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The Fens, The land That Time Forgot
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Where on earth do I start, or is this place really on earth?, where's Mulder and Scully from the X-files when you need them, but even this place would confuse them!
Let's try and make a start, and I'm were born in Wisbech and grown up in the Fenland, so before some people start jumping down my throat with what I'm about to say I know this place better than most. You will read that facts with no sugar coating every from me.
Fenland life is unlike any other place I have ever seen or lived. I once lived in Norwich, Kings Lynn and Bedfordshire. I'm a person who likes to see what's going on in and around the areas I have lived here.
Life in Norwich and Bedfordshire seemed felt like another world, there were places to go, walking, forests, lakes and great shopping and people would talk and look happy (now you thinking? Kate this is normal life). But in the Fens it is the opposite, you only see dog walkers walking along the roadsides, you don't see people out walking enjoying the countryside and if you do its one person a year. The Fens has hardly anywhere to go hiking or to go out for a day out, we have some beautiful churches and a few old streets in some of the towns, but that doesn't want to make a person move here and spend the rest of their lives walking the same road!
The people I have met over the years will mostly say the same things. Aren't this place flat and bleak and where is all the wildlife.
Growing up here has been hard work and far from the normal when it comes to working lives. My family originates from Tydd St Marys Lincolnshire where there was a family of 9. Families often had many kids, not for family life but to working, a production line so to speak. All were working the land from the ages of just 6 and from sunup to sundown seven days a week. Even in my lifetime, I had to work on the land in the 1970s and 80s, our lives were hard very hard and made you as hard as nails too.
Since a child, I have been interested in art, used to draw often, black and white pencil. At school, the teacher took it upon himself to call me a cheat because of my skills at such a young age, and that is one of the reasons I left school at sucha young age. Being called a cheater by someone who doesn't know you are demeaning and makes you want out. After that, I stopped drawing but found photography and found out I can document my world as I pleased.
Well art can be had here even if you a hater like me but what does this crazy place offer.
When The weather turns bad; it is time to get off that sofa, grab the camera and get out there. With mist and fog, it turns this place into an older world instantly. Forget Photoshop; this is real life suddenly jumping back in time just because the skies have gone whiteout. The best conditions are when there's wet weather with a light mist and the greyed out or whiteout skies, and this tends to be the most photographic times.
On rare occasions the weather sounds off with thunderstorms, these are rare here, and we are lucky to get one or two per year. When they do come, the storm chasing begins, watching the storms across the country or come up from France. I know these will often pack some power. It is for me the coolest, most fun and the frilling thing I will do all year long. Knowing you going into dangerous weather is a buzz. I have seen some crazy stuff in the 20 odd years I have been chasing. Just the clouds on their own are, and I always hope to see a tornado. as you can see by the photos, it is mother nature at her most stunning, the clouds helps so much for this countryside and makes the shots.
In a nutshell, to photograph the Fens, you need to work along side mother nature. You need to get out when the weather turns nasty. It does offer colour photos, but these are harder to find and will often lead to frustration. I often tell people, if you can photograph the Fens they can photograph anything. It takes a real artistic eye and one that's willing to put the work in and jump out that photography box and don't think like a photographer as that will get in your way.
If you come here and expect to see nature and loads of wildlife then you in for a shock and now you are screaming at me stating but what about Wicken Fen and Welney wash nature reserves, Kate! Well let me tell you, they are not the real world but one that once was hundreds of years ago, they are not ever day places, not places you see from your car window! And you can see that but the amount of wildlife that lives in those places. Birds that you will never see out in the standard countryside, insect thats only in those nature reserves. The real world is shocking compared to these fake worlds that once was. Yes, it is brilliant for wildlife and somewhere for them to cling on to life but its humans that have caused these issues. Why you never see me at those paid places, they are just not reality, and I have to show the natural world, both the beauty and ugly side of it, someone has too.
People often tell me that they didn't know you could photograph the Fens and it does open their eyes to some of the issues which is what I'm here for and to have sales around the world is lovely and sadly so many people have never heard of this place even within the UK. It is that forgotten.
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