OK, actually it’s Windmill, singular, and fog…and the tree is more prominent than the windmill. But Windmills In The Mist sounded better.
As you may have seen in the news, Saturday night’s full moon was extra special. Our moon’s orbit around the earth is somewhat elliptical, so it is closer to us at certain times. When those close approaches happen to coincide with the proper alignment with the sun for a full moon, we get a “supermoon”, which appears larger than at other times. This windmill image was no accident, I used a fantastic app on my iPad called The Photographer’s Ephemeris. You can stick a pin in the app’s map and it will project lines to show you exactly where the sun and moon will rise and set on the horizon. I had a couple of ideas on where to position myself for Saturday’s moonrise, the app helped me know exactly where to be to get the image I had in mind. This app gets the Warped Prism seal of approval!
Once the moon rose high enough to become visible through distant clouds and haze, there was a remarkably short time to work. This is an HDR image processed through Photomatix, then some tweaks in Lightroom. I have a small handful of ‘keepers’, but have found it really difficult to choose what to post.
This one looked very promising. The windmill was even pleasingly aligned. But alas, the hoped for super-spectacularness did not unfold. But it was still pretty, just in a more subtle fashion than I had initially hoped.
The weather was unseasonably warm yesterday, so I decided to drive out to a local park in case the sunset was interesting. It wasn’t at first. I shot for awhile, but saw none of the pinks or reds I was hoping for. I waited a full 15 minutes after sunset, and still all I had was blues and grays. I removed the camera from the tripod, collapsed the tripod, and prepared to walk back to the car. Then I saw, through the trees on the southern horizon a little bit of pinkish clouds. Sure enough, there was some pink in a cloud to the north as well, color that hadn’t been there a minute before. I decided to wait for a minute….and quickly the sky to the west began to colorize alarmingly quickly. I set back up and shot like crazy for the 5 minutes or so it lasted. I already knew this as a guiding principle – you need to wait for awhile after sunset to see what develops. It was just that this time it really looked like nothing would happen. Wrong! Patience pays off in situations like this, don’t pack up too quickly.
Something else that is illustrated by this image is that it is possible to shoot something like this in an urban setting. The windmill is set on a small hill, which I used to block the biking path, lake, road, cars, joggers, and tall light poles beyond. Not that there’s anything wrong with those subjects, but that was not what I was after this evening. All that matters is what is in the frame.
This is a three exposure HDR, hopefully not overcooked. The only thing I could have wished different was that the bladed wheel at the top of the windmill was turned more in profile. I tried my telekinetic powers, but the thing wouldn’t budge. You can’t have everything.
This is from my film days, taken in the late 1990’s during my one and only real storm chase. The person I was with had a meteorology degree and had done this before, so I felt like I was being semi-responsible about it. (That is, until I found myself frantically jockeying a metal tripod around in the middle of multiple lightning flashes.) I fired off a few exposures of several seconds each, then got back in the car, relieved the lightning had behaved. In this particular spot everything came together visually when looking west towards the setting sun (behind the clouds.) The clouds were interesting, the foreground of fence and windmill in silhouette, lightning, and the absence of overhead powerlines. (I hate overhead power lines from a photographic perspective, although I confess to enjoying the electricity they provide.) This particualr storm cell dropped a tornado a few minutes later to the north, but we were out of the immediate area by then.
During most of my film era I shot transparencies (“slides”). For some reason now forgotten I started shooting print film for awhile, this storm was on print film. I am embarrassed to report that the original negative is lost, or at least misplaced on a long term basis. OK, it must be lost. I have every slide I ever took, but those darn negatives must have been tricky to keep organized.