Lens Lugger John “Shack” Schakel shares his photos

Colombine, John Schakel image.
Colombine, John Schakel image.

Hi Bob,

Wow, that is a loaded question. Yes, I must give some credit to the Nikon 810. It is an amazing camera. A lot of it has to do with the way I look at things now compared to how I did before. Now I take more time to Look, See, and Feel what I am looking at. Before I just looked. Like they say photography is a work in progress. No matter how good your equipment, it is the person who makes or brakes a photograph.

When I go to take a photograph of a subject, I let it talk to me. When I look at it and it puts a little smile on my face then I know I got something going on. The next step is to set up my equipment so that the photo I capture in camera also puts the same smile on my face.  Those photos that make me smile are the ones that get the most WOW & AHHHH effect from the people that I show them to.

Morning, John Schakel Image
Morning, John Schakel Image

The first day we were at Carter Shields Cabin. Don was telling me and John, the other man that was with us, about how to shoot the cabin and trees. I did not like the way the view looked so I just moved to the left aways and then back to the right aways. I then found a spot that gave me the little smile that told me that this is the spot that I should take the photo from. I then put a mark on the ground and went back to the car to get my camera and tripod. I set up my equipment and then head back to my mark.

When I got there Bonnie was already shooting photos of the cabin from my mark. I said “you like my spot”. She said “What?” I then pointed to my mark under her tripod. She started to move and I told her to stay there and finish. I will take a few from a different place. After about 10 minutes I looked back to see if Bonnie was done and there was Don at the very same spot shooting the cabin. That put a smile on my face.

John Schakel image
John Schakel image

Don sees things as a graphic designer and Bonnie sees things as an abstract. I see things more in lines and shapes that draw you into and hold you in the photos. To have both Don and Bonnie put their cameras in the exact same spot that I was going to, without them knowing it, says a lot to me about how I am doing with my work. That alone made the trip worthwhile, even if I don’t get any of them published.

What Techniques and settings do I use? I use all Manual Setting except for focus which I do use in Auto but with only the AF button on the back of the camera. I still do some adjustment to the focus sometimes with Live View. I think this all comes from the old days (1970) when I first started photography with film, when you did not have any auto adjustments on the camera except for continuous shooting, when you could go through a 36 exposure roll in about 15 seconds.

If you are a tree hugger and a nature photographer then the Smoky Mountains are your Nature and Photographic Playground. Just love the place.

PS: What drew me to that particular image? A little smile on my face!Innocent

Shack (John A Schakel Jr)

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