Fowler ridge

In a previous post, which made mention of a trip to Indiana to visit friends, I said that the weather had not been good for photography. Sunset in Tippecanoe County last Friday was at 5:23 PM. My good friend Michael and I were downtown at a bike shop at around 4:30 and as we emerged from the store we looked up, saw breaks in the clouds, and thought there might be some potential for a few photos at a wind farm at Fowler Ridge. We jumped into the car and Michael put his Prius through its paces, and then some. I held on and kept telling him to slow down so as not to damage the undercarriage of his new acquisition. He would hear none of it and we arrived at the wind farm, gravel flying, at about 5:15 … 8 minutes until sunset. Because we had come to photograph the wind generators I turned my lens to the east and snapped the single frame you see below. As I raised my eye from the viewfinder I saw the illuminating rays of the sun fade, and muted light fell, like a curtain, across my subjects. Undaunted, I  turned to the west and captured a series of shots of the sunset which now framed a number of distant buildings. I hopped back into the car and Michael drove eastward and then turned to the north to position one of the mammoth generators between me and the setting sun. I squeezed off a few more frames and then turned back to the east to shoot the generators, now behind me, against a darkening sky. I was just about say that oftentimes, being in the right place at just the right time is key to good photographs … let me correct that and say that being in the right place at just the right time is always key to capturing a nice image. [To those with a critical eye, please excuse the vignetting that is clearly evident in the corners of this image. I did not take time to remove this and think that it is perhaps instructive to point out that the image was taken with Nikon’s new 24-85 mm AF-S Nikkor f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens. Tsk, tsk, Nikon.]

The Fowler Ridge wind farm is one of the largest installations of its sort in the world. It ranges over 50,000 acres and is currently comprised of more than 300 wind turbines [Correction (12/04/12). My buddy Mike just informed me that Fowler Ridge is currently populated by 799 units. Thanks Mike.] which can generate enough carbon-free electricity for nearly 200,000 homes. Indiana is one of the nation’s top three fastest-growing states in wind power generation and is ranked 13th in terms of total wind power capacity. I have heard many, here in Pennsylvania, speak negatively about wind power. For my part wind farms provide a clean source of renewable energy and allow farmers to draw an income from the rents they may charge for space for generator moorings. Seems like a win-win to me.

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