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nigel cooke photographer

Why The Long Face?

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Why The Long Face?

Spent a good few hours down at Burwell fen [dawn and sunset] yesterday. Such different conditions, with a heavy fog engulfing the place in the morning, and a beautiful tranquil sunset bathing everything in rich golden light by evening. One of the things I love about Burwell Fen are the Konik Ponies, especially on atmospheric misty mornings. Their calls sweeping across the vast openness, adding a sense of wildness to the place. Konik Ponies of Burwell Fen

They are pretty friendly and despite getting sneezed on a few times it was wonderful to spend 30 minutes with them as they had wandered over to the fence to check me out.

Why the Long Face

They are the perfect subject for some Fisheye fun [Shot on the Samyang Fisheye 8mm] although the one above came a little too close which helped with the distortion of the face. It was shortly after this image was taken I got a little wet (and green). I think one was perhaps getting a little too excited about the conditions. 

Checking Me Out

All images shot on the Fuji XE2 - the top one with the Toy-Camera (in camera) setting. The other two are pretty much direct out of camera jpg shots.

Booming Bitterns, Cuckoos Calling, Barn Owls hunting silently though the mist. What a fantastic tonic for the soul.

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Cambridge Half Marathon [2015]

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Cambridge Half Marathon [2015]

My wife was running the Cambridge Half Marathon this past weekend in, well Cambridge of course :) I had a day free (no football) so came down to town to watch. I myself am just starting to find my running mojo again and it was nice to feel the warmth of the sun on my face while watching the runners flood past - most, at least in the first few miles, with huge smiles on their faces. I can certainly relate to that - running does make me smile uncontrollably. Model Runners

I had the Fuji XE2 slung around my neck (where it normally is) combined with the Samyang 8mm Fisheye - a really fun combination, especially when you are in a bit of a creative mood/fun mood. I also love how you can get folks into your shot (like the guy with the horn below) without him actually realising - I also love the expression of the runner as he passes the noise of the horn ... almost .. 'if I wasn't running mate, I'd stick that horn where the sun don't shine'.

HORNS

The winning male runner was in under 1.07 with the winning female completing the race in under 1.15. I'm always in awe of the folks at the top of their game, and these two certainly were.

2015 Cambridge Half Marathon

A really enjoyable morning - my wife also knocked over 5 minutes of her time from last year, so she was also very pleased with her efforts.

All photos taken with the Fuji XE2 + Samyang 8mm Fisheye ... then some LR5 presets applied.

Sorry I've been a bit quiet on the blog over recent weeks. Still trying to make time for blog related activities with plenty of time now spent over in Ireland (where I write this update from) with my mum and dad. Football season is entering the squeaky bum phase over the coming few months so I really need to think about writing Part 2 of my "Life as a Sports Photographer" post .... Oh and the photos showed up from the first two rounds of #HolgaOnTheMove ... really need to get those scanned in also ..... Phew.. lots to come over the next few weeks. 

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High ISO Performance of the Canon 1DX

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High ISO Performance of the Canon 1DX

While visiting the Woodland hide at an organised Northshots weekend in Scotland I decided to have a bit of fun with the Canon 1DX high ISO capabilities. Now, I was already very familiar with the 1DX's ability on high ISO as I regularly shoot at ISO4000 at football matches. Still it's always fun to push the limits and I have to admit that I was very impressed with an ISO 20,000 shot (yes that is twenty thousand ISO) ... 1DX - ISO 20,000 (unedited)

Yes, there is noise Mr Pixel Peeker, but in situations when you want to shoot a record shot and the light is very bad, then this will be very useful indeed.

And of course with a program such as Lightroom you can clean this up a bit to make it more presentable. Arguably even more than a standard record shot.

1DX - ISO 20,000 (processed)

Below a 100% zoom/crop of the unedited 20k ISO image.

ISO 20,0000 (100% crop)

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The Black and White Photography Challenge

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The Black and White Photography Challenge

A few weeks ago I was invited to take part in the Black and White Photography challenge by Martin Bailey. I have to admit that initially I wasn't planning on taking part, mostly as I would not be able to keep up with the requirements of posting a photo a day for 5 consecutive days. I Shall Walk Alone

After a few days of contemplation (i.e. looking back through my archives) I decided that the process would serve as a good excuse to look back through my older photos and see if I could come up with 5 shots that I would still be happy to publish. This in itself has proved to be a very good learning exercise for a few main reasons.

Family Time

  • Firstly, while I'm nowhere near where I'd like to be on my photographic journey, I've come a heck of a long way. Some of those early shots (aka the baby years) are cringeworthy. Not necessarily in their own right (although some are), but how, when I think back I believed they were really something special.
  • Secondly, I've not taken nearly enough photos over the years that I would have liked and this does not sit well with me. I call myself a photographer and yet looking back though my archives there are plenty of gaps where I simply wasn't getting out with the camera. Going forward, this really needs to change.
  • Thirdly, I really like black and white photography, but can clearly see in my archives when I've simply converted a colour shot to black and white vs. going for a shot which I knew would work in that medium. It's very important that when looking to create a strong black and white photo you need to remember what works best for that medium (i.e. strong contrast, light etc) while shooting, rather than simply converting a colour shot back at the computer.
  • Lastly, and this one I didn't expect, is the fact that one of my photos (the man walking with the briefcase) has been used without permission on a Cambridge businesses website. I've already contacted them and asked them to remove the photo (which they have said they will). Raises the topic of water marking and posting images in full resolution yet again.

Follow You To The End Of Time

To date I've posted 3, with the remaining two due in before Christmas. In the process I've also invited two other photographers to have a go, Marcus Beard and Peter Moorey. Have you taken part? Would love to see your own 5 photos.  Need some inspiration?

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