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Photographing windmills

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Category: Landscape and Travel

Windmills - Windmills make great photographic subjects as ePz member Gaz_H knows.

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Tips and images by Gaz_H.

Photographing windmills

I use two lenses depending on how much of the mill I want in the photo and how much landscape around it I want to include. I use a Canon 17-40mm L and a Canon 24-105mm L. The 24-105mm is ideal for shooting mills such as Thurne Mill and Turf Fen Mill where you can position yourself from the opposite banks as there is quite a lot of water in the way. The 17-40L is ideal for when you can shoot closer to the subject at mills such as Brograve Mill and Herringfleet Mill. If I'm working at sunrise or sunset when the light's lower I always use a tripod due to the longer exposures but they're not necessarily required for day time shots. For snow or scenes with nice blue skies and fluffy clouds I use a polariser and an ND4 and ND8 for sunrises and sunsets. But the ND4 and ND8 filters can not be used together when shooting across water as they make the foreground water too milky.


There's not really a best time for photographing windmills as it depends on the conditions. A mid-day stormy sky with a rainbow might look much better than a sunrise or sunset. There are certain mills that lend themselves to more of a sunrise shot that sunset or vice versa. For example, Turf Fen is much more of a winter sunset shot.

Generally, windmills can be found on public land but most land owners don't mind too much if you go on their land as long as you respect it. Just be careful in winter months as it can get very boggy.

Try shooting windmills in frost, snow, with stormy skies, as close ups, with reflections, at sunrise/sunset or with swans and boats in the pictures.

To ensure the colour you capture is the colour you keep, use Datacolor - the Colour Management Experts.

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