Wicken Fen bathed in Evening light, a favourite place to sit and watch the long summer days draw to a close.
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Some memories of Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire
Back out after an enforced indoor spell due to a badly burnt foot. Fuji stayed locked up for the most part with the iPhone, and various applications, getting a good run out.
Perfect overnight conditions meant for a pretty spectacular misty morning spent on the Cambridgeshire Fens.
The National trust have created, over may years, a stunning Butterfly Trail. Armed with my Macro kit I headed down for a mornings amble around.
I best come clean straight away. The Barn Owl is fast becoming my favourite bird. Sorry Mr Kingfisher, your time at the top of my tree is perhaps coming to an end. There's just something very majestic about watching them hunting silently over the fields and thankfully, given their well documented troubles, a sight I see more and more in these parts.
When I spot one, quite often at first at a distance, rather than attempting to get up close on my own steam, I let the Barn Owl come to me, bag hide over and hunkering down. I can feel my heart beat rise in anticipation. This doesn't always work of course (it's not as if I've dressed myself as a large tasty vole and laid out prone ready to be eaten) however, with a little patience, it can reward you with some close encounters. The ease and gracefulness at which it moves low over the fields twisting and turning at will. Then all of a sudden dropping down into the grass to hopefully pickup a meal.
Of course no matter how well you think you are hidden the Barn Owl pretty much always knows you are there, but then again this allows for those piercing eyes to meet yours. A moment which, despite happening on increasing regularity, still has the hairs standing on the back of my neck.
Click on the image below to scroll through a couple more from the morning. The light was pretty shocking but that, in my opinion, should NEVER stop you from photographing these iconic birds. Actually poor light should never stop you photographing wildlife full stop. I'd far rather have images of wildlife in poor light than no image at all.
All images shot on the Canon 7D MKI II with the Canon 400mm f/2.8 lens. All images around 1/000 second, f/3.2 and ISO between 640 and 1000. With the crop sensor on the 7D MK II the 400mm lens becomes a 640mm equivalent - one of the main reasons I decided to add the 7D MK II to my kit. While I try and not use the extender too often it also means the 2x can get me at around 1200mm, albeit with the lose of 2 stops (f/5.6).
A shoot from a few weeks back while down at Burwell Fen. I absolutely love the Fens when the conditions are such. It really does add some mystery and moodiness to the place. Add to that the braying of the Konik Ponies across the wide open spaces, the Ghost of the Fens (the Barn Owl) silently drifting low over the reed beds and the feeling of solitude as you look out and realise that you may be the only person for miles around. Perfection. All images shot on the Fuji XE2 with the Samyang 12mm. Processing in Silver FX Pro 2 with a custom built filter, aptly named A Misty Burwell Morning.
Hope you enjoyed my little stroll around Burwell Fen. Don't let seemingly unfavourable weather stop you from venturing outside. I feel it's at times like these the Fens really do show their wonderful character.
Spent a good few hours down at Burwell fen [dawn and sunset] yesterday. Such different conditions, with a heavy fog engulfing the place in the morning, and a beautiful tranquil sunset bathing everything in rich golden light by evening. One of the things I love about Burwell Fen are the Konik Ponies, especially on atmospheric misty mornings. Their calls sweeping across the vast openness, adding a sense of wildness to the place.
They are pretty friendly and despite getting sneezed on a few times it was wonderful to spend 30 minutes with them as they had wandered over to the fence to check me out.
They are the perfect subject for some Fisheye fun [Shot on the Samyang Fisheye 8mm] although the one above came a little too close which helped with the distortion of the face. It was shortly after this image was taken I got a little wet (and green). I think one was perhaps getting a little too excited about the conditions.
All images shot on the Fuji XE2 - the top one with the Toy-Camera (in camera) setting. The other two are pretty much direct out of camera jpg shots.
Booming Bitterns, Cuckoos Calling, Barn Owls hunting silently though the mist. What a fantastic tonic for the soul.
Beautiful conditions earlier in the year down at Burwell Fen - a location I hope to spend a heck of a lot more time at over the coming months.
It can be quite difficult to frame a half decent landscape photo in the this part of the world, with lots of flat open space. Then again that also appeals to me from the challenge point of view as the landscape, in these parts, is quite unique and can uncover something different than the normal landscape photographs we see. Certain conditions, especially with the shapes of the clouds, can make for some nice big sky photography.
Shot with the Fuji XE2 and Samyang 12mm combo - my goto combo for landscape photography. I also just picked up a RRS 55 Ball Head and L-Shape bracket and am really looking forward to using these two in my Fuji landscape adventure going forward.
I don't enter many photographic competitions - in fact my most recent entry to the Mammal Photographer of the Year was only my second attempt, ever. My first attempt was to the British Wildlife Photography Awards, in which I had a few images put through to the first shortlist, but no further. I came across the Mammal competition a few weeks previously and thought I'd give it go as I really liked the look of some of the shortlisted entries from previous years. Of course, as usual, it was a last minute rush job to send out my chosen entries which was further complicated by being up in the Highlands of Scotland on deadline day. I tell you, I think my internet connection was being hooked into a piece of string that evening.
Anyway, while I didn't win, one of my images was shortlisted (final 20) and has since gone on to get some reasonably nice exposure in the British press. Quite nice to get a wildlife shot in the papers rather than one of a footballer. It's the Roe Deer leaping though the Frozen Cambridgeshire Fenland as pictured below from The Times.
Getting shortlisted was very nice, but what has been most pleasing is that from all of the images that I submitted 4 (out of 5) were taken on what I like to call My Local Patch - an area of wildlife within 15 miles of my home. This particular one was taken on Burwell/Wicken Fen - an area that I am fast growing to absolutely love. The other thing that encouraged me was that two folks I know also were shortlisted, one in fact gaining the runner-up spot. Well done to Ben and Iain.
Head on over to their FaceBook page to see the 20 shortlisted entries. I think my favourite, for obvious reasons, is the Hedgehog. More encouragement on my Wildlife Photographic journey and certainly I may consider further entires in photographic competitions going forward.