25 Best Photos of 2018

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25 Best Photos of 2018

The 25 Best Photos I’ve taken this year…

At the start of 2018 I got a brand new camera. I had several years of disinterest in photography after graduating with a Broadcast Journalism degree in 2014 and feeling like I’d be glad to never see an edit suite again. This year, through some prompting and inspiration, I decided to take the plunge and take up a lens again. Camera’s have changed a lot and rather than going down the DSLR route, I opted for a Sony Mirrorless system (the A6000) and a small collection of lovely lenses that I’ve listed with the images. Here’s my favourite photos from the year.

Animals

scottish stag at sunset

This Scottish Stag at sunset was snapped on the Glen Etive road that James Bond drives in the movie Skyfall. I couldn’t believe I caught this moment.

(Lens: Sony 50mm F1.8)

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This is a Kea, the New Zealand Alpine Parrot. It’s the smartest bird in the world, but also one of the rarest. There may be as few as 3,000 of these left in the wild. I spotted this one at the top of Rob Roy’s Glacier near Wanaka in the South Island. I couldn’t believe my luck. Minutes later, it came right up to me and started undoing my shoelaces with its beak.

(Lens: Sony 50mm F1.8)

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These migrating geese flew over my head on a cloudy day in East Lothian, Scotland. I’d just finished a several thousand mile journey from New Zealand and they’d just finished a several thousand mile journey from Greenland and we found ourselves all meeting in Scotland for a moment.

(Lens: Sony 18-105mm F4)

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I love taking photos of animals as if they are portraits of humans. The ear tag on this Lake District cow tells us she’s called Machete Marigold. So many questions…

(Lens: Sigma 30mm F1.4)

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The New Zealand Tui is a beautiful songbird with a tufted white throat. It has two voiceboxes so it can sing a beautiful tune whilst beatboxing at the same time.

(Lens: Sony 18-105mm F4)

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A busy bee in the garden at my parents house. I don’t have a dedicated macro lens so I have to use extension tubes. I also manually focus so shots like this are when having a camera that can shoot 11fps is really handy.

(Lens: Sony 50mm F1.8 + extension tubes)

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This cheery little chappy was chirping away up in the Lost Valley in Glencoe, Scotland. I feel like he must have been very well fed…

(Lens: Sony 50mm F1.8)

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This is the worlds rarest penguin, the Yellow Eyed Penguin just returning home after a day of fishing off the coast of Dunedin, New Zealand.

(Lens: Sony 18-105mm F4)

gecko nz

I absolutely bloody love gecko’s. I was so pleased when I discovered they’re kicking around in New Zealand.

(Lens: Sony 50mm F1.8)

People and Portraits

katie edinburgh

First up, this is the girl that got me interested in photography again. Follow her on instagram at @kitty_travels. Her photography is stunning and her passion and playfulness behind the lens is what inspired me to pick up a camera. This photo was taken the day she quit her job to go and travel the world. It snowed and we went walking up Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh and used the whole city as a backdrop of bokeh. That cheeky grin is because she knows that adventure is on the horizon.

(Lens: Sony 50mm F1.8)

Dom in the mist

This is my friend Dom. We used to live together in Leeds and this photo was taken on his birthday halfway up Ben Cruachan in Scotland. The weather was typically Scottish so I just took a tiny little manual prime lens up the mountain, thinking there would be limited scope for photos anyway. We discovered the Cruachan Dam and recognised it as the one that appeared in the fantastic BBC show Stag. Dom walked across it and I snapped this as he disappeared into the mist.

(Lens: 7Artisans 25mm F1.8)

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This is Rhys Williamson, long-time fringe collaborator and my best friend. His girlfriend Michelle looks on in the background as we wander around the Tate Modern in London.

(Lens: Sigma 30mm F1.4)

kaylee qing modern art gallery

I think this is my favourite portrait photo from the whole year. I met Qing in the summer when she was visiting the UK from China and she might just be the most photogenic model you could imagine. I snapped this outside the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh.

(Lens: Sigma 30mm F1.4)

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This is my friend Ben in the background chastising his son Beren for some minor annoyance as we climb Jack’s Rake in the Lake District. Beren is cheeky enough to call bullshit on his dad now, which makes for funny interactions. Two hours after this was taken, I fell on the hill, smashed my head on a rock and had to be airlifted to hospital. I felt calm and well-looked after for the whole journey. Without these two, the other friends I was with and the support of the Mountain Rescue and Air Ambulance, I can imagine it would have felt a lot more unnerving.

(Lens: Sigma 30mm F1.4)

airlifting new zealand chris cook

Speaking of airlifting, here’s one of my favourite action shots from the year. This was in New Zealand on Wharariki Beach. Two swimmers had been stranded on an offshore island in a nasty riptide and couldn’t get off. The air rescue team were fantastic and winched them both to safety.

(Lens: Sony 18-105mm F4)

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This accompanying image shows the pilot and medic walking back to the helicopter after dropping them both on the beach. Could they look any more like heroes?

(Lens: Sony 18-105mm F4)

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This is Ava Beaux, one of my favourite magicians in the UK and someone I’m so proud to call my friend. She came to visit me in Edinburgh and I snapped this as we went to explore the Christmas markets.

(Lens: Sigma 30mm F1.4)

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The green room. This is my comedian friend Okello Dunkley putting the final touches to his opening set in our little backstage room in Vienna about 15 minutes before we go on stage.

(Lens: Sigma 30mm F1.4)

surfer on piha beach

This is in the stunning Waitakere range, west of Auckland in New Zealand. Whilst everyone else on Piha Beach is looking at Lion rock, I was looking at this lone surfer as he was looking at the tide… deciding if he was braving one last wave.

(Lens: Sony 18-105mm F4)

Landscapes

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This is Wanaka’s famous willow with wet feet. It’s probably the most photographed tree in the whole of New Zealand. So how do you do it differently? You take 128 separate photos then digitally overlay them all to create this smooth, rippled reflection.

(Lens: Sony 50mm F1.8)

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I flipping love space and how utterly transfixing the Milky Way was from almost anywhere in New Zealand.

(Lens: Samyang 12mm F2)

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Scottish skies do this a lot, but sometimes, if you just go with it, you can get some lovely results.

(Lens: Sigma 30mm F1.4)

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These Scottish themed prayer flags were hanging in the middle of McCaig’s Tower in Oban.

(Lens: Sigma 30mm F1.4)

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This is Ngarahoe in New Zealand, used as Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings films. It was steaming plenty on the scorching hot day I hiked the Tongariro alpine crossing.

(Lens: Sony 18-105mm F4)

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This is the Mueller Hut overlooking Mt Cook/Aoraki. From here, I made the short scramble to the top of Mt Ollivier, the first mountain that Edmund Hilary climbed. He would of course later go on to be the first to summit Everest.

(Lens: Sony 18-105mm F4)

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Snowboarding trip to the Alps!

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Snowboarding trip to the Alps!

Sometimes people ask me what I do when I'm not doing magic...

The beautiful Three Valleys.

The beautiful Three Valleys.

Well, during the late winter months, when there's fewer people getting married and I'm less likely to be performing magic at weddings or events, I really like to take off to the Alps and get some snow. This was my second time back on my snowboard since I had serious knee surgery and I'm really pleased to say it was a blast. Lots of great runs as well as plenty of backcountry powder.

It was my first time to the Three Valleys but I can safely say my favourite place in the Alps I've been! I even managed to practise my levitation trick as seen below...

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2016 in Pictures

Here's some of my favourite photos of 2016. It was a great year, performing in Edinburgh at the Fringe Festival, at weddings in the Lake District, corporate events in London, Glasgow, Manchester and all over! Enjoy!

Giving my own TED Talk!

Giving my own TED Talk!

Performing on stage in the Voodoo Rooms at the Edinburgh Fringe

Performing on stage in the Voodoo Rooms at the Edinburgh Fringe

No one wants to miss out on the magic...

No one wants to miss out on the magic...

Card tricks at a wedding

Card tricks at a wedding

Walking out on stage at TED

Walking out on stage at TED

Sometimes kids have the best reactions

Sometimes kids have the best reactions

Magic not to be missed!

Magic not to be missed!

The last bow of the last show at the Edinburgh Fringe 2016

The last bow of the last show at the Edinburgh Fringe 2016

Trying to figure out how the tricks work...

Trying to figure out how the tricks work...

Then being even more impressed...

Then being even more impressed...

Making the bride and groom laugh.

Making the bride and groom laugh.

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When the magician steals your ring and it ends up attached to his keys

When the magician steals your ring and it ends up attached to his keys

This is where the magic happens!

This is where the magic happens!

Sound-checking before dress rehearsal

Sound-checking before dress rehearsal

A packed house at the TED talk

A packed house at the TED talk

Performing at a corporate event in Glasgow, Scotland

Performing at a corporate event in Glasgow, Scotland

Hanging out with the fabulous Luke Closely after our shows at the Edinburgh Fringe ends

Hanging out with the fabulous Luke Closely after our shows at the Edinburgh Fringe ends

I was asked to perform at a friends wedding so it was a great opportunity to throw some moves on the dance floor afterwards...

I was asked to perform at a friends wedding so it was a great opportunity to throw some moves on the dance floor afterwards...

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Chris Cook gives TED Talk!

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Chris Cook gives TED Talk!

Chris Cook at TEDx University of Leeds 2016

Chris Cook at TEDx University of Leeds 2016

I'm really proud to present to you my TED Talk on Why Magic Matters.

I was invited to give a talk and demonstration by TEDx University of Leeds which I'm pleased to say has now been seen by thousands of people online.

The TED Talk delves into Why Magic Matters. I touch upon why our childlike sense of wonder and innate sense of curiosity is still just as crucial as adults. The talk is highlighted with some astonishing magic tricks and an incredible finale. 

I often perform as a corporate entertainer and after-dinner speaker at events across the UK. This TED Talk is now available to be booked for corporate events, team-building days and for educational institutions. 

TED is the Gold Standard for public speaking. Online TED Talks have received tens of millions of views online and featured people at the very top of their game, including Richard Branson, Stephen Hawking, Bill Clinton, Sarah Silverman, Bill Gates, James Cameron, Jamie Oliver, Bono, Al Gore, Tony Robbins, Ken Robinson, Peter Gabriel, Imogen Heap and hundred of other world-leading experts.

I'm really proud to join their ranks!

For more info on booking this talk for your event, CLICK HERE

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Top Ten Magical Moments of 2015

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Top Ten Magical Moments of 2015

2015 was a huge year for me. Not only did I get to perform at both the world's largest arts festival as well as the world's largest music festival, I found myself performing magic all over the world and clocking up more gigs than any other year. Here are my top ten highlights of 2015.

 

1. Edinburgh Fringe Festival

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The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is always a highlight of my year. Comedians, dancers, actors and circus stars travel from all over the globe to perform in the world's largest arts festival. I had the pleasure of performing my brand new show in the Voodoo Rooms beautiful Ballroom theatre and was rewarded with packed-out crowds everyday. 

The show was really well received with several publications and many fringe punters naming it one of the highlights of the fringe. It meant so much to me to be able to perform a show that was about more than just the magic. A huge thank you to everyone who helped put the show on and all the people who came to see it.

 

2. Glastonbury Festival

How could performing at Glastonbury not be a highlight? The world's largest music festival with a line-up of incredible acts spanning over 50 years of music. Of course, it's not just music. Some of the best circus, magic, comedy and theatre acts from around the world descend on Glastonbury to make it simply the best party you've ever been to. Because where else are you going to see Patti Smith singing happy birthday to the Dalai Lama...?

 

3. Slovenia

Magic shows don't just write themselves you know. This year's Edinburgh show was written over the course of nine months with help from my long-time collaborator Rhys Williamson. Part of the writing and rehearsal process was done in Germany and Slovenia.This video was shot during a little down-time in the beautiful mountains in north-west Slovenia.

 

4. Weddings, weddings, WEDDINGS!

I performed at more weddings in 2015 than ever before. Getting to be a part of so many people's special day is a real joy. Not only have I performed at weddings all across the country but I've had the pleasure of meeting so many fantastic couples and help plan their wedding day. 

 

5. Crazy Corporate Events

Pretty special guests at tonight's corporate gig. Really glad to be a part of it and see Britain's best dance act!

Posted by Chris Cook Magic on Saturday, 16 May 2015

I performed at countless corporate events throughout 2015, entertaining thousands of people all across the country. Some of these parties have fantastic costumes, celebrity guests and special surprises. A great highlight was getting to see dance-troupe Diversity perform!

 

6. Working with my favourite magician friends!

Even better than performing at events on your own is getting to work with other fabulous magicians at parties and shows. It's always a huge laugh getting to work with mates at events. Because double the magicians equals doubles the magic!

 

7. Performing in Asia

Travelling for work definitely has its perks. As well as travelling the UK, I got to spend time in Germany, Slovenia, Ireland, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam this year. Here's a quick trick I filmed in Bangkok.

 

8. Wonderful reviews

This lovely review from  BroadwayBaby  was one of the many nice things written about me in 2015

This lovely review from BroadwayBaby was one of the many nice things written about me in 2015

I've had some excellent feedback in 2015 from so many places. I'm forever grateful for the people that take the time to leave glowing reviews on my Facebook fan page and for the really nice words that were said about me in various publications and newspapers this year. I'm genuinely blushing.

 

9. The strange gigs... 

A video posted by Chris Cook (@chriscookmagic) on

You know, those sort of gigs where you end up juggling on a Segway...

 

10. Meeting some incredible wedding professionals

Despite being an entertainer for a decade now, I'm always meeting new suppliers who dazzle me with their incredible skills. This year I met some amazing weddings singers, photographers, florists and bands that amazed me with their talents. Check out some of my recommended favourites here, including Cumbria Wedding Films who shot the above video of me performing magic.

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Performing to Newcastle Medical students

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Performing to Newcastle Medical students

I performed magic to over 400 Newcastle students at Beamish Hall Country House Hotel on the day that they found out they had all become Doctors!

All the students were really up for it and a lot of fun to perform for!

All the students were really up for it and a lot of fun to perform for!

The graduation ball for the students was being held at Beamish Hall hotel, which is a beautiful venue in the heart of County Durham in the North-East. The venue itself is stunning and the staff were fantastic. 

This table in particular were an absolute barrel of laughs!

This table in particular were an absolute barrel of laughs!

The fabulous Luke, one of my favourite magicians!

The fabulous Luke, one of my favourite magicians!

If you are interested in booking me for your event, please check out the corporate or party page and get in touch!

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Performing for Lucy's 21st Birthday Party

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Performing for Lucy's 21st Birthday Party

I had an absolutely wonderful time performing at Lucy's 21st birthday party in Ambleside recently. 

The beautiful, vintage bikes and beetle with a boot full of booze... 

The beautiful, vintage bikes and beetle with a boot full of booze... 

It was a delightful vintage party in a truly beautiful location in the heart of the Lake District. All the guests were delightful and it was hosted in a beautiful marquee with an incredible catering team. 

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For more information about parties, check out the party page and get in touch

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