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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Thaw

When you have a tiny baby your boundaries contract. My horizon stretched about as far as our back yard for a couple of weeks.

I became fascinated by the melting of a cute snowman built by my little nephew on a visit in the snow. It was a sterling effort with lavender stalks for eyes, a mini carrot for a nose, and paintbrushes for arms.  Documenting its gradual disappearance over several days was rather therapeutic for me.

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Terracotta bunnies

These little things are lined up next to the checkout in my local Waitrose.

Every time I see them they cause me to pause.  I think it’s because they remind me of China’s Terracotta Warriors, silently guarding the imperial tomb for eternity.

Hang on, this Monstrous Regiment of Rabbits must be there for Easter.  It’s January, ffs!

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Foggy murmuration

Yesterday I was back at Brighton Marina photographing on a cold January day (see this post for last Jan’s Marina photos).

It was quite an eerie place, nearly deserted and blanketed in fog.  It’s not a beautiful marina by any stretch of the imagination: chain restaurants and  bowling alleys; closed-down nightclubs and fake palm trees.  My kind of place!

Then over the masts of moored-up sailing boats a murmuration of starlings flocked. Little specks of black on a grey backdrop.  The sound was amazing: the starlings, a fog horn, and a haunting wind.  Thought I’d record a few seconds and post it here to add to the atmosphere. [Click on the link below, then on the underlined ‘Brighton Marina fog’. Turn up the volume!]

Brighton Marina fog

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