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Phil Cook

Born 8th October 1961

Resident in London, England


Other interests
These include "classical" music, everything from early Spanish pilgrim songs to modern composers like Maxwell Davies with all the usual stuff in between. Though if I am pressed I will say my favourite composers are Shostakovich and Vaughan Williams. I sing in my church choir and am a member of Audivi Vocem, a small chamber choir, that started as an off shoot from it, to sing the kind of music we would never sing in church. By this I mean stuff in foreign languages rather than rock music :-)

My interest in walking started when my parents took me and my two brothers out on trips to the Yorkshire and Derbyshire Dales as well as the occasional holiday in Wales. From that time also were school field trips to the limestone country of the Yorkshire Three Peaks area. My favourite areas for walking in the UK are the Western Highlands of Scotland, which I make week long trips to from here in London, and Wales which can be a weekend thing but I have been known to drive there in the afternoon to spend the next day walking before coming home in the evening.




I went to a fully digital setup in 2005. Before that I was carrying two cameras, one a Pentax 35mm SLR and a 2 megapixel digicam for "snaps," but the thing is most of this site's content during that period was being derived from the digicam; so I upgraded that to a Konica-Minolta DiMAGE A2 and the 35mm SLR sat at home in a drawer. As of May 2007 I have gone back to a SLR but this time a digital one. My camera is now a ten megapixel Canon D400. I use two EF-S lenses the 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM and 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Most of the time I carry a lightweight Velbon tripod. This allows me to take self portraits (I mostly walk alone) but more importantly it helped to get the panoramas set up for easiery stitching later. Also it enables me to take shots when the light is really low as it often is in Scotland in winter. Digital means the only filter I tend to use is a polariser as the effects of almost any other kind can be reproduced in Photoshop later.

How are the panoramas done? The latest version of my technique involves a panoramic mount (I got fed up of poor stitches) with the Canon D400 and 10-22mm mounted in portrait mode. At 10mm full 360° horizontal coverage requires eight shots. To fill in the nadir and zenith to give 180° vertical coverage I then take a further eight shots (four up and four down) with the lens angled at 45°. The resulting images are then stitched in PTgui and displayed using the PTviewer java applet. Earlier panoramas were made using ImageAssembler and Panorama Factory to stitch shots taken with the camera in landscape mode rotated about the tripod mount (rather than the entrance pupil of the lens as it is on the panoramic head) and were displayed using a flat scroll applet because of the often non-central horizon.

These images show the setup with the panoramic mount and a preview from PTgui, with added tinting giving an indication of the coverage of each shot.

shot coverage in panoramas

shot coverage in panoramas

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