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nigel cooke photography

On the Subject of Processing

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On the Subject of Processing

I used to think that I was being clever by having a large back catalogue of un-edited images in my possession. Something for a rainy day I'd tell myself. Well I'm starting to realise that this approach may actually have an unseen negative side which is actually diluting the potential of my work.  

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Creative Void

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Creative Void

It happens to us all. The monster that is the Creative Funk. As I nurse a badly burnt feet I've come to realise that I can't really expect to overcome this with the camera alone. 

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Getting in Closer

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Getting in Closer

I've not shot macro in a very long time. With a period of settled wamer weather on the cards I decided to have a bit of fun. And what an adventure, even in your own back yard, macro photography can be. 

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Eyes on You

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Eyes on You

I best come clean straight away. The Barn Owl is fast becoming my favourite bird. Sorry Mr Kingfisher, your time at the top of my tree is perhaps coming to an end. There's just something very majestic about watching them hunting silently over the fields and thankfully, given their well documented troubles, a sight I see more and more in these parts. 

When I spot one, quite often at first at a distance, rather than attempting to get up close on my own steam, I let the Barn Owl come to me, bag hide over and hunkering down. I can feel my heart beat rise in anticipation. This doesn't always work of course (it's not as if I've dressed myself as a large tasty vole and laid out prone ready to be eaten) however, with a little patience, it can reward you with some close encounters. The ease and gracefulness at which it moves low over the fields twisting and turning at will. Then all of a sudden dropping down into the grass to hopefully pickup a meal.  

Of course no matter how well you think you are hidden the Barn Owl pretty much always knows you are there, but then again this allows for those piercing eyes to meet yours. A moment which, despite happening on increasing regularity, still has the hairs standing on the back of my neck. 

Click on the image below to scroll through a couple more from the morning. The light was pretty shocking but that, in my opinion, should NEVER stop you from photographing these iconic birds. Actually poor light should never stop you photographing wildlife full stop. I'd far rather have images of wildlife in poor light than no image at all. 

All images shot on the Canon 7D MKI II with the Canon 400mm f/2.8 lens. All images around 1/000 second, f/3.2 and ISO between 640 and 1000. With the crop sensor on the 7D MK II the 400mm lens becomes a 640mm equivalent - one of the main reasons I decided to add the 7D MK II to my kit. While I try and not use the extender too often it also means the 2x can get me at around 1200mm, albeit with the lose of 2 stops (f/5.6). 

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That Classic Chrome Look

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That Classic Chrome Look

Headed into Cambridge yesterday, travelling light with just the Fuji XE2 and 35mm f/1.4 lens. Was actually planning on shooting a bit more, but we got a little waylaid at the Cambridge Beer Festival. Oh well ... 

Anyway, before the beer had a chance to flow I snapped a few shots, albeit mostly of my wife (who hates me taking her picture). All images shot with the Classic Chrome Film simulation, a setting on the Fuji I'm slowing beginning to love (it's taken a while). 

The only modification to some of the images is a slight vignette added - everything else is straight out of camera. One pain point on the Fuji XE2 is the maximum shutter speed of 1/4000 second. On brighter days when you want to shoot wide open it quite often will over expose. The most recent firmware update on the XT1 saw maximum shutter speed increase and I would love this to be added via a future firmware release to the XE2 range. Go on Fuji, you know you want to :) 

Click on the image to cycle through ... 

By the way, the XT10, which was announced last week, looks absolutely immense and for the price point an absolute bargain. 

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Airport Delays Made Bearable by Fuji

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Airport Delays Made Bearable by Fuji

Last flights of the evening are never a good idea, especially when it involves Easyjet. Almost 3 hour delay at the airport last night as I made my way home from Belfast. Still with the delay it allowed me a bit of wide open f/1.4 fuji action around the airport. 

All images are pretty much direct (jpg) from camera with a slight crop, added vignette with a small contrast boost. I just love the 35mm wide open. So sharp I need to be careful not to cut myself when viewing the images. 

All images taken with the Fuji XE2 and 35mm f/1.4 lens. Monochrome + Yellow filter film simulation. 

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When 35mm is Wide Enough

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When 35mm is Wide Enough

Quite often, when I'm out on a dedicated wildlife shoot I will also carry my FujiFilm XE2 along for the ride, normally with the Fuji 35mm f/1.4 lens attached. 

Cambridgeshire, and especially the Fenlands, is famous for its flatness which, for a landscape photographer, can present challenges when it comes to framing. While I love nothing more than a challenge I sometimes find the vast openness of a landscape, such as this, becoming lost in the frame of a sub 20mm shot. 

Step up the 35mm which actually, given the crop factor, works out at 56mm; not normally a focal length associated with strong landscape photography perhaps? This is where I feel the flatness of the Fenlands can work to my advantage, as even with an equivalent 56mm focal length you can end up with a seemingly wider frame in front of you. Take the example below, a grab shot for me as I made my way across to my intended spot to photograph Great Crested Grebes. I couldn't resist the colours being painted over the landscape with the purple hues reflected of the calm waters. 

35mm (or around 56mm equiv.) can seem much wider along the flat openness of the Cambridgeshire Fens. 

Another example of my exploration of landscape photography with this camera and lens combination can be found here

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