Storm Shots: Apocalyptic Skies

I don't know a lot about the skies above our heads and the intricacies of what goes on up there, but you and I both know it can be pretty spectacular when things get a little heated - just as a little reminder of quite how powerful the natural forces around us can be.

This last weekend we got one of those little reminders and what a show it was.  We'd left work early, packed up the truck and headed off on a camping trip for Katharine's birthday weekend knowing full well we were likely to see something big from above.  Thankfully we managed to get to our spot, set up, open a beer and get the fire going before it arrived but when it did, it did it good.

First came the wind.  It started whipping up as the rolling cloud in the first shot below appeared over the trees. Apparently this is a type of 'Arcus' cloud which The Cloud Collector's Handbook describes as "the front bumper of a storm cloud - a long, dark, horizontal rolling shelf running along the the base of the storm cloud's front edge"  What came behind it was truly apocalyptic looking like something from a John Martin painting, smothering the sky and blocking out the sunset at quite a pace bringing with it the rain and shortly after a spectacular show of lightning.

From the shelter of the tent we had pretty much a 180 degree view of the open landscape and so a perfect spot to shoot the below photographs of mother nature unleashing some of her awesome energy.  Who needs birthday candles when you have this.

Insiration: Find Your Love - Soul & Surf, India

Another beautiful little film made by some super talented friends over at Fat Sand Productions ( - Joe Coyne, Jack Wells and Sim Warren) for the wonderful and inspiring Soul & Surf ( crew in Kerala, India.  I'm lucky enough to have spent time out there with these guys and I think this will probably convince you to go and experience it for yourself...

Photos from my time in the utterly stunning Keralan state can be found here.

Enjoy and if you haven't already, I hope you find your love soon.

Inspiration: The Challengers Almanac

A rare Saturday morning with nowhere I have to be and nothing I have to do by a certain time.  The perfect opportunity to lay in the hammock with a fresh coffee and draw some more inspiration from this brilliant book - The Challengers Almanac.

It is a new and beautifully put together "curated selection of stories and wisdom written by people who aren't afraid to break the rules."

"It isn't your run of the mill business book. It hasn't been created by men in suits or business experts with 1000 years experience." Instead it's been brought together by a film-maker and entrepreneur, a graphic designer, a researcher, two photographers and a tattoo artist all with a passion for business and finding new ways to make a positive change.  

Over the last year they've collected Challenger's stories and the advice from experts who have helped build Challenger brands and collated them into this, the first annual instalment.  It was launched as a kickstarter project and raised enough money through the crowd-funding website to go to print and I for one am super glad they did.  

If you like doing things differently, creating something that is more than the sum profits you might generate and flying in the face of conventional business methods with purpose and passion then I urge you to head over to and get yourself a copy.


© Benedict Stenning

Tearsheet: The Art Fund Annual Review Publication - Double Page Spread

Just in case you didn't already know... "Since 1903 The Art Fund have helped over 700 museums and galleries throughout the UK acquire thousands of great works of art from 2,000 BC to the present day for the public to enjoy.  Getting art into museums is only half the story. They help people make the most of art by supporting the sharing of collections, and through the National Art Pass – a card that gives free and discounted entry to hundreds of museums, galleries and exhibitions.  They campaign on behalf of museums and their visitors to ensure important works of art remain on public display for future generations and each year celebrate the very best UK museums and galleries by awarding a £100,000 prize for Museum of the Year." art

Each year, along with four quarterly magazines, they publish their annual review which covers everything The Art Fund have been up to from raising money for the purposes mentioned above, to helping support the biggest public art display the country had seen - Art Everywhere.

"Last summer, Art Everywhere took over 22,000 poster sites around the UK with 57 great works of art."  

We had a couple up near us one of which was John Everett Millais 'Ophelia' so one evening Katharine and I went and photographed it under the flyover.

To cut to the chase, The Art Fund ended up using the shot in their annual review as a double page spread.  To see it printed in such a prestigious and beautifully crafted publication was fantastic not to mention an honour having my photograph associated with such a worthwhile charity.

"This year, Art Everywhere is set to be even bigger – this time it will last six weeks, and a fantastic new set of British artworks from public collections will go on display. Plus, there will be a first-of-its-kind exhibition film, shown at cinemas nationwide."  So keep an eye out on and for billboards and posters near you.  If you're a regular museum or gallery visitor you could do a lot worse than getting yourself a national art pass from The Art Fund available here - the benefits are priceless.

Happy arty summer everyone.

Love Supreme 2014

"The Love Supreme Jazz festival combined a classic jazz bill with a modern boutique, green field experience. Set against the gorgeous backdrop of Glynde Place in Sussex and in association with Jazz FM, Love Supreme brought together 3 days of artists from the four corners of the world of Jazz; from Funk to Soul, Blues to Fusion. Four stages hosted a diverse and premium bill that  combined jazz greats, international legends, contemporary soul artists, cutting edge artists and the finest DJ's."

We just had tickets for Sunday and what a day it was - glorious sunshine (mostly), a super chilled vibe, amazing acts and hanging out with friends made for a pretty special event. The music was brilliantly curated - we chose to check out Curtis Stigers first up in Ronnie Scott's Big Top.  I'll be honest, even though all of us were around in the 90's and old enough to know what was going on, Stigers wasn't really our buzz then so we were all a little hazy about him but he crooned the hell out of Love Supreme with a great set of classic standards and re-works of his own tracks new and old.  Next up we wandered over to a bandstand nestled in the trees to catch The Swing Ninjas doing their thing with support from the Sussex Swingers dance group who were lindy-hopping their hearts out to the enjoyment of a great crowd of lookers on that couldn't help but move to the sights and sounds.

The three headliners on the Sunday were Soul II Soul, Imelda May and De La Soul, the last two of which we got involved in.  Imelda May was one that we definitely wanted to catch as Katharine is a big fan and now having seen her live I know why... she is just awesome - a striking rockabilly styled Irish girl with an incredible voice backed by thumping double bass and howling 50's swing guitar that got everyone jumping and didn't disappoint at all.  Lastly and to finish up the night (other than having to engage stealthy ninja moves to get out of the car park log-jam later on) was De La Soul, those legends of hip-hop from 25 years back.  These guys still know how to party and get everyone partying with them for sure.  They threw down old classics, new mixes and jokes a plenty with a New York steeze that's hard to equal finishing up the night perfectly. Boom, thank you Love Supreme and good night.


Photos all shot with the trusty 50mm and © Benedict Stenning

Brenizer Method

I'd heard about this technique a while ago but didn't get around to trying it out until recently.  It seems it's mainly used by wedding photographers but it could be applied to so many scenes.  Basically it creates a very shallow depth of field with a wide angle of view and can be used to closely mimic the look of a large format photograph.  Some blogs I've found on the internets go really in depth calculating the exact depth of field achieved through mathematic equations - thats not really my buzz but what I know is that I love the aesthetic and the inspiration it's awakened in me to try it out in different scenarios.  This shot was just an initial try-out and it came out pretty well although there are elements I'd change up for the next attempt.  Shot with a 50mm at f1.8 comprising of about 15 frames processed in lightroom using VSCO Film.

Here's an edited version of what wikipedia says about the Brenizer Method:

"The Brenizer Method is a photographic technique developed by photographer Ryan Brenizer. It allows for the creation of an image exhibiting a shallow depth of field in tandem with a wide angle of view by use of panoramic stitching techniques in portraiture. The method increases the effective sensor size of the camera.

The process requires the taking of multiple exposures of a scene in a manner that allows for later image stitching using a fast lens, generally of a focal length of 50mm or longer. It is also beneficial to use manual focus, manual white balance and manual shutter and aperture controls to maintain a uniform exposure across the entire set of images."

Haven Life

click image to view large

Henri Matisse Cut-Outs at Tate Modern - a sneak peek

A week or so ago I was lucky enough to pay an early visit to the Tate Modern and the hugely publicised and visually spectacular Matisse Cut-Outs exhibition.  The show hadn't opened at this point so it was a very rare opportunity to have a sneak peek at the exhibition being hung.  The atmosphere in there was really interesting - the rooms were a hive of silent activity, everybody working with quiet efficiency to put this blockbusting show together.  Thankfully I had my camera to take some reference shots of the pieces I was working on but due to the exclusivity of the show and the nature of why I was there I wasn't allowed to take documenting photographs, hence why I have only one sneakily captured shot. For those that like their art, this exhibition is more than worth a visit.  To get an insight visit: 

Bluebell Bank Holiday

It was definitely a Good Friday this weekend.  We went back to the woods to check on the progress of the bluebells and we weren't disappointed. It was a carpet of lush green and deep bluey purple with nothing to be heard but the birds happily singing away in the sunshine that was breaking through the woodland canopy.

This place has captured our hearts and was a beautiful, peaceful retreat away from the intensening Easter crowds. We hope you all had an equally lovely break.


B+K xx

Weekend Wanderings

We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful part of this green isle.  This weekend we went to look at a couple of possible wedding venues well in advance of the big day which is likely to be sometime in the summer next year.  Trying not to give too much away at this point, here are a few images of what we saw along the way trundling around Sussex in our trusty steed Daisy the Defender.

B + K xx

...oh and clicking on the images here will enlarge them - just so you know...

Homage to Wolfgang Tillmans