Breaking out of the photography rut…

aurora borealis, aurora, northern lights, dan jurak, landscape, nightscape, Alberta, Canada, hay, bales, farm, stars, learning, rut,

From Google’s definition of the word rut, “a habit or pattern of behavior that has become dull and unproductive but is hard to change.”

That describes me right now perfectly. The creative process is a wonderful thing. Understanding how it works can help you get to the next level.

Learn the basics of whatever it is that interests you. Get the fundamentals down so that you needn’t think about what you are doing.

That can apply to what kind of camera gear you use, how you expose, compose and even when and where you take photos.

I can go back through my archives and see my progression.

I am at first intrigued by a type of landscape photography.

I try to emulate that type of landscape until I can create my own copy of it.

I get bored with that kind of landscape and then the real fun begins on ways to look at it in a completely new way and owning it. Once done I am on my way to a different kind of landscape. LOL Jack of all trades, master of none? Maybe that’s me?

Over the last dozen years my interests have gone from dramatic storm clouds, to foggy sunrises in all seasons, to black and whites, to long exposure black and whites and now to where I am, photographing the northern lights.

The last few weeks I have been wracking my brain trying to imagine different ways to present the aurora. Google image search will show you that by and large there are two kinds of aurora, broad expanses of skies where the foreground is dark or unimportant or  directly overhead at the corona.

After browsing through a few hundred aurora photos or maybe even a few thousand it dawned on me that for the most part they all look the same. That is both frustrating and challenging. Nothing is ever new in the art world. Everything has been done at least once already.

The photo above is NOT where I want to take this but is representative of the easy, standard aurora photograph. A sky with lights, a foreground and nothing else to make it different from the rest. The technical stuff is routine and easy and boring. The creative process is exactly the opposite.

We are all at different places where creativity is concerned and the idea of never really knowing everything is what makes shooting landscapes or anything else for that matter continually fun.

Keep learning and growing and you will never find yourself in a rut for very long.

Happy shooting,





~ by Dan Jurak on October 13, 2017.

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