Visiting Chessington World of Adventures

Visiting Chessington World of Adventures

When was the last time you visited a theme park? I have to admit, I’ve been around two times in my life. Rollercoaster rides are really not my thing, but having fun with friends and seeing interesting animals are. I was also rather excited about all those little things too – the stalls where you win big fluffy toys, the decorations, the music and the atmosphere – the smell of candy floss and sugar. Sign me up. Therefore, when Jack and I were invited along with friends to Chessington World of Adventures, I was really looking forward to going.

The friends we went with live quite far away from us, so this was one of the rare occasions we were able to be in the same place at the same time and we wanted to make the most of it.

When you meet distant friends you have to go back to your 12 year old selves and all put your foot in the middle for a photo. The difference being that now I have a pretty awesome camera and actually this image can be a really cool character study and a way to see the uniqueness of all out friends.

It was a bit of a weird experience going back to Chessington as last time I was there I was taken out in an ambulance (a story for another day). The day hot and warm but thankfully cloudy too with a breeze running through to take the edge off too. We pulled up and parked in the field and a feeling of happy excitement was in the air as we headed towards the park entrance and the smell of freshly made sugared doughnuts wafted over to us.

As you walk around the park people are flying over head, screaming from swirling adrenaline. It’s a bit like you’ve walked into a magical land where things are wild and wonderful – like anything can happen. I can imagine Disneyland is something similar on a much bigger scale, I’d love to go there one day.

Walking around in a group gave me a feeling of belonging – these people where so lovely and welcoming to me that I immediately comfortable with all of them.

The first ride we visited was – Tiger’s Rock. It’s a log flume water ride and I have to say, it looked pretty awesome. A few of us stayed with the bags while the other’s queued to go on and we watched the other boats crashing into the water, the air smelling of swimming pools and the odd stray splash that might come your way. I ended up getting wet just sitting on the side lines from a stray water cannon.

While we where waiting, we happened to be just in time for the talk about – the tigers. My view on animals in captivity and zoos is very mixed. I don’t like animals in cages, and I would much prefer them to be out in the the wild and not just here for our entertainment. However, If the animal is kept in a great enclosure, is being rehabilitated, happy and healthy, and used for the purposes of education and not just as entertainment then I’m okay with the animal in a cage. I do not know on the status of the tigers in this park, but I will say that the tigers had a large enclosure and seemed to be happy and relaxed.

It was amazing to be so close to these amazing creatures. At some points they were maybe only a metre away from me. I thought I would find them beautiful and a bit overwhelming – and I did, but I also was quite scared of them too. At the time I thought I was being a bit silly, but thinking about it – was I really?! Tiger’s are amazing predators and carnivores so actually, it’s quite normal to have a bit of fear around them. They are huge and muscular and powerful creatures.

As our friends went on the ride we hired out a water cannon to give them an extra blast as they came down the water slide. This little girl got a little bit too happy with it and soaked me by aiming it at the pillar behind me.

The rest of the day was mostly spent walking around the park and soaking in all that it had to offer. We visited a few rides, got some food, played on some stalls. Having not been to one of the parks for at least ten or more years, I can totally understand now why some people come down for a couple of days or the weekend because there is just so much to experience – much more that we could in the few hours we where there that day.

While most of the guys went on a ride, Arthur took me to see the sea lions and oh man they are so sweet. They where playing up to the people looking at them through the glass, I think they really liked the attention and played up to it.

When I was younger, I used to tell people I wanted to be a marine biologist when I grew up. Mostly this was because I really loved dolphins and thought this meant I could swim with them all the time, but also because I thought everything under the sea was really interesting. The Sea Life centre on London south bank is a fascinating place, and in Chessington they have a sort mini version from the same people. It’s got the same moody blue lighting and a sense of being part of the another world. *sings*

There was one part of the Sea Life part that made me stop in my tracks. The whole aquarium was full of life and colour and movement but there was this one tank in the section of the Amazon rainforest where there was this one particular tank. In this tank, there where some pretty intimidating looking and fairly large fish that where just completely still. They where not moving at all, hanging in the clear water and where so unnerving to watch. Jack then pointed out that these where in fact Piranhas and so I casually walked away from them because they were freaking me out just a tad. They are amazing creatures, but I’d rather not be that close to them.

There were parts of the aquarium that where just absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been wanting to photograph in the London Sea Life centre for quite a while now, and some of these photos have made me want to do that even more than before. I hope that at some point this year I will be able to go down and create a proper photo series there.

Under the sea is like an amazing alien planet. It’s so different, but it seems like time flows differently somehow. It’s intense but calming and fantastic all at the same time.

Standing somewhere where the whole point of the park is to inspire and smile and have a brilliant time is a great mood lifter. I may not like rides. I may be scared when I see a lion. I may get anxious when I am away from people I know for a while. But it’s great to feel loved, included and part of something bigger.

Thank you guys, for making my day so happy!

On this blog I am now going to post something every Sunday – perhaps something during the week too, but a Sunday morning at 9:00am is now going to be my regular posting time and I’d love to connect with anyone reading or perhaps some other people that blog too.

If you would like to know more about Chessington World of Adventures, here is their website.

Please feel invited to follow me on twitter or instagram too, and I will see you soon.

Thanks for reading!

Jasmine Aurora x

Filming for National Poetry Day

Filming for National Poetry Day

Over the last few weeks I’ve had the pleasure of coming along to some filming sessions of a creation by Jack Jewers to do some film stills photography and assisting. It’s the first time I’ve been on a film set as oppose to a photography one, and I have to say I completely fell in love with the whole thing and can’t wait to do more in the future.

In two short days (one day in front of the camera, and one day helping out behind and taking stills) I learned a lot and met some amazing people. I love love love how they worked together to bring a concept to life. There were times in set where there was so much smoke I felt like I was in Jurassic Park or at the very least the Upside Down from Stranger Things. When the final project is released to the public I will update this post and probably add it to my instagram too <3

Director & Producer: Jack Jewers, Campbell Challis
Cinematography: Tom Blount
Production Assistants: Emily Tait, Simon Hutchings, Justine DuHart
Actress: Sophia Eleni

I’m available to hire for photo sessions, documentary or to commission an art piece so please do get in touch if you have a project you would like to work together on.

Film Stills photographer london surrey camera man camera man Film Stills photographer london surrey Sophia Eleni on film set behind the scenes film still photographer behind the scenes film set photography jasmine aurora smoke film director watching set behind the scenes with smoke and lighting Film Stills photographer london surrey filming behind the scenes slate camera assistant runner make up artist working on film set london behind the scenes Film Stills photographer london surrey behind the scenes film set smoke silhouette Film Stills photographer london surrey commercial dramatic lighting

Thank you to Jack Jewers for inviting me along for this process and allowing me to take photographs.

How To Review Your Own Photography

How To Review Your Own Photography

Something which I have started doing recently is taking some time after a key photoshoot to write a brief but detailed review on everything from how it went to how I want to improve.

I suppose I first learned to do this while studying photography both at a level and degree level. Remember back in art subjects where you had to fill sketch books with ideas and inspirations? It’s sort of like that but without the pressure as you’re the only one it has to benefit.

Why it’s a good idea

It keeps you on track with your work
It allows you to learn and become a better photographer
It helps keep your portfolio look consistent
It helps you identify what you love and what needs more work

What kind of photography will this benefit?

I can’t think of any form of photography that this might be a bad thing for. Personally I use it for family photography, documentary and fine art just the same.

review your own photography bullet journal jasmine aurora
Some prompts to get you started…

What went really well?
What obstacles did you face?
How could you have prepared more?
What did you learn?
How will you do it differently next time?
How does this fit into your portfolio?
How does this fit into your goals?
What did you enjoy / not enjoy about the process?
What’s your best image/feature and why?

And some key areas to focus on may be…

Interaction with people (models, clients etc.)
Lighting and equipment
Tones & colour
Concept, message & storytelling
Planning
Editing
Writing
Movement and emotion

Okay…. so do I need to do this every time?

You can do it as much or as little as you want. Personally I’m doing it for almost everything I shoot at the moment because I’m very much young in the world of photography and I want to learn and grow as much as I can. Sometimes I group a few similar shoots together, sometimes I focus on just one image.

What do I need?

You pretty much have three options: physically journalling in a notebook, finding a way to do it digitally or a mixture of the two.

Personally I use my bullet journal to work out what it is I want to get out of the shoot, to explore new ideas and get things down on a page. I then write the actual review after the shoot on Google Docs on my photography account so that it’s all there together backed up and always accessible.

Taking some time to review your own photography is a skill that I think is really helpful in advancing as a photographer. Of course, everyone is different. Some people may prefer to write this down, some may find talking it over with another person is more helpful or even just having a think about it while you’re in the shower.

If you review your work I would love to see, please feel free to link me in the comments, send me message or tag me on instagram if you’d like to share it with me. Journalling and bullet journalling are both things I bloody well adore, so I’m always up for seeing more.

Have a great day,

Jasmine Aurora xo