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CAPTURING THE MOMENT SHANKLE'S PHOTOS CLICK WITH BOOK'S PUBLISHER
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CAPTURING THE MOMENT SHANKLE'S PHOTOS CLICK WITH BOOK'S PUBLISHER

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Last April 21, Terry Shankle shot a turkey hunter. Then he shot a logger and his horse.

But Shankle wasn't using a weapon. The Farmer resident shot his subjects with 35mm film and a Nikon camera.Shankle's photographic efforts that day paid off: two of his photos have been included in ``The Big Click,' a book of North Carolina photographs, and one appears as the November photo in ``The Big Click' calendar for 1990.

``The Big Click,' the brainchild of Raleigh photographer and publisher Chip Henderson, chronicles one day in the life of North Carolina - April 21, 1989. More than 1,500 photographers, both professional and amateur, trekked around the state on that April Friday, capturing snippets of ordinary life on film. Henderson chose 212 of the best photos to be included in ``The Big Click.'

When Shankle, a N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission employee, heard about the contest last spring, he was intrigued.

``I thought since my expertise over the years has been wildlife-related, maybe I could contribute a little something to it,' he said. ``I called Henderson, introduced myself and asked if he was willing to let me in. He said, 'Send me ideas.' '

Shankle did. Two of his ideas - the turkey hunter and the logger and horse - were accepted, and Shankle was assigned to shoot them on the appointed day.

He drafted fellow Wildlife Resources Commission employee Ed Alston to be his turkey hunter. At sunrise on April 21, Shankle and Alston were roaming the woods in Chatham County. While Alston called turkeys on a red cedar box turkey call, Shankle captured the hunter on film.

Although the shoot was brief because of the ephemeral nature of the early-morning light, the results were successful - one photo of Alston made it into ``The Big Click,' the other into ``The Big Click' calendar.

The 2 1/2-by-2 1/2-inch photo on page 26 of the book shows the hunter, outfitted in full camouflage dress, leaning against a tree. The gentle glow of the rising sun shines through Alston's netting onto his face.

In hunting turkeys, ``You completely camouflage yourself,' explained Shankle, 43. ``You even camouflage your face. The reason you can see his face is that the sun is coming directly through the net. Normally a turkey wouldn't even be able to see his face underneath that.'

Shankle's shot on the November page of ``The Big Click' calendar is a silhouette of the hunter, turkey call and rifle in hand, outlined against the orange-pink early-morning sky.

Shankle had to work quickly to take advantage of the light cast by the rising sun.

``When you're dealing with the sunrise, in a few minutes you've lost the effect of the rising sun,' he said. ``I had about five to 10 minutes for the photo of the hunter. It was over with pretty quick.'

Shankle sees a little humor in the placement of the turkey hunting photo in the month of November.

``It's kind of ironic they put a turkey hunting picture in November,' he said. ``We don't have a turkey hunting season in the fall in North Carolina.'

Shankle says the organizers of the calendar also inexplicably reversed his photo. But the amateur photographer, who didn't even know there was going to be a ``Big Click' calendar, isn't complaining.

``I'm tickled to death about the calendar, more so than the book, frankly, because more people will see it,' he said.

Shankle's photo of Jimmy Garner and his Belgian draft horse, Dean, was selected for a two-page spread on pages 118-119 of ``The Big Click' book. The photo, taken at 11 a.m., shows Dean, guided by Garner, pulling logs in the woods.

Shankle knew that Garner and his horse would make an interesting photo, but in photographing them, he also wanted to help create a record of a dying art.

``The shot was taken behind Farmer School,' Shankle said. ``I knew Garner was there, and I knew he logged with horses. I thought it would be something unusual.

``I think the most amazing thing about the way he works the horse is that he doesn't holler. When he hooks the horse to the various sizes of logs, the first thing he does is call the horse's name, 'Dean.' The strength he puts into his voice gives the horse an idea of how big the load is.'

By midafternoon of his day of photography, Shankle was finished. He also was exhausted.

``I'd been up since 4 a.m.,' he said. ``After 12 hours you're beat. It's tiring when you're trying to do a lot of angles of the same photo; you might be on your knees or laying on your back on the ground. It's more demanding than a lot of people think it is.'

Shankle is used to taking photos. As central region supervisor for the Conservation Education Division of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, he sometimes uses photography in his work. He has had responsibility for four to six articles per year in Wildlife in North Carolina magazine, both writing the articles and taking the photographs.

``That's how I got into photography,' he explained. ``If I see something significant in my work dealing with wildlife, I take a photo of it. I keep two cameras with me, one with black and white film, one with color film.

``I've been taking pictures with decent equipment for eight or nine years,' he continued. ``I've always had an interest in photography, but before that I didn't have the money to purchase good equipment. No photographer has enough to purchase all he wants.'

The Wildlife Commission furnished Shankle with some photography equipment, and he purchased the same type of equipment for his own use ``so I wouldn't get confused with different types of equipment.'

Shankle shot 11 rolls of Fuji 50 speed slide film with his Nikon F3 that April day. That evening he sent it to Raleigh to be processed.

A few days later, Shankle got a call from ``The Big Click' people requesting more information on Jimmy Garner. Several weeks after that, he received a box with all his film in it, ``the majority still in rolls, developed.' Several slides were mounted, which made Shankle think they might have gotten particular consideration.

But he didn't know his photos had been selected for ``The Big Click' until an acquaintance saw the calendar at a local bookstore. Shortly after that, he received an invitation to the official book dedication in Raleigh on Nov. 21. It was his first look at his contributions to the book, which had been released that day.

For his efforts, Shankle received a copy of the book and the calendar. That's enough payment for him.

``I'm tickled,' he said. ``I got a sense of accomplishment that somebody agreed with me. I thought it was worthwhile, and somebody else did, too.'

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