After seven years I finally figured it out…

before image, landscape, elm tree, farm, abandoned, snow, winter, monotone, frost, landscape, Dan Jurak,

I have always done things fast. Really, really fast.

In the time that someone might take one picture I might end up having taken half a dozen. That is how I have always been for better or worse.

On a typical sunrise at one spot there are probably a dozen or so different images that I will take before moving onto the next spot a few minutes away.

It’s not too different when it comes to processing images. I will pick out one from the dozen so that I have taken at a spot, process it and move onto something else. As a result there are many, many photos that never see the light of day.

Going back through old images always makes for pleasant surprises because there is always something to process for the first time.

Way back on March 19, 2011 I was making my way to a spot that always had a good chance to produce morning fog. So, it is up before the sun and making the half hour drive to this spot.

On the way there a long time before sunrise, I came upon an abandoned farm yard that had the most elegantly shaped elm. The area was about to be razed to the ground to make way for residential housing so the access was easy. Something that I am loathe to do is trespass. If I want access to a property I will always ask and I have never once been denied once I explain what I am up to.

So, I pulled over to the side of the highway, grabbed my gear and snapped a few different angles before proceeding on to where I figured the fog would be.

Over the years I have always returned to this image that was photographed about thirty minutes before sunrise. No matter how many times I tried to process it in colour it never seemed to click with me and I would close the file and process something else.

Yesterday I revisited this image and had yet another kick at the can. I figured that colour was the wrong way to approach it. Maybe a black and white version would work out better? I experimented with the image. Playing with different colour channels, doing different kinds of conversions until it hit me. I liked this image because of the shapes. It wasn’t the tones or the small details that caught my eye but the graphic quality of the trees.

after image, landscape, elm tree, farm, abandoned, snow, winter, monotone, frost, landscape, Dan Jurak,

Removing most of the middle tones in the snow, make that ALL of the middle tones, retouching out a few shrubs and giving the image a slight blue tone did it!

Seven years later almost to the day I finally have cracked the nut that had always presented a problem for me.

Perseverance pays off?

Happy shooting,



~ by Dan Jurak on March 28, 2018.

4 Responses to “After seven years I finally figured it out…”

  1. Nice blog post, Dan. Song writers keep notebooks of lyric lines that occur to them. The lines may not immediately turn into songs. Likewise, writers scribble down scene descriptions or thoughts on a character, even dialogue that doesn’t go with their current project. Downline, the one line of lyrics, when reread, spurs the rest of the song; the piece of extraneous dialogue triggers the genesis for a short story. None of which was possible originally, for whatever reason, but later, everything lines up. For photographers, our back catalogue of unprocessed images are like their written fragments. Sometimes it takes a stepping away and a return at a much later date for the process to be successfully completed. We’ve learned more; we process differently; we see anew, and the raw file becomes a completed image that satisfies us. The magic and mystery of the creative process.

  2. Frank I think you nailed it. It makes perfect sense how you put it. Thank you,

  3. I wonder if there’s any way to retain the sense of early morning light? You’d probably lose the contrast in the tree, and that would be a shame. Just wondering if you tried it?

  4. Good question Curtis. The shot has so much blue in it with orange/red on the narrow part of the horizon. When I tried to clean up some of the blue the colour looked wrong. Maybe ten years from now I will figure this one out in colour. 🙂

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