We all have to start somewhere… and it is fun to help out

instruction, learning, photography, winter, sunrise, frost, cold, landscape, Dan Jurak, Alberta, prairie, farm, snow,

I am certainly not new to landscape photography or to Photoshop. So many years later I find myself still amazed at what I don’t know especially when I thought that there was nothing more to learn.

Photography is the gift that keeps on giving. Images that were taken a dozen years ago look new and fresh on second look. How I process images or see things keeps changing and that is how it should be. As with any art form there is no finish line. You never get to the place where you can say “that’s it”, time to move on.

I mention this today because of a post that I saw on Facebook. A few months ago I started up a new Facebook account, I couldn’t reclaim the old one to which I had forgotten the password and would NOT send copies of two pieces of government identification to Facebook.

When starting up the new Facebook page I noticed a group, it was a suggestion by Facebook that looked interesting. There was a page devoted to photographing the northern lights in the province of Canada where I live. That appealed to me for two reasons, I love to see what kind of photos are being taken where I live and secondly, my interest in the northern lights was rekindled and seeing other peoples images seem to inspire me to get out.

The experience level of the group is like a pyramid with most or a lot of people just starting out and as you go up the pyramid there are fewer and fewer people with both the artistic and technical expertise. This group seems to be very heavily weighted on the bottom and that is not a bad thing.

Beginners in anything should ask questions. There are never any dumb questions only dumb answers and I have seen a few of those in the group from some of the self appointed “experts”.

When I was a working photographer I sometimes had students in the studio. Normally when working with a still life I would have the stereo playing, get into that “zoned out” space and just do my thing. However I found that when I had a student with me and had to explain what I was doing I found myself explaining something that was done instinctively. By explaining what I was doing I realized that what I thought was instinctive was actually being done for technical or artistic reasons. What seems automatic to me when shooting landscapes isn’t as automatic as it looks. A dozen things are happening in my mind that I am not really thinking about but reacting to.

I seldom answer any questions since they seem to be answered fairly quickly but when I see an answer that I think is misleading or wrong, I give my opinion.

Back in the early seventies the only way that I could see what was happening in the photo world or to get answers to my technical questions was through magazines. Today answers, right and wrong are only a click away from your phone or computer.

I would have loved to have input from someone who knew more than I. Today things are so much easier, so much better for learning.

In any kind of art there are no absolutes. There is no one hundred percent right or wrong answer. Just like when you are in the kitchen preparing a meal, how much salt is right? A teaspoon or a teaspoon and a half? That is part of the puzzle and part of the joy of photography.

There is so much to learn. There are no rights or wrongs. Your photography is yours and no one else’s but it never hurts to listen to someone with an open mind. You never know what you might discover.

Happy shooting,



~ by Dan Jurak on October 12, 2017.

2 Responses to “We all have to start somewhere… and it is fun to help out”

  1. Great read. Thank you, a newbie

  2. Thank you Salt,

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