Chessington VIP Photography Experience Review

Chessington VIP Photography Experience Review

When Chessington World of Adventures announced their brand new VIP Photography experience, I couldn’t resist buying this for myself and my partner. Last Sunday (1st March), we thoroughly enjoyed the whole day and are now even more keen to get out there and take photos using our SLR cameras.

After 3 sessions so far, we were in the trial phase. The whole experience is still being firmed down and finalised before an official release later on this year. Due to half the theme park being shut, we weren’t able to go down to Land of the Tigers to see the Amur Tigers or head into Lorikeet Lagoon. Whilst this was disappointing for us, it’s clear that this will be included later on this year when the park is fully open.

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SO, WHAT DID YOU DO?

The Chessington VIP Photography experience was split into a fun & jam-packed itinerary. First up was an hour brief with Sally Beard, professional photographer at The Photography Boutique, teaching us about the basics of photography and how to take professional photos of animals. This was perfect for me since it’s been well over 10 years since I was taught how to use SLR cameras at college.

Afterwards, we headed into Amazu & Penguin Cove to get ourselves used to Manual mode. This was almost a good starting point to adjust the settings for ISO, aperture and shutter speed. We had front row seats to the Animal Antics show & enjoyed spending an hour on a Safari truck, taking photos of the Giraffes & Zebras in their paddock. Definitely worth adding to the bucket list!

You’re given an hour for lunch. Don’t worry about preparing any lunch as you’ll be given a VIP lunch voucher. This entitled us to a standard meal deal at any of the available food and drink outlets at Chessington. This is great for fussy eaters who can choose their favourite F&B outlet in the park – we opted for Captain’s Fish & Chips because it was quiet.

The afternoon session was pretty much flexible with the whole group. We enjoyed walking through the Trail of the Kings, front-row view of the Sea Lion Show & grabbing some cool shots of the Otters & Reindeer. This added flexibility was great as we could take as many photos as we wanted of the animals we cared the most about. Especially when feeding time came around for the Lions & Gorillas.

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So what exactly did I learn from this VIP experience?

MANUAL MODE ISN’T SCARY TO USE

That’s right. Once you know the basics of ISO, aperture & shutter speed, the rest is pretty much simple to follow. It’s so easy to let the camera automatically adjust the settings for you. Sometimes that perfect shot can look overexposed or underexposed. With manual mode, you have complete control over how the photo looks. I’m now a changed woman and will opt for manual mode – it’s a lot easier to adjust than you think!

ANIMALS CAN BE FUNNY CHARACTERS

You’ll learn throughout this course that observing the animals can showcase their personalities. When I’ve visited the zoo at Chessington, I don’t really spend a lot of time observing the animals. Sometimes it’s a quick wander around and looking into the enclosures. Then it’s time to move on and see the next animal. Having my camera out made me think about the different angles and compositions of the photo I wanted to take. And you really see how funny the animals are, from headbutting each other to refusing to stay still!

NO PRESSURE TO TAKE LOTS OF PHOTOS

When you’re in Auto mode, it’s easy to get trigger happy and take 1000s of photos. In manual mode, you don’t take nearly as many photos. Why? Because you’ll be spending more time focusing on getting the settings right for that perfect shot. After taking each photo, I was always checking over what I took to see if the exposure was correct, my depth of field was looking sharp etc. It might take a bit more work but the finished results were amazing!

PERFECT FOR BEGINNERS, AMATEURS & EXPERTS

This course is perfect for anyone with an interest in photography. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never worked with manual mode on an SLR or you’ve taken so many professional photos that you want to branch out into animal photography, this course is designed for everyone. I would say I’m a beginner with an interest and passion for photography. Yes, there were 3 other photographers with way more experience than me (my partner included) but that didn’t stop me from doing this course.

To conclude, I’d highly recommend doing this VIP Photography experience from Chessington. It was priced at £100 per person (during the trial period) which I feel was pretty reasonable. Considering you get at least 5 hours of photography, 1-hour editing workshop & lunch included. Of course, the price & course structure will be different when the course launches later this year. Would I do it again? Almost definitely. Even if just to get some fab close up shots of the Amur tigers!

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That’s all for now!

LOTTIE TRAVELS

 

The rides which scared me as a kid

The rides which scared me as a kid

Okay, here goes. I was scared of some rides as a kid. I loved visiting theme parks with my family and always had an appetite for getting my adrenaline fix from rides. The big rides were intimidating but I always wanted to give them a go. However there were a select few rides, that I can remember in the very back of my head, that truly terrified me on my first ever experience of them. I was the kid that you would see crying to my Mum or Dad in the queue saying I didn’t want to go on. We were all like that once, right?

The Fear of the Unknown…

Now, before I crack on with this post, you may notice that a familiar theme will appear. Ever heard of the Fear of the Unknown? I had a major issue with this as a kid. Granted with my hearing loss, I didn’t truly understand the world around me so it was almost like an overwhelming feeling that would take over. This perhaps caused me great anxiety and would kickstart that Fight or Flight response. 

I had a major issue with rides that were indoors or concealed. Simply put, if I couldn’t see the ride, how was I supposed to help build the confidence to go on them? My parents dragged me through the queue line, it was an overwhelming situation. My own hearing loss made things tricky to perceive the world around me. I can confirm, I did conquer these rides which no doubt helps gives you the confidence to try out even more rides.

So here are the rides which scared me as a kid…

Credit to Memories of Thorpe Park

X:/ No Way Out (1996)

I was about 5 or 6 years old when I first ventured on X:/ No Way Out. My family & I queued for a good hour before reaching the station. I cried my little heart out. If there are any old Thorpe Park goers from back in the 90s, you may remember the ride had a pre-show section right next to the station. The doors would shut in front of you and the next thing you know; doors open, the station was empty and an empty train awaited. As a result, this put me into a meltdown and I refused to go on – so yes, Mum had to take me out via the exit because I felt so scared. I didn’t realise it was a backwards ride in the dark. The irrational fear kicked in but I conquered my fear. Honestly, I’d much rather have X back – give me those lasers and lights again Thorpe!

Credit to EastCoasterGeneral

Nemesis (2001)

Oh yes, the one and only Nemesis scared me. I was 10 years old and still trying to build up my confidence for the big B&M coasters. I was fascinated by the coaster and the way it worked into the landscape. Seeing the Nemesis monster around the station was a turning point which led me to rethink about going on the ride. I felt so intimidated by the sheer speed, inversions and the Nemesis monster theming. I couldn’t bring myself to get in the queue. In contrast to a year later, I wasn’t even phased by the ride. This was probably the turning point in my theme park enthusiast ‘career’.

Credit to British Theme Park Archives

Terror Tomb (1998)

Mummies. A man intent on stealing a jewel in a Forbidden Tomb. Snakes. Scarabs. Darkness. Couldn’t really go wrong with this dark ride being a theatrical experience. I had no idea what to expect when I first headed into the queue. I have vague memories of the ride including the intense darkness to Abdab looking very scary when he was cursed. Granted after my first ride, I wanted to go back on it. It’s weird how you can build up so much fear and emotion around a particular object or event. Then you find out it was absolutely fine and you love it.

Credit to British Theme Park Archives

Wicked Witches Haunt (1996)

Noticing a trend in this post yet? Where I was scared of rides that are concealed in a building. I only have one main memory from Wicked Witches Haunt and that was the skeleton chandelier in the station. You knew you were in for a dark and scary experience when you saw that hanging above your head. Your typical omnimover dark ride that whilst is simple in concept, add a dark overlay theme and kids will come off feeling terrified. I loved the ride once I got a bit older and was incredibly saddened when the ride was caught in the fire of 2001. A true part of Thorpe’s history in my eyes.

Which rides scared you as a kid?

Did you always enjoy theme parks & rides as a kid?

When did you start building your love & enthusiasm for theme parks?

That’s all for now!

Lottie xoxo