The ship of the fens

by Helen Hooker October. 28, 2020 670 views

I’ve visited Ely Cathedral many times before and have even played in a concert there, but have never really done it justice in my photos. Today I visited once again, with the express aim of creating a serious body of work from this glorious building.

Ely Cathedral is often known as the ‘ship of the fens’. As you drive across the flat fenland that surrounds the city it dominates the skyline and it’s immediately obvious how it came by its name.

In common with most cathedrals at this time, the nave has been cleared of most of its seating, leaving pairs of chairs dotted around for social distancing. In contrast with Lincoln Cathedral, which we visited a couple of weeks ago, Ely has elegant wooden chairs, so at least the effect is a little more photogenic than ugly plastic ones!

The standout feature at Ely is its octagonal lantern, just in front of the choir. It truly is mesmerising, and I spent far too long just gazing upwards in awe. The play of light in the building this morning was beautiful, with dappled pools of sunlight catching the stonework.

I methodically worked my way around the Cathedral, first with a wide angle lens, and my tripod for support. Naturally, for some photos the best view is found looking straight up. I’ve long since realised the easiest way to shoot these pictures is by shamelessly lying on the floor. This sparked a few amused comments today, but that wasn’t going to stop me!

Having covered everything I wanted from a wide angle point of view, I did a second leisurely circuit with a longer lens, knowing it would bring different photographic opportunities. After two and half hours, I felt I’d finally done justice to Ely Cathedral, although I could no doubt find yet more gems in this beautiful building if I went back tomorrow!

28 October 2020

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There are 7 comments , add yours!
Abigail Gossage 4 weeks, 1 day ago

A stunning set!

4 weeks, 1 day ago Edited
Sri V 1 month ago

Very ornate work. Your images have captured them wonderfully grinning

1 month ago Edited
Gethin Thomas 1 month ago

#18 Isn't it awe inspiring to think though that this lantern only got built because the original tower collapsed almost exactly 700 years ago.

1 month ago Edited
Robin Fuller 1 month ago

Fabulous photos of an awe-inspiring place. Cathedrals to me represent the epitomy of human craft/workmanship and you have captured elements of that in great detail. I have been to Ely many times in the distant past. I enjoyed the reminder through your pictures.

1 month ago Edited
Brett Johnson 1 month ago

Yes, you certainly did it justice. We spent a year in Cambridge, but, spending my entire time working we saw only a few things and photographed even less :-( Your images are very special, thank you so much for sharing them.

1 month ago Edited
Antonio Gil 1 month ago

Amazing work throughout Helen. Love this post

1 month ago Edited
Brian Scott 1 month ago

A beautiful set Helen, you've definitely done it justice

1 month ago Edited