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
Hey guys! It’s great to be back blogging again. How are you?
Last week I turned 25 years old, and it seems like a nice round number to have a look back at the things I’ve done in the past. It’s so easy to get caught up in life and forget all the things you have accomplished in the past – so I invite you to do the same and take a while to think about your positive achievements from the small to the large.
1. Leaving school with good GCSE’s and A Levels
2. Finishing my BA Honours degree at University for the Creative Arts
3. Moving out of home
4. Discovering gratitude and being thankful.
5. Learning how to do laundry, and look after a home.
6. Meeting Jack, getting engaged and working on us.
7. Learning about Anxiety, myself, and going to therapy.
8. Going to MCM Comic Con!
9. Finding kindness in small things and the big.
10. Becoming a professional photographer and being a freelancer.
11. Leaving a job I hated
12. Friendships – both recent and lifelong
13. Working on a film set – I can’t wait to do more!
14. Published in Photography Magazines – Starburst Magazine, Dear Photographer, Practical Photography etc.
15. Living alone in my first year of uni
16. Holidaying with Friends at Center Parcs
17. Seeing lots of theatre – my personal favourites have been Wicked and The Addam’s Family Musical
18. Made Good friends Online
19. Completed A Pokemon Game
20. Going to the Harry Potter Studio Tour
21. Learning and creating photography – both analogue and digital
22. Dying my hair blue.
23. Loving nature and animals
24. Helping in my old primary school
25. Creating Jasmine Aurora
Comment below something you have accomplished, no matter how big or small.
Hello hello HELLO (read that in Rupaul’s voice), I thought I’d do a little blog series as a monthly catch up to share what I’ve been doing and liking as well as projects that are in the pipeline too.
At the moment I’m not in a position to hire a studio (if anyone even know’s of a decent white wall, I’m there!) so I’ve been trying to expend my horizons in a few different directions and try new things. I’m still very much inspired by conceptual, surrealist and fine art portraiture but it’s taking a short break until I have the means to create the images I really want and feel rather than making a half attempt with half the resources.
SO, the first thing I’ve given a little go is…
A little bit of still life…
I’ve been enjoying setting up a mini (make shift) studio in my house at the moment where I can set up some still life. Mostly these photos are intended for premium stock photography, but it’s made me think that maybe I could also use this in my own work too. Using a simple blue background is SO effective and the colours I can get from it are so awesome.
I have been journalling on and off for years, but a few years agoI discovered bullet journalling which opened up to me the whole online journalling and planning community. I am yet to find the unicorn that is ‘planner peace’ where I feel like I have totally nailed my organisation through journalling, but I’ve found it to be something I really love doing.
I was suggested a video on youtube which was someone doing a flip through of their general journal for 2017 – containing everything from song lyrics, days out, gratitude, things they found inspiring, business cards…. anything that felt like it meant something on that day to that person. It was not for organisation, it was for fun of the process, and perhaps a bit to look back on in the future. This changed everything in the way I do things. I’d been trying to keep a bullet journal but whenever I would get ‘arty’ with it, it would dilute my planning and to do lists and all became such a jumble. Therefore I now work with a couple of different journals including a new handmade one which is my do-whatever-I-want journal. I’ve been collecting photographs, things from my day, painting and exploring new artistic expression in this handmade journal, and I still have a pristine and working bullet journal on the side. It is WORKING and I love it. One of my favourite things to do at the moment is to watch Charmed while journalling at my desk. I find it relaxing and fun.
Perhaps one day I’ll film a journal flip through of this one, I’m not sure. But here’s a link to the video that inspired me, and I liked this video too.
The thing about post production in software like Adobe Photoshop is that the possibilities are limitless and there is always new things to learn, new techniques, new shortcuts. I’ve discovered two things this month: glitch photography and gradient maps.
Yoga and Mindfulness
I have been reading everywhere for years that the ‘secret’ to feeling better with depression and anxiety is through yoga and mindfulness. I’ve given it a go many time before, found a bit of a benefit, but then quickly forgotten about it or moved on to something else.
This month I dug out a book from the archives of under my bed called ‘Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World’ that I’ve had for years and decided, why not? I need something to sooth my soul right now. It’s an 8 week mindfulness course, and I started by doing a short mindfulness meditation every day. Prompted by this, and noticing I had started to become more mindful, I found the book Frazzled by Ruby Wax at the library and read the first few chapters. She was a huge advocate for mindfulness practise. In one of the books it mentioned how a man had tried yoga to broaden his mindfulness progress and that he found doing it everyday, so again I thought – why not do both? I’ve got nothing to lose and I feel terrible. SO. I’m only about 3 or 4 days into the daily yoga + mindfulness practise and I do feel like there’s been a slight shift in my perspective. It’s almost like someone is putting a bit of a magnifying glass into my life and showing me all these details I would usually be too stuck in my head to notice. I’m new to the practise, but I’m going to carry on and hopefully write a blog post about how I get on with it.
The yoga routine I’m following is this one here.
Published in TWO magazines!
When I wrote down a list of goals for 2018 (which reminds me, I must dig them out) one of my main goals was to have my work somehow featured in a magazine – big or small. In April this happened and completely by suprise. A while ago I took some photos of the cosplayer and model Onyxeia of her Black Cat cosplay, and this month she had a feature in Starburst Magazine which is available all over the UK including W H Smith which was where I picked it up – woohoo! Goal met.
Secondly though, I received confirmation that a photo I submitted to the ‘details’ edition of Dear Photographer had been accepted and will be in the upcoming magazine. I have pre-ordered my copy from America and I can’t wait to see it when it arrives. Keep an eye out on my instagram if you’re interested in seeing that when it arrives.
The Denim Jacket ™
This month I bought a denim jacket from ebay (costing a whopping £4.20) and I finally been putting to use all the badges and pins I have collected from various things. There is still room for LOTS more but I really can’t wait to wear this now that spring is here. Wearing a baggy tshirt, leggings, boots, denim jacket and a scarf is my new favourite comfy daytime look.
What’s happening next?
This summer I have a few exciting projects coming up including working on another film as an on set photographer / stills photographer which I am super excited for. I will most likely be telling you a bit more about that over on my Instagram nearer the time so do check that out if you’re interested.
I am looking at starting at least one new personal project too – this will either be a portrait project or a documentary project. It’s been a while since I’ve had something that I can really sink my teeth into – so although I’m very much in the research and planning stages at the moment, I’m looking forward to having something to work on that’s just for me.
If you’re reading this, I want to extend a huge thank you for your support in reading my blogs and liking my posts. It means so much that someone is interested in what I do.
If you’d like to follow along I invite you to follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Bloglovin’ and please feel free to reach out and say hello!
Have a great day,