Hi, I’m Ingo Jakubke.
My nickname, “Nordseher”, is a combination of “Nord (meaning “North”) and “Seher” (meaning “Seeing”).
When I started with photography, the results were not so great. With time, the results got a little better. As a young man, I even took part in a photo competition and won first and third prize there. But that was no criterion for quality because there were very few competitors.
I created a small corner in the basement where I developed photos. The photo paper and chemicals were quite expensive. At the age of 17, the subject of photography faded out of sight. Other things became important, like my university studies.
At the gentle age of 56, with the children out of the house, my interest in photography awoke again. My wife reproached me for devouring nothing but photo magazines. She pulled me into a photo shop and bought me my first digital camera. A Sony A55. Today she says she didn’t know what she was doing at the time.
I started devouring YouTube videos and signed up for “FotoTV“. This is a German portal with top-class contributions. Highly recommended.
My “thing” has become photographing sunrises and especially foggy landscapes. When it’s “foggy” outside, my fingers tingle!
My Best Photo
If I had to describe why this picture in particular is my best photo: I can’t. Because if I had already taken a best photo, I would stop taking pictures. My best photo is always my next project. But this photo is one I remember very gladly. It was an early morning. The 10.11.2018. 8:42. fog time in autumn.
The sky had little red fleecy clouds. But the sky is not developing as I had hoped. There was too much fog in the valley. At some point I went home disappointed. I walked home. But at some point I turned around once more.
At that moment I saw the castle surrounded by the rising mist. It completely covered the castle. It was a beautiful moment. I quickly changed my lens to my Tele and pulled the shutter. The picture is exactly that image. Lichtenstein Castle in the Swabian Alb. You can hardly see it. The windows reflect the rising sun. The little tower in the foreground has almost disappeared in the mist and yet it was a wonderful, a special moment. I can only advise everyone: Turn around. Sometimes you have the most beautiful thing behind you and don’t notice it.
What did it take to get it right?
Well, I have a job. That means I only have time to go out and take photos at the weekend. But I have the whole week to do the planning. I tap into all the sources I can find. Google Maps, Google Earth, flickr, 500px, TPE, PhotoPills. PhotoPills is too complicated for me. My TPE on the iPad is quite satisfactory.
Of course, the Kachelmann weather site is also part of the planning. I learned how to use these pages correctly in an online seminar by Bastian Werner. Bastian Werner is a weather expert who describes the weather from a photographer’s point of view. Great! I recommend it.
The weather is the most important component for me. But I always have to take it as it comes. If I arrive at a place with the wrong idea in my head, and it’s great but doesn’t suit the weather, then I don’t get anything out of it.
If I don’t get the weather I had planned for the weekend, then I just take my alternative location, which I have also planned.
Or I take my third destination: “On my doorstep”. My doorstep is not meant quite literally, but describes a possible destination that I can reach by car in less than 5 minutes. In the Corona period, I found many destinations within a radius of 10 km that were completely unknown to me before. So when the weather gets in the way, I go to a place near my front door.
On my iMac, I use the ‘Notes’ application to record every place I want to visit or have visited. Over time, a real little database is created. On a Windows computer I would just use the programme write.exe.
My favourite time is the morning. In our country, the sun rises at 5:21 am on 21 June. I usually get up 2 hours before sunrise. That’s of course plenty early in the summer. My favourite season is spring and autumn. So April and October. And that’s also when the sun doesn’t rise until seven to almost 8:00, which is a more comfortable time for humans. By the way, you can check that very well on the website of Sonnenverlauf. On my mobile phone I use the app Rain Radar. Also on offer is the weather app Wetter pro HD. This weather app is very good for short-term planning. In general, you can plan the weather. But you can only see how the weather will actually be the evening before the photo session.
I also use my ears to pick up things about localities in conversations with “old hands”. I live at the foot of the Swabian Alb, so I talk to people from the Albverein. I often ask them: “Where are you hiking to, what must I have seen?” Oh yes, dog owners are also a source of inspiration. “Where do you go for a walk with your dog?” That’s how I find many places on my doorstep. All in all, good landscape photography consists of four P’s. Planning the location, planning the parking, planning the weather, planning the procedure.
As far as the schedule is concerning, there is the rule that 5 minutes ahead of time is the German punctuality. I make it 30 minutes. Because I want to relax when I’m taking pictures. It should be fun. If I can capture this fun with my pictures, take it home with me, then that makes me happy.
How would I improve the photo?
The camera doesn’t matter at all. Today, every manufacturer is fine. The photo is not made good by the choice of camera model or the latest version of a camera. The photo becomes good through the one who takes the shot, waits and then patiently pulls the shutter.
I have succeeded in taking beautiful long exposures, but much more important is the sophisticated planning. The timing is important. I notice it in the feeling that turns into elation when I am in the right place at the right time. That doesn’t happen very often either. Many a time I go off and the result is more than disillusioning.
I developed this photo from 2018 in CaptureOne at the time. Today I developed the whole thing again with Luminar AI. I find the result even much better today than back then.
I followed the advice of an experienced photographer who said to me: save only the RAWs. You never know. What he meant was that you never know if there will be programmes in the future that allow you to work out the photo even better.
I don’t mean the sky exchange orgy of Luminar AI. That is completely unimportant. I mean the overall package that takes a lot of work off your hands and gives an even better result.
I wouldn’t add anything to this picture and I wouldn’t leave anything out. I find it simply beautiful in its entirety. Simply perfect.
Choose your time to photograph according to your preferences. If, like me, you like to be in the landscape early, then go early. But don’t do anything against your nature. It won’t work! And: Turn around!