It was a nice, sunny morning. I was roaming the county roads, checking out spots I’d marked in my GPS long, long ago. There were some targets of opportunity I’d marked but never had the chance to actually photograph. This was one of them: a windmill which has seen better days, yet is still standing tall.
I always find little extra bonus items on these roaming trips, and today was no exception. It’s amazing how sometimes I can spot something that I swear I must have driven past at least a handful of times, but which has obviously been there all along. That was the case with this windmill.
The moon wanted to get into the picture. I wish the angle would have been better to break out the telephoto and cheat the perspective to make the moon appear larger in this shot, but I just didn’t have physics on my side that day.
I love to roam. As things start changing for Autumn, I’m now faced with a primal urge to get out and chase stuff with my camera, investigate things I’ve mapped for future photo jaunts, and make the best of the time before the trees become barren and the landscape a dull gray. Winter has its own opportunities, but September is my favorite. Hopefully, although my schedule is absolutely stacked, I can make the most of it.
I first noticed this windmill along, long time ago. I’ve never gotten a close look at it, though, because there have always been cattle on the land where it sits. Among the rules I have for my photo hobby are tenets like obeyance of No Trespassing signs, not entering old structures (out of safety and respect), and avoidance of disturbing livestock at all costs. So I’d always just continue on down the road.
This particular windmill is being encroached upon from all sides as new neighborhoods continue to be developed in every direction. They’re awfully close at this point, which leads me to believe that at some point this windmill will disappear just as some of my other favorites have. Thankfully, after an evening of playing with the kiddos (and every water snake and frog they could catch and collect) at the lake nearby, I was able to get a closer look without causing a disruption.
Even now, this is pretty much the only angle available, unless one wants a highway or someone else’s backyard. It was sufficient. I got a little bit of a sunset, although I had to push the colors a bit. Those darn horizon clouds always snatch the sunset away early! As you can see, the head of this windmill has seen far better days. Regardless of its physical condition, however, I think it’s inevitable that it’ll be gone in the not-so-distant future. Unless the cows or their owner say otherwise.
After seeing so many of my counterparts out roaming and getting great cloud and storm shots, I finally decided to defy Dave Ramsey and blow some gas money with my boy. We took our cameras out for a couple of hours and had a great time! This is how our evening started, and it only got better from there. More to come…
Shoegazing is a style of music from my beloved 1980s, basically because the artists would stare downward with appropriate angst while belting out their melodies on stage. I could not ascertain what this windmill was focused on, but I doubt it had anything to do with Slowdive or My Bloody Valentine.
There are actually a few decrepit windmills in Bluegrass, ND, but the remnants of the little town are encroached upon by subsidy-sucking wind turbines on all sides. I stopped to grab a quick old-vs-new shot during my most recent drive past the remains of this ghost town.
This windmill caught my attention while I was out roaming recently, and – unlike many of the windmills I encounter – it was actually near the road so I could quickly get a nice photo of it. It seems these things are vanishing at a quickening pace; even ol’ standbys are falling to the ravages of time and North Dakota weather.
This one actually sits in a yard along with an old farmstead. There are cattle on the land, which is probably why the lawn appears to be mowed. It’s sad to see another casualty of time here, but fascinating nonetheless.
One more windmill in the casualty category. This one actually isn’t too far from my property. I took off a little early on Friday and roamed for an hour or so before finding this shot. I’d played around in the river bottoms a bit, but didn’t find the inspiration I was looking for. Thankfully I came upon this shot, although it’s too bad that the windmill is so badly damaged.
Yesterday’s storms missed my family’s abode, but they did cause plenty of excitement east of Bismarck-Mandan. I took the opportunity to venture out with my boys and my new used truck to see what the clouds were doing. Thankfully they obliged – I caught this shot not far northeast of Bismarck. Wow. I also got some cool video, but I don’t have time to post it just yet. Maybe I’ll update the post later.
This old windmill, weathered as it is, has probably seen quite a few storms roll through. It looks as though it’s probably been battered by them, too. Is there any wonder why I’m so attracted to this feature of the North Dakota prairie?
It’s no secret that the photos have been fewer and farther between for quite some time now. First I and every single member of our family had major health issues to deal with. Then after we circled the wagons and worked on treatment and healing we took on building a new house, and still have lots of thing in bins and a new Garage Majal to get whipped into shape. Additionally, my little kids have grown up to a point where they want more Dad time (not as much “Daddy”) and I’ve had a hectic freelance schedule. Whew.
Well, I decided to knock off a little early on Friday and actually head out with my camera and some new gear I purchased with some of the aforementioned freelance money. I didn’t want to make a major voyage out of it, but just work the outskirts of town and let the stress of the week melt away. What better way to get back into the game than to go with my trademark: windmills! I found a trio of ’em.
I have photographed these before, but they do change over time. This one has lost more than half of the blades but is still standing tall. I chose not to remove the power lines in the background this time.
A wider shot may have portrayed this windmill standing alone in a vacant prairie better, but in reality there was a pole just out of the frame on the left where power comes in…presumably some sort of stock tank heater or something. The lettering on the vane (yes, that’s what it’s called) says “R. R. HOWELL CO MINNEAPOLIS”. It’s an interesting Google search if you have time on your hands.
Sunset came quickly, and I once again cashed in on the real Secret of My Success when it comes to photography: being in the right place at the right time, often due to absolute blind luck. I had a couple of minutes to wait for the sun to set in the silhouette of the water tank next to this windmill, adjusting my tripod to the side periodically to track the sun as it slid down and to the right of the frame. The way it reflected off the wispy clouds above added to the feel of the shot.
It felt SO good to be out roaming again. I didn’t even have a potential target when I set out; I just settled on windmills after coming upon the first one. It was simply therepeutic to get out and start clicking photos again. All the while I had a Nick Lowe song repeating in the back of my head:
I am determined for my own sanity to get out with my cameras more. Maybe not as much as in the old days, because I want to be a good husband and dad. Bringing the kids with on my photo trips will help, and maybe even kindle in them a love of roaming photography. Meanwhile I hope to have more to share than simply political rants, which don’t take much road time at all. Back to my love of North Dakota and sharing it online. Maybe the next song going through my head will be Back in the Saddle Again!
For a while, windmills ad nauseum could have been my motto. Then I backed off for a while. They’re still one of my favorite distinctive features of the North Dakota landscape, far better than oil field equipment. This one has seen better days, but I think that adds to its charm. The overcast day captured the mood nicely.