Photographer Ainsley Bennett taking photos with a camera on a tripod at night

Inspirational Islanders: Ainsley Bennett, Photographer

Born on the Isle of Wight, self-taught photographer Ainsley spent several years learning the art of watercolour painting before turning his hand to photography in 2012. He has a fascination with the night sky and has won a number of prestigious awards for his photographs of the Isle of Wight’s dark skies, as well as sunrises and sunsets from around the Island.

“I have lived on the Island all my life and its greatest appeal to me is the surrounding coastline with its stunning sandy beaches and remote rocky coves. Beautiful locations are only a short drive away and I love how the Island’s scenery changes throughout the seasons.

My favourite location on the Island has to be the southern coast around St Catherine’s Lighthouse. Being a landscape astrophotographer this area has some of the darkest skies in the UK, free from light pollution, the views of the Milky Way and constellations never fail to impress me. During summer weekends I love to spend time on the west coast beaches such as Freshwater Bay and Totland with their crystal clear waters ideal for snorkelling.

My fondest memory growing up on the Island as a child is my time ‘messing about on the river’ with my friends in the middle reaches of the River Medina catching fish in nets such as sticklebacks, stone loach and bullheads.

If I only had an hour on the Island I would probably go for a walk looking for the recently released white-tailed eagles that were reintroduced in 2019 as part of a five-year project to bring them back to England. They are truly magnificent birds that are so awe-inspiring every time I see them.”

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