Gordon Cooke Photography: Blog https://www.gcookephotography.com/blog en-us (C) Gordon Cooke Photography (Gordon Cooke Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:34:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:34:00 GMT https://www.gcookephotography.com/img/s/v-12/u77692464-o900905229-50.jpg Gordon Cooke Photography: Blog https://www.gcookephotography.com/blog 120 80 A Mink, a Mohawk, a Fish, and One Happy Photographer https://www.gcookephotography.com/blog/2019/2/a-mink-a-mohawk-a-fish-and-one-happy-photographer One of the things I most enjoy about wildlife photography are the surprises that regularly occur when you are out in the field.  You go out with plans to photograph a particular animal or bird,  and you end up with something completely different and more satisfying.  January 26th,  2019,  in a natural area park here in Calgary,  was one of those days.  I love wildlife photography,  but this was one of those rare days that I really didn't feel like going out at all.  I wasn't feeling 100% and it was overcast and cold,  but I forced myself to go out anyway.  Seems to be a common theme with me,  that the days I have to push myself to go out is when I tend to get my best shots.


Standing on the banks of the Bow River, waiting patiently in the cold,  I was looking for bald eagles.  They usually nest every year across the river from where I was positioned and are regular residents in the area all year round.  This time of the year,  there are a lot of winter bird residents on the river as well.  Tons of Canada Geese,  common goldeneyes,  and various duck species tend to winter over,  so there is always a lot of activity in the area


As I was waiting for eagles,  a lot of frantic splashing was going on in the water just below where I stood.  At first,  I thought it was a couple of goldeneyes fighting or chasing each other,  which happens regularly this time of the year.  To my surprise,  there was a fish struggling wildly.  I could see that some small animal had grabbed it,  but it took a second to recognize what it was.  I couldn't believe it,  but a mink had caught a fish close to the bank of the river where I was standing.  No time to make any camera adjustments,  as the whole episode lasted only seconds,  so I took several quick shots before the little critter disappeared with its prey.  My heart was racing and I was praying with every click that the shots would come out.  Given the lighting conditions and quickness of the whole event,  I was quite pleased with the results.  The pictures are below,  as well as in the Smaller Critters gallery.  Hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them.  By the way,  the mohawk reference in the title is because of the way the hair on the head of the mink is pushed up in the middle.  Looks almost like a mohawk hair cut. 


The fish was as big as the mink was.

Notice the mohawk on this little critter :)

Mink, With Catch of the DayMink, With Catch of the Day It stopped and looked right at me with its prize.

Mink, With Catch of the DayMink, With Catch of the Day Last shot I got before it disappeared with its prey.

Mink, With Catch of the DayMink, With Catch of the Day


This was one of those moments that a wildlife photographer never forgets and is what keeps guys like me going.  I have had several experiences like this over the years,  but have not documented them as they have happened.  In the future,  I will try to enter them in my blog,  as they happen and are still fresh in my mind.  Thanks for reading,  and Happy Shooting!!




https://www.gcookephotography.com/blog/2019/2/a-mink-a-mohawk-a-fish-and-one-happy-photographer Sun, 10 Feb 2019 23:03:45 GMT
Jasper Elk Rut https://www.gcookephotography.com/blog/2017/10/jasper-elk-rut One of my favourite things to photograph since I moved out west in 2013, is elk.  Such a beautiful and majestic animal,  especially during the rut,  when the males are fighting other males over the females in the area.  The fall of the year is my favourite season,  so it makes the shooting even more enjoyable.  I love photographing them so much that it has become my annual vacation,  to take a trip to Jasper for a few days in September.  So far, each trip has yielded some great photographs,  mostly elk,  but other wildlife as well.  The males are extremely dangerous during this time of the year,  but if you give them space,  observe and photograph from a distance with a long lens,  you should be rewarded with some exceptional pictures.  Not only that,  with the rut being in the fall,  the parks are not as crowded as they are during the summer months.  New pictures have just been added to the elk/moose gallery.  Enjoy,  and feel free to drop a comment.  Happy shooting.

https://www.gcookephotography.com/blog/2017/10/jasper-elk-rut Sun, 01 Oct 2017 20:01:03 GMT
To Become a Good Photographer, Shoot What You Are Passionate About https://www.gcookephotography.com/blog/2017/4/to-become-a-good-photographer-shoot-what-you-are-passionate-about I moved out to Western Canada in 2013.  Although I moved out here for work (IT,  not photography),  I am passionate about wildlife and nature photography,  and the opportunities to pursue this passion are much more abundant here than back east.  The reason I bring this up is that I have noticed that the best photographers I know,  either through their work or personally,  are passionate about what they shoot.  They also usually have a chosen specialty,  not just general photography.  Whether it be landscapes,  portraits,  wildlife,  etc,  the one common thread is that they have a passion for their chosen genre and they work nonstop to get better at it.  Each type of photography requires a different subset of skills to achieve the best results.  These results are only achieved by countless hours honing your craft,  finding out what works and what doesn't,  and never giving up.  For example,  I don't like setting my alarm for 3 or 4 AM,  just so I can be shooting at first daylight,  or not getting home until late in the evening because I am looking for wildlife at dusk.  But that is the price you pay for getting that rare perfect shot.  Fortunately,  those shots come just frequently enough now to keep me driven,  but it never comes easy.  I see a lot of people take up nature/wildlife photography,  and give up soon after,  because they don't realize the amount of work and time involved to get good at it,  and they get frustrated by their lack of results.  It is almost like a second job for people who have the passion,  but it shows in their results.  However,  it takes time and patience to get there.  There are no shortcuts.  But if you are passionate about your chosen genre,  believe me,  you will eventually succeed in it and get great results.  Happy shooting!!

https://www.gcookephotography.com/blog/2017/4/to-become-a-good-photographer-shoot-what-you-are-passionate-about Sun, 23 Apr 2017 20:43:21 GMT
Fall Is in the Air https://www.gcookephotography.com/blog/2016/9/fall-is-in-the-air Fall is in the air out west here now.  The colours are changing, leaves are falling,  and the wildlife more active as they prepare for the coming winter.  I have always loved this time of year.  The cooler temps allow me to shoot longer hours without the discomfort of brutally hot days.  I also find the wildlife look their best this time of year as they start developing thicker coats for the coming winter months.  A lot of photographers slow down their photography outings as fall/winter approaches,  but these can be the most rewarding times of the year for photographers.  Wildlife pictures taken against the beautiful colours of fall or a snowy backdrop in winter can turn a plain photograph into a work of art.  Embrace the seasonal changes and get out there hunting for that unique picture.  Happy shooting!!

https://www.gcookephotography.com/blog/2016/9/fall-is-in-the-air Sun, 25 Sep 2016 21:55:04 GMT
Spring Has Sprung https://www.gcookephotography.com/blog/2016/5/spring-has-sprung Even though the fall is my favourite season,  spring has some great advantages for wildlife photography as well.  With all the migrating birds returning,  mating,   and building their nests,  there is no shortage of photographic opportunities available this time of year.  Also with the daylight hours getting longer with each passing day,  there is much more time in the day to pursue those opportunities.  Each season has its share of unique pictures out there waiting to be taken.  It is up to us photographers to seize those photo ops and make them our own.  Happy shooting!!

https://www.gcookephotography.com/blog/2016/5/spring-has-sprung Sun, 22 May 2016 17:32:00 GMT
A Look Back https://www.gcookephotography.com/blog/2016/2/a-look-back Now that we are well into 2016,  I took a look back at how 2015 played out,  photography wise,  and I must say that it was a banner year for me.  I got some of my best shots ever last year,  and from a large variety of wildlife subjects.  I also became a published photographer for the first time as I allowed a non-profit to publish one of my whitetail deer photos for one of their educational booklets.  You would think that would satisfy any photographer,  but unfortunately,  it doesn't.  All wildlife photographers are looking for that next great shot and we are haunted by the great shots we have missed in the past.  It is that drive that keeps us going until we get that unique shot and the next day the cycle starts all over again.  Make no mistake about it,  this is not a hobby,  but it is a lifestyle,   and once you get a passion for it,  there is no looking back.  Wildlife photography is not easy,  but the payoff is worth it.  It requires tremendous patience and countless hours in the field,  but that is the price you pay for being involved in one of the greatest and most challenging forms of photography there is.  I can only hope 2016 will be even better.  It is already off to a great start.

https://www.gcookephotography.com/blog/2016/2/a-look-back Sun, 28 Feb 2016 03:11:39 GMT
Welcome to My Re-designed Site https://www.gcookephotography.com/blog/2015/7/welcome-to-my-re-designed-site As many of you noticed,  I have lately re-designed my entire website.  I have also cleared out my older blogs and I am starting fresh with this one.  The main reason for the changes is that I want my site to now reflect my shooting style since I moved out to western Canada in 2013.  I will now also restrict my galleries to about 15 to 20 of the best shots,  per gallery,  to keep the best quality shots for display.  I appreciate all of the support people have shown for my photography over the years and I hope to keep getting the quality photos you expect from me and I expect from myself.  I can be my own harshest critic and that is actually a good thing in photography.  I compete with myself on every new shoot and try to top the photos from my previous shoots, each time.  That is what I love about photography.  I don't care how great the shots are from any other photographer,  although I do draw inspiration from other's work.  I only care that my own photos keep getting better and more interesting as I progress.  This is a passion where you never rest on your laurels because there is always something new and interesting to shoot.  Nature/wildlife photography presents its own special set of challenges and difficulties,  but that is what makes this type of photography so fun and addicting.  It's hard work and requires a passion for the craft,  but the rewards make all the effort definitely worth it.

https://www.gcookephotography.com/blog/2015/7/welcome-to-my-re-designed-site Sun, 05 Jul 2015 12:59:17 GMT