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Kate's blog The Fens Cambridgeshire UK, life in the flat lands
The Fens and photography
Watching TV I would have noticed stunning places and nature from around the world but would look at the Fens and see endless fields. Soon noticed the rule of 3 rds and many of the so-called rules in the art may well not work here. So out the window went any thoughts of staying in the normal photography box, started to work on my own feelings and soon found my feelings suited different styles with my hate towards the Fens blandness making for moody B&W. Weather conditions are just perfect for my feelings. Fog with architecture is such a great match.
Life in the badlands
If you looking for life here then you may well be shocked, it's such a bland place that you may well think it's another world, Mars may well have a life lol.
Even the weather is dull and being in the east we don't get the extreme weather like other parts of the UK, if you into weather photograph (like me) then this place will bore you stupid. The Fens is a strange place with many people having little interest in life, for someone like me it's a hard life with constant driving just to go walking, with a 44 mile round trip just for a quick walk, the nearest place for me to walk is Sandringham. Photography in The Fens is all about the here and now, making use of the conditions is the key to success, you may be lucky and get a handful of shots per month.
On some mid-winters day, I will find something that stands out and this day Just happened to spot this old barn frozen in time almost, standing against what is a very normal and bland view of the Fenland landscape. The old barn stands just outside the village of Gorefield and 4 miles from home.
How the weather can change, from thick freezing fog to cloudy within minutes, with the sun just starting to hide behind the clouds it gave a far more atmospheric shot.
Using my canon 7d mk2 with the wide angle lens, it gives a great atmosphere to what would normally be a useless shot, the frosty conditions just add to the mood for me. Photography in the Fens is far better when the conditions are moody.
Landscape shooting here can work well with longer lenses, due to the lack of foreground interest zooming in often works extremely well. going for a layered style DOF with tight focus gives a great sense of interest.
Rare colour moments
For those rare colour moments, it's the mornings or sundown, the blandness can be fine by using the classic silhouette style which dulls the not so cute fields down. With those big skies, it can look dramatic sometimes.
Wide angle lens with lens Lee filters, the 100 system.
Around the Marsh wash nature reserve Lincolnshire and along the river, Nene to Sutton Bridge may well be the best part of the Fens. The two lighthouses and the old Crosskeys swing bridge are no doubt our star attractions.
Sir Peter Scott's lighthouse on the left and Guy's head to the right. with Sandal (general cargo ship) heading towards the Port of Wisbech in Cambridgeshire.
A Day I may never see again
A late summers storm 2016 over the Fens was something so rare yet so stunning, this massive storm Undulatus asperatus formed over most of the Cambridgeshire and most of East Anglia, it's cloud formations was simply jaw-dropping. Throughout my life, I have never seen anything like it and normally see a storm like this when watching storm chasing programs from the midwest USA around tornado alley.
The main part of the storm didn't hit where was but formed over us and gave a full 360-degree view with small heavy shower breaking out all around, The clouds looked like waves in the sea. It's a pity the Fens doesn't get more storms, with the wide open spaces it is ideal for storm chasing yet sadly we get one to two storms per year, Can see storms coming from about 20 miles away and at night can see lightning high in the sky which would be around 50 miles away. When using rain and lightning detection apps it adds to the drama, trying to track storms is fun and still hoping to see a tornado one day.
Lightning photography isn't as hard as it seems, just a tripod, camera set to bulb mode, cable release. Lenses can be wide or long lenses, depending on how far the storms are away. if lightning is at distance, ISO 400-800 at F8. timing is key, if the storm is a lazy one then try and count between strikes, when you know that open the shutter and if it strikes out of shot, put your hand over the lens to block any light of a few seconds, this stops unwanted light getting to the sensor.
With storms that are very active and closer, do the same about but iso from 100-400 at F11, remember lightning is bright and you don't want to blind the sensor.
Always watch the rain bands, they are where the lightning will come from, the leading edges but be very aware when these are nearly over your head, you are a target, I've been 50 feet from lightning. it's one crazy experience, the sound and the light is truly insane, it knocked me flat on my backside, so respect mother nature or it will bite you!!