you know. It is your uniqueness that is valuable. Not the ability to mimic someone else.

Happy shooting,



Ps. The photo at the top of this post is NOT Abraham Lake.


~ by Dan Jurak on January 18, 2017.

5 Responses to “Why do we do it? Or the need to be different”

  1. I’m going there this weekend, with a mission to be different 🙂

  2. Enjoy your time out there Mac. I look forward to seeing what you create.

  3. Thank you. Nice.

  4. Good to see your post and photo here and yes, I too have joined the dozens to get “my bubble shots”.Competition can be good for creativity .It was interesting to read about your past work, obviously “teachability” is agood quality to go hand in hand with the competitiveness.

  5. Hi Jane and Happy New Year!

    I hope that it didn’t sound like I was pontificating or being preachy because there is not a right or wrong. It is important I think to be yourself and create for yourself instead of getting caught up in the race to be the most popular on social media.

    Just the ramblings of an old man here.

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