An awesome wedding at the Shelleys Hotel, Lewes

I had to post some of these photos from a glorious wedding at The Shelleys Hotel in my home town of Lewes, now under new management and going from strength to strength (www.the-shelleys.co.uk):

Glenn’s Australian relatives brought the sun with them for a wonderful outdoor ceremony.  And Natasha glowed all day in the best bridal traditions.  The love heart shown here (given to Tash by a young relative) reads ‘Laugh often. Love much. Live well.’  A fitting saying for the day.

 

Itchingfield church

A lovely pre-wedding visit to plan the photography for a wedding at St Nicolas church at Itchingfield, West Sussex.

There is a beautiful Tudor priest house in the graveyard and a stunning Romanesque nave inside with soft window light (“God’s softbox” in action!).

But the piece de la resistance is the wooden bell tower.  I thought it was only a traditional Sussex timber shingle spire at first sight – remarkable on its own – but I rounded the west end and saw its full oak structure rising to the sky.  The bride-to-be told me how the whole tower shakes when the bells ring: it’s not actually attached to the church.

Oh, and it’s over 600 years old.  Amazing.

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The sun sets on a Newick Park wedding

I had the privilege of photographing the last ever wedding at Newick Park Hotel, near my home in East Sussex, just after Christmas.

Following a ceremony at Ditchling church, bride and groom Carolyne and Mike put on a suitably unforgettable wedding reception, with a Chinese tea ceremony, and a dog in a tux, and lashings of transatlantic warmth.

I’ll miss working at Newick Park, which always felt like being welcomed into someone’s home (albeit it a huge one with its own lake!). I wish it good luck in its new adventures, whatever they may be.

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Lavender Line

When I mention the zoo to my son, he makes a ‘woo-wooo’ train noise, because the local zoo has a Thomas the Tank Engine ride.  When we drive anywhere near the station he cries ‘woo-wooo’ from the back seat.  When we go for a walk in the local wetlands he says ‘woo-wooo’ because he knows the the train tracks pass nearby and you can sometimes catch a glimpse of one through the trees. ‘Woo-woooo’ is one of about five words he knows.  He learnt it before Mama and Daddy.

So, you can imagine how awed he was when we visited the Lavender Line railway at Isfield, near Uckfield, yesterday. I was secretly pretty chuffed too. Partly it’s the beauty of the graphic colours and typography of these old trains. And partly a nostalgia for my childhood trips out. Complete with a greasy spoon cafe and old fashioned tickets.

Woo-wooo!

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Through the Looking Glass

Two friends hosted an awesome joint birthday party recently, with an Alice in Wonderland theme.

I set up a pop-up photo studio for guests to take pictures of themselves. (For those geeks who may be interested, I used a wireless remote shutter release set up to my trusty Panasonic Lumix GF1 and 20mm pancake lens on a tripod, with two Bowens studio lights triggered by Pocket Wizards.)

Add a night of fun and a dash of strange blue cocktail, stir, simmer til the small hours, and open up the pot to see what’s cooked…

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Nutmeg

Hello world.

It’s been a while since I updated my blog, for which I am very sorry and I’ve stayed behind to write a hundred lines.

My excuse is Instagram, which has been taking over my blogging instincts.  You can follow me there if you like by looking for bensoncatherine.

I thought I’d start afresh with a lovely shoot I did last week with the good people of Nutmeg Sleepwear.  The best pyjamas I have laid my eyes on, with delicious fabrics and hand-made designs (have a look at nutmeg-sleepwear.co.uk)

Back soon (promise!)

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Jubilee flypast

So there I was, testing out some locations for a wedding I’ll be photographing at the amazing Coworth Park in Ascot, when what should roar overhead?

Eleven helicopters.  Then a WWII Lancaster bomber escorted by Spitfires.  Then a pair of huge Hercules. Then a formation of twenty planes spelling out a vast ’60’ in the sky.

Oh.  Of course.  Windsor is also in Berkshire, isn’t it?  By the time the Queen’s “E II R” insignia formation flew past by I’d realised what it was.  And then the Red Arrows rounded it off with a burst of coloured smoke.  Wow.  Glad I had my camera in hand.

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Lost and found

I bought a cheap set of drawers in a charity shop this weekend.  As I took the drawers out to clean them I found a small stamp collection.  The oldest one was posted in Rotterdam in 1948.

It’s obviously a very personal collection, torn from envelopes spanning some 50 or 60 years.  I imagine a family member who moved to Australia back when Brits were enticed with a new life in the ’50s.  And a friend in Spain who would send a Christmas card every year.  And the occasional holiday postcard sent from apartheid South Africa or a birthday parcel from Canada.

It also makes me realise the longevity of our queen, whose ageing profile adorns many of these stamps.  She pre-dates General Franco and looks in better fettle than his successor King Juan Carlos.  A fitting little tribute in her Diamond Jubilee year.

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Unexpected visitor

In my last post I’d got as far as the back yard. This time it’s my front door.

This little fella was on my doorstep.  There are no ponds or freshwater rivers nearby, so he was a long way from home.  He hid under the step all day. In the evening I saw he’d made an intrepid bid for freedom under cover of darkness, and was halfway down the pavement.  I hope he got where he was aheadin’.

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