This is my Photo Blog detailing my adventures into the world. From exploring the waterfalls, mountains, and the beauty that is Western North Carolina, urban exploration, to anywhere my lens takes me across the country. Also visit my site The Digital Mirage

Adorama "TechTock" interview with The Digital Mirage's Walter Arnold

Adorama's Jack Howard (Author of "Practical HDRi") interviews me about my photography, techniques, workflow and other tips and tricks.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

10-15-2008 - Looming Leviathans - In Search of the Colossus

While exploring the finger lakes region of upstate NY last month my friend Andy and I went out on a mission to track down and find some windmills they had recently installed outside of Bath/Hammondsport. As we neared the area where the arrays were set up we started seeing windmills peeking over the tops of the hills all around the valley. Now I knew these things were big but I had not imagined them as massive as these were! We drove all around the valley looking for an access road or anything that appeared to lead up to the top of the hills where these giants were located.

We stumbled upon an old gravel road that went straight up a very steep hill into a large cornfield. We took a wild guess and headed up in the Prius. Judging by the incline I knew we were going to need some speed to make it up so I gassed the little car as hard as I could, kicking up rocks everywhere, we made it halfway up when the car started to slide backwards down the very loose gravel. When we stopped sliding backwards I put on the emergency brake and we rocked the car a bit to see if it would slide back or not. We hopped out and hoofed it to the top of the hill. Once we got there we realized that the windmill was still about a half mile away. These things were so big that our frame of reference in judging the distance to them was way off.

Somewhat disappointed we hiked back to the car (hoping it had not slid down the hill) and began the very scary act of backing/sliding about 200 yards back down the hill. We breathed a sigh of relief after making it down in one piece.

After driving around some more we were about to give up when Andy spotted a truck with windmill logos and two men in orange service uniforms. Jackpot! These guys would lead us to the titans! We followed them about a mile on a winding back-road.

As we crested the top of a hill the tree cover broke up and opened up to a massive section of farms and open fields littered with windmills all around! We pulled off onto the side of the road no more than 100 yards from a giant windmill in the middle of a carved out cornfield. We got out of the car and stood in awe. Never satisfied, I declared that I wanted to walk down to the base of the windmill. After a minute of debating the legality and safeness (getting shot by the owner of the land) we decided to go ahead. I don’t think I have ever felt smaller and more insignificant as I did standing at the base looking up it. It was dizzying! Even with my 10-20mm ultra wide I still had to get almost 60 yards back from the base to be able to fit the whole windmill in frame! If you look closely to the left of the base you can see Andy for a size comparison. We found one other field that day filled with barley that I took a few shots in as well. This was only one of about 3-4 adventures that day! Well worth the drive.

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Hendersonville, NC, United States
Check out my professional photography site at The Digital Mirage I post also my photos over at Flickr! Check them out