Sally and I made another visit to Wicken Fen earlier this week on what turned out to be an uncomfortably hot day. There is little natural shade, there was virtually no breeze and, although the hides provided some shelter, as well as being hot they were also stuffy! Not the most comfortable conditions for our third research visit, but we did our best and stayed until evening, drawing and taking photographs. By 7pm the light was glorious and golden … and the heat was finally relenting.
The Fen is still overwhelmingly green. The reeds and sedge have grown up above our heads in places so you cannot see over but are left to peer through. The leaves on the willow, alder, birch and hawthorn look dull and tired. To me, all this foliage is a barrier – it conceals the underlying structure and I find it rather uninteresting. I am impatient to see the leaves off the trees and all the greys and browns of late autumn and winter. But greenness is so characteristic of this place that I may need to make peace with it and see what I can do.
I don’t think I wrote about our second visit, but every time we’ve been so far, Sally and I seem to be drawn to the hides. We have been photographing through the holes in the walls and the slit windows. One hide has opaque plastic windows and partly conceals the view in a way that interests us. Other visitors were clearly bemused to find us kneeling on the floor pointing a camera at a hole in the wall or drawing what we could see through a closed window!
I am interested in how the hides cause you to see the Fen in sections or fragments. Pursuing this idea I took a small mirror with me this time, propped it against the window and started photographing the reflection. What really interested me though was the juxtaposition of the reflection and the view through the window – and in some cases a secondary reflection in the window too. The result is a combination of landscape fragments that is definitely something to explore further.