Thursday, 30 July 2015

The Cones of Camber Sands and some fascinating traffic cone facts

I think you probably already know that I have a bit of a cone problem.

'I see cones'

'I see cones.................EVERYWHERE.................'

I wish the Cones Hotline was still available. Set up by ex prime minister John Major in 1992, it permitted members of the public ( me) to report traffic cones being deployed for no apparent reason.

If it still existed I would be making daily calls.

In 3 years it received 'only' 20,000 calls, and was therefore disbanded as a waste of money

 Rick Wakeman, in the TV series Grumpy Old Men, mentioned it;

"I've spotted some cones."
"How many?"
"About four and a half million on the M6, doing absolutely nothing."
"Thank you for telling us."
The cones are still there.

The hotline is dead.

Cones along the roadside sport leafy  clues to the fact that they have been there far too long.

cone with hair

They even have cones in the highlands of Scotland.

cone with highlands

deep in the undergrowth

cone with grasses

and upside down cones

upside down cones

There is a series on Nickelodeon called "The Traffic Cones'

Luckily I don't have the necessary facilities required to view it.

You can purchase your own supply quite easily on the internet

They are really very reasonable.

One of my neighbours has her own.

She uses it to encourage people not to park outside her house. It seems to work, for reasons I can't quite figure. I would like to paint it pink.

Tamil Nadu pink cone

The Dull Men's Calendar has found another obsessed individual.

Polar bears like cones too.

As do grown men.

I, of course, don't actually own any cones. Or cone costumes.


Thankfully I am currently focussed on documenting the Cones of Camber Sands.

Collecting photos, not the cones themselves.

While the seawall is being reconstructed there is a plentiful supply.

Cones of Camber 1

Cones of Camber 2

Cones of Camber 3

Cones of Camber 4
Cones of Camber 5
Just a few harmless photos for now

The book and the TV series will come later.

Friday, 24 July 2015

and breathe........ fresh air, a wedding in Braemar and a visit to Balmoral

I can say it now.

We had a wedding.

My beautiful daughter got married.

It was in Scotland. In the middle of nowhere where the midges roam, and the temperature is around 10C in mid July.

It was a long drive from south London, carrying a car full of pine cones, assorted stationary, clothes for wet weather, hiking and partying, a steam generator iron and a wedding dress. Not to mention three baby fawns and the hand crafted 'confetti cones'.

three baby fawns

We covered more than a few service stations, where we bumped into Lochs and Glens coach holidays, and partook of fine dining.

Lochs and Glens

obligatory service station cone picture

old blue car getting some free parking

Overnight in Moffat for a gentle ease into a very different way of life.

doing the tartan thing

the first of many deceased animals encountered on our travels

We breakfasted on haggis and made our way to Braemar.

The weather was very Scottish, with an 'unseasonal' amount of rain. While waiting for beautiful daughter and her tall dark and handsome fiancee to arrive we decided to be tourists and visit Balmoral.


The queen arrives in August. Everything in the garden is geared to her arrival. Vegetables and flowers all designed to be ready for one month of the year. Fresh flowers in every room, every day. Vegetables from the garden.

Balmoral garden in action

the vegetable garden

the vegetable garden cone

red squirrel at Balmoral gatehouse

Beware - squirrels crossing

does the Daimler have a leak?

Scotland is very green right now. 

Ancient birches and pines in abundance.

And then there was the wedding.

A joyful affair.

I even enjoyed the ironing. I will probably never again iron tablecloths ON the table, using an extension lead and my trusty steam generator.

I will probably never again even iron a tablecloth anywhere.

And I will never again iron a brides train or three bridesmaid dresses.

My face was subjected to brushes and attention that it has never experienced before. 

I was 'made up'.

OH said I should do it every day. I thought I looked pretty odd.

It will never happen.

make up brushes

make up 

It took three attempts to wash it off at the end of the day.

The day was perfect.

It even stopped raining for the photographs.

We danced and laughed, and danced and smiled and talked and danced and were filled with joy.

Normal service was resumed the following day, and I was allowed out with my camera between family meals and parlour games.

The foxgloves are rich and and the grass lush and wet.

Ferns and buttercups in abundance.

Lush clover and long wet grass

It was a wonderful weekend in a wonderful place.

I will be back soon.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Pile up and Perish - this is no 'Life of Pi"

My new book is ready.

A response to Tamil Nadu, and the life that I saw there on the streets during one week in March.

Life on the streets of Chennai with its vast Marina beach, Pondicherry and Mahabalipuram.

Pondicherry is where the zoo was, in the film "The Life of Pi".

I went to find it, and found a very sad, unloved park, with no hint of the lush pathways seen on the screen. Digital manipulation had created something that doesn't exist.

The images in my book are about what was really there, in Tamil Nadu, in March 2015.

£5 from all sales will be donated to Scottish Love in Action as a means to give something back. It supports the education of Indian children.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

On reaching a new milestone thanks to On Landscape magazine

Forest of Dreams © Caroline Fraser

What can I say.

I feel truly honoured to have been invited to be interviewed by

On Landscape Magazine

I have finally reached the point where I feel comfortable to own up to my other life, as a doctor, and no longer feel I have to keep that quiet in relation to my photography.

I was asked to make this print ( above) as a result of the article.

It is from the forest on Deeside, near Balmoral.

It looks so much better when printed on the right side of the paper ( it took me a whole day to work out what I had done wrong.....), and is now on its way to Australia.

Now on with the many forms that need completing in order to get back to New Zealand. The flights are booked.

And there is also the small matter of eldest child's wedding in 19 days time.....

So much to look forward to.

I should probably go and do some shopping .....

only one carrot left...

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

In which my other half gets a new name, and I discover the abstract art of Agnes Martin at the Tate Modern

It is confirmed.

There will be a return to New Zealand this year.

Life is good.

Next winter will become summer, and short days will become long.

All I have to do now is find a flight around the world that takes in eldest child in Vancouver, followed by South Island, New Zealand for work and photography, on to Canberra to visit photography friends, Perth for a meet-up with my other half (OH), who happens to have business to do there, and then home again.


OH is temporarily renamed as FG ( flight guru). For it seems that he knows about flights more than those people that spend all day booking flights for people as a day job. This is a man who knows the leg length of all seats on all planes, which is the best seat to sit in, and even knows what type of plane he is on when he is on it...

As for myself, I can only tell you about the colour of the cones on the runway.

Enough said. He has been very helpful, and I am sure eventually the perfect scenario will present itself.

He has been so helpful that I might have to offer him a premium upgrade to a more appropriate term such as DB (dearly beloved). If he offers me some of his air miles, then its a done deal.

I popped up to London last week to see the Sonia Delauney exhibition at the Tate Modern.

But when I got there I got side tracked by a small poster for an exhibition by Agnes martin.

A painting.

Very geometric, simple and, to my eye, beautiful.

Agnes Martin
Friendship 1963
incised gold leaf and gesso on canvas
Museum of Modern Art, New York

So I changed my plan, and visited the Agnes Martin exhibition after a short sojourn admiring the afternoon light in the turbine hall.

turbine hall © caroline fraser

I am going to have a little moan about the policy of 'no photographs' in some art and photography exhibitions.

Photography is not allowed in the Agnes Martin Exhibition.

I decided to be obedient.

And felt faintly irritated as I watched others boldly taking photographs in the normal way that people always do in exhibitions where photography is not allowed.

between the artworks at the Tate Modern

So I cannot give you a sense of the size and impact of the large gold leaf covered canvas. Or the simplicity of the hanging in the light filled rooms. Ethereal in places.

Words don't do the job.

I am, however, allowed to share this video about her abstract paintings.

Agnes talks about her abstract work developing over 20 years, and in a film showing at the exhibition says of her abstract technique  ' it took 20 years.... every day I moved closer....'

She worked until she died at the age of 94. It was poignant to see her last big painting, with a lack of the precision of previous works; paint dripping down the canvas.

You can read more about her here

Agnes Martin
On A Clear Day, 1973

She talks about 'innocent moments' in which she stops thinking and stops responding. 'Innocent cells on a grid'.

She has commented in the past about her work;

'Its not about facts, its about feelings. It's about remembering feelings and happiness. A definition of art is that it makes concrete our most subtle emotions. I think the highest form of art is music. It is the most abstract of all art expression'


'I hope I have made it clear that the work is about perfection as we are aware of it in our minds but that the paintings are very far from being perfect — completely removed in fact — even as we ourselves are'.

In the absence of any photographs I made do with a couple of postcards.

And made my way home.

indulging my obsession with hazard warnings and the like on the way

Sometimes I feel that my images need more content. More of a narrative. More people even.

Having been to see Agnes Martin at the Tate, and reading a bit about her work processes, I  feel it is OK to carry on doing whatever feels right on the day.

Some days are definitely more abstract than others.

“Beauty is in the mind, not the eye.”

(Agnes Martin)