“Winter in the Cambridgeshire Fens” by Paul Constable

I live in an area of the UK called the Fens located in East Anglia. It is extremely flat and has very dark, peat soil. The land has been reclaimed from the sea and is very similar to The Netherlands. In fact, it were Dutch engineers that drained the area in the first half of the 17th Century. It is, for the most part, featureless arable land which makes it challenging as a landscape photographer, however, it shows its true beauty in the winter when the trees lose their leaves and there can be fog that lasts all day. The atmosphere can be incredible.

I have had my eye on this composition for a while and I have been waiting for the right conditions to photograph it. A few days ago, the weather forecast looked perfect, so I headed out into the Fen before work to see if I could make the photograph I have had in my mind. This photograph needs fog, it would not work without it, as there is a hedgerow and some more trees behind the ones in the photograph, that have been obscured by it. These are very distracting normally and the image completely loses its impact when you can see them! The trees also need to have shed their leaves as they are far more interesting without them! The crops in the fields on either side of the road need to have been harvested as well or the image becomes too busy.

This image to me epitomises the stark, melancholic, beauty of the area that I live in during the winter. I love the simplicity and symmetry of the image and monochrome accentuates this even further.

What do you think are the TWO most impactful features that make your image a good photograph? Don’t be shy!

The symmetry of the image created by the road in the foreground which is a very obvious, powerful leading line to the star of the show, the line of trees diffused and silhouetted in the fog.

If you would be able to make this photo once again, what would be the ONE thing you would like to do better or different?

I shot his image as a single frame and composed it at 16 x 9 in-camera, as I was pushed for time. Unfortunately, I had to be at work 30 minutes after I shot this! I’d like to go back, if I get the right conditions again, and shoot this as a proper panorama, trying different focal lengths to see if can create more impact with the road leading in. I have to say though, I’m very happy with this image as it is.

Paul Constable shared this photograph in the FRAMES Facebook Group.


Paul Constable, Ely, UK


Equipment and Settings

Nikon Z7, Nikkor 24 – 70mm F4 S at 32mm and f11.
The image was processed in Lightroom and Photoshop CC.

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Comments (4):

  1. Jaffer Bhimji

    December 29, 2020 at 22:39

    Thank you so much for the background information about the image, smashing picture indeed!

  2. Elaine Taylor

    January 9, 2021 at 10:18

    What a beautiful moody image. Perfect conditions!

  3. Nigel Walker

    January 14, 2021 at 15:47

    I lived in East Anglia for four years and this image captures the winter mood perfectly. Great shot 🙂

  4. Rita

    January 26, 2021 at 10:07

    I was lucky enough to see Don McCullins landscapes exhibition before the lockdown, I don’t like making comparisons but hopefully you will appreciate this one, your work reminds me of his, and as I adore his work, hopefully you won’t mind.


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