Through the Eyes of the Beholder

“Two roads diverged in a wood and I-I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”- Robert Frost

It is not every day that we have the opportunity to dive into the minds and creativity of the folks behind the brilliantly beautiful photos we see all over the internet, on social media and in galleries across the world. In this case I was very fortunate to have scored a very humble photographer. One who does not do photography for a living, but has poured his creativity into each piece with a desire to bring single moments to life. Isn’t that what photography is really about? Capturing the best moments in life to relive at any time? Before I continue any further I would like to introduce Kris Schockelt. Kris is our very first guest here at Traveling Rooster and we are thrilled to be the ones to introduce him to you.

Kris, I would like to thank you for your time and the opportunity to get to know the person behind the camera. I want to begin by discussing where you grew up and the influence it has had on your photography.

I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. I am what most would call a “Native” to the area. The pacific northwest honesty has it all. You have the mountains, canyons, beaches, and even deserts. There is absolutely no shortage on things to take pictures of in the area. 

Man, I love that too. I have been a few times and leave amazed each visit by the beauty that is around every corner. Seeing as you have such a wide range of scenery to indulge in, what are your favorite moments to capture?

Photo courtesy by Kris Schockelt

As you can tell from my profile, waterfalls are my absolute favorite thing to capture!

 Nothing like water flowing freely. We don’t have too many waterfalls here in the plains of Texas so I’m quite envious of you. Now that social media has transformed the way we share our lives and Instagram in particular for those of us who love photos (I mean who doesn’t) I noticed from looking at your Instagram account, @krisschockphotography, you don’t tend to have many images with people in them. Well, unless you really scroll a ways down. Why is that?

 The reason I don’t have a lot of portrait type photos on my account is because portraiture is not my forte. However, you will be seeing a big change in my account soon (more portraits). 

 Well, in that case I’m sure we will be keeping a close watch to see what unfolds. Which brings me to my next question. As far as your style and the way you shoot, how have you seen that change throughout the years?

 My style has certainly changed throughout my 1 year of doing photography. That primary change is that I used to just take pictures and not really plan in my head what I was trying to accomplish. Now before I do any hike or go anywhere, I make sure that I have an idea of what kind of shots I want to get. I have changed my editing style to look more “surreal” If that makes sense.

I can assure you that “surreal” feeling is present in your photos. One of the things that drew me to reaching out in the first place. I have got to admit there is one thing I continue to notice in some of your photos and it’s the use of a crystal ball. I find that very intriguing. Why do you implement that tool and how does it help to bring a picture to life?

Photo courtesy of Kris Schockelt

The reason I like using the crystal ball is because there is something just super magical about it. It forces you to be creative and try things that you may have not thought of before! And makes editing super fun!

 I can certainly say it gives what would be a great photo an extra zest. Being able to refract the image through the crystal is something that is particularly beautiful. But we all know that to really get the photo you desire or set out for equipment does play a big role. I understand this far too well from my experience with baseball and fly-fishing. So for all those who are looking to fine tune their skills, what “equipment” do you bring when setting out for that perfect shot?

My equipment of choice currently is a Nikon D7200 with either my Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 or my Nikon 50mm f/1.4. Ideally I would love to be shooting with a Nikon d810, but you know…money. HAHA!

Well, I am still rather novice in my cameras but you have been able to maximize your ability with what you have. Plus, Christmas is right around the corner. I know a man who has a knack for answering Christmas lists. Okay, on to the camping outdoors focused questions. As far as camping goes, how often do you get to dive into the great outdoors and enjoy some time beneath the stars?

Believe it or not, I don’t do a whole lot of camping. Primarily due to my time constraints being a car salesman. But my goal EVERY single week is to be outside as much as possible. 

I hear you on that! I’ve not had a summer to enjoy outdoors since I was 13. When you can carve out time, what is your favorite time of year to camp or be outdoors?

Photo courtesy of Kris Schockelt

My favorite time of the year to be outside has multiple sides for me. One of which is nighttime during the summer time. That is when the opportunity to take some milky way shots are much better! Now as for just day time stuff. I am torn between winter and fall. Winter because taking pictures with the texture of snow is amazing, but the color of fall always blows me away.

I think you have picked the two best seasons! Especially when you are in the PNW with all the trees, Fall must be incredible. Let’s say you have time to spend several days in the wild, what is your method of camping? Tent? Camper? Cabin? Or have you got yourself one of those decked out vans?

I pitch a tent if I go camping.

Hey, the answer alone shows the simplicity that is accompanied by folks who use tents. So most people are beginning to see what extraordinary beauty the Pacific Northwest holds, but if you decide to go somewhere else to escape the city and work where would that be?

Probably the High Desert of the Redmond area (though I know it’s still the PNW, it does not feel like it)

I’ll allow that answer haha. There certainly is a significant difference in High Desert and what most consider the Pacific Northwest. Not sure if you read one of my more recent posts on coffee but it is a bit of a hobby for me so….. what is your go to cup of coffee?

My Go-To cup of coffee must be a black dark roasted cup of joe (wakes me up faster)

You are a man after my own heart. I second the belief of waking up quicker. To piggy back that question we here at the Traveling-rooster like to wake up before the sunrise, as goes the way ofthe rooster. Are you a morning or evening person?

 I am a morning person, even if I don’t like to admit it!

 Yeah, most folks look at us strange when that is confessed. Kris I would really like to thank you for your time and opening the door into what the outdoors and capturing its beauty really means to you. But as I was thinking of how to make a splash with my interviews I knew there had to be a question that would above all others draw the reader in. That dynamite question you’d look forward to with each new post. I think I may have found it and I must give credit to “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and the brilliant folks behind one of my favorite scenes in any movie. So here it is. It has 2 parts. First, if you could capture any moment what would it be? Secondly, you are set to take photo, do you take it or pass and enjoy the moment for its brilliance knowing you may never get another opportunity?

The perfect moment for me to capture… Gosh… that is tough… It would probably be the green/blue northern lights in Iceland in the background and some chunks of sea-ice on a black sand beach with the long exposure look of water running past the ice chunks. And honestly, the whole reason I got into photography was to capture these beautiful images so that I can look back on all the adventures I have been on. I would take a set of pictures, then sit back and enjoy the life we are given. There is nothing better than the world we live in, no matter how hostile and evil it can be. 

 Man, what an answer. That’s going to be a tough one to beat in the future. You have set a high bar Kris, and again very grateful for your transparency and allowing me to bring the man behind the photos out. You can check out more of his photography on Instagram, @krisschockphotography.

I love having the opportunity to interact with humble people like Kris who have a passion for the beauty of nature and just want to show the world through their camera lens. Join us next Friday for another featured post by another guest! Have a splendid Friday and an even better weekend!

Love the outdoors. Love people. Live generously.

The Traveling Rooster


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