Approximately 16 miles outside of Cambridge is a national trust nature reserve called Wicken Fen. We arrived at about 3pm with my idea being to set up for a sunset image of the wind pump. These wind pumps were used to help drain the Fens in a similar manner to the techniques used by the dutch, and are partly why the netherlands are so famous for their windmills! The draining of the Fens is a really interesting story and you can read more here.
Wandering around the nature reserve and up the board walk brought us to a bird watching hide. Unfortunately nothing of interest was actually going on and I didn’t have time to spend waiting there for bird photographs as sunset was around 5:15. So we wandered off up the nature trail. To say that we were under prepared for marshland is an under statement. I guess the clue is in the name “Fen” but still, that place is boggy! We attempted to make it up one of the dirt tracks only to be blocked by a some pretty deep water and mud, and with Candice nor or having Gum boots (and a rental car!) we decided to turn around and stick to the board walk. That’s when I saw a huge barn owl swoop from the trees (no photo sorry). Such a majestic creature though and for the rest of the evening we saw a couple flying high searching for prey. Just after the barn owl we saw a Muntjac Deer. Look at him, he is so adorable! He was bouncing up and down the path about 100 meters away from us. In fact I think there were several deer with only really one being spotted at any one time.
Candice decided she didn’t want to stand in the cold while I took sunset photos so she kept on the board walk trail. I, on the other hand, decided to head to the wind pump to set up for what I hoped would be a big reveal. The day was fairly cloudy but sometimes all you need to be is patient and a burst of light at the right time can really make a photo. Unfortunately I was out there for over an hour watching the light and that cloud would not budge. There was no colour and no interest in the sky. As I was setting up I tried a few different things with focal lengths and lenses. Due to the lack of interest from the sky at any part of sunset, I was happiest with this image converted to black and white from the 70-200.
I guess this means I need to go back and try again.
Kudos to Hertz car rental though for the cheap car for the weekend. No sponsorship here, they’ve just been the best deal and I’ve used them twice now.
All in all Wicken Fen is a great place to go and see some wildlife and I highly recommend spending an afternoon there. I wouldn’t go during the school holidays if you want to enjoy a peaceful wildlife experience as kids tend to be noisy, but during normal days I’m sure it would be much quieter.