Since coming back from Iceland in the Summer I haven’t been out much with my camera. Aside from an unproductive weekend in the Peak District where I had missed the best of Autumn I hadn’t even turned my camera on for two months. This coincided with a very busy time both in and out of work, so there was little time for photography. Around two months ago I moved from London up to Cambridge. After living in London for three years I had enough of the tube, the noise and the lack of outdoor space, but moving house always consumes a hell of a lot of time. Viewings, the actual process of moving, finding furniture and settling in takes up weekend after weekend. Each weekend where I had some time the weather tended to be unsuitable with grey featureless skies.
One other reason was that I simply don’t know the place where I now live. Though I was aware there are no huge mountains or deep canyons in Cambridgeshire I wasn’t aware of how little there was around. Searches on flickr and 500px to identify anything vaguely interesting were pretty much a dead end, aside from the usual photos of the university and the river that runs through Cambridge. A quick look on Google maps yielded nothing more than fields, fields and more fields.
Now, challenging myself to do something other than just go round collecting compositions of the iconic locations like Durdle Door and the Quiraing is something I continue to try to do. However after not really having much time or luck with photography since I went to the US back in May it would be nice to have something to get your eye in with. No such luck.
So where to start? If I had time to wander around the fens day in day out there are probably some great shots to be had somewhere, but with only the occasional weekend to take photos it would take me six months to produce one photo I liked. Instead, I started looking for forests to try and take advantage of the trees breaking up the seemingly never ending fields.
Thetfort Forest was around an hour’s drive from Cambridge. I made a quick trip there one Sunday afternoon but I didn’t find it too exciting. It’s definitely worth further exploration though as a two hour trip barely scratches the surface.
Last weekend the weather forecast promised thick fog. I’ve been waiting for a long time for this as I love the feeling that fog or mist brings to a photo, so I started my search again to see what I could find in the area. In the end I saw a small forest called Westbriggs Wood about an hour North, towards Kings Lynn. There was no information to tell me if it was promising or not, or even accessible. Either way, at 6am the next morning I decided to head off to find out for myself.
I half expected another failed trip with nothing to show for it. In the end I spent 4 1/2 hours in the forest, wandering round trying out different compositions, seeing where the paths went. The trees varied from birch to beech to pine to larch. I couldn’t have been happier. The majority of shots I came back with didn’t work. After going so long without taking a photo I found myself, essentially, out of practice. However I certainly bagged a few that I am very happy with.
The fog was a crucial element though. I imagine if I went back today with the grey cloud once again determined to spoil my weekend I would get nothing.
Luckily, for once, it was a case of right place right time.
Until the fog comes back I guess I will be confined to searching Google maps for that undiscovered glacier or rock arch in the Cambridgeshire countryside.