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, IΒ  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.]

TheΒ 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.

25 thoughts on “Fowler ridge

  1. Wow! Leanne likes it. Zeeb likes it. I like it. It’s good. Leanne never says “brilliant”. I believe you must have just won something. πŸ˜‰ No kidding. I love this shot.

    • Thanks. That was sort of a weird photo expedition. We drove like nuts to get to this place and the sun seemed to be dropping faster than normal. Once I jumped out of the car I had less than a minute or so for images … and this was one of them. Just lucky. Thanks for your enthusiastic observations! D

  2. By the way, Dave, that data is slightly out of date. There are now 799 wind generators near Fowler and Lafayette!

    • You mean they have internet over there in the U.K.? Who would of thought! Thanks for the correction … I’ll amend the post right now. I hope you’re having a good time and learning something for good measure. D

  3. tchistorygal pointed me here, and I had just commented that a photo taken at sunrise or sunset would be dramatic, and ‘poof’ I came here and found exactly what I had envisioned .. no .. not exactly, this image is ten times better than I imagined! Great, great, post! A feast for the eyes, and a story that hits home with people who dash for sunset moments! z

    • Wow Z … I’m blushing. I’m really glad tchistorygal (aka Marsh, I think) pointed out Pairodox to you. I’m so glad. I saw your Gravatar as a LIKE and appreciated the icon … it looks like aboriginal art, is it? Anyway I’ll finish this off and take a look at Playamart. Thanks again for the positive reflection and for taking the time to click on in! Dave

  4. Pingback: Sunday Post: Natural Resources | Marsha Lee

  5. Such stiking color and design. Another small masterpiece. It’s interesting how you have juxtaposed man’s inspiration against god’s. The two work well together.

  6. This photo looks surreal! How do you do it? πŸ™‚ But all that techno talk about the camera? Right over my head. I agree with you about the wind farms.

    • ‘Techno talk’ … no …. don’t you see the darkness around the edges, especially at the upper corners? That’s called vignetting and isn’t supposed to happen when you’ve spent good money on a lens made by a well-respected company. In any case this lens was being pushed to its limits and failed in this subtle way. If I had spend quite a bit more on a similar, though fancier, lens this aberration would not have happened. Although many folks us computer software to do some real crazy things to photos I try to limit myself to manipulations in brightness and contrast. The generators and surrounding fields looked pretty much they way they are presented here. The color saturation was simply a matter of the distant rays of light hitting the surfaces at a very low angle (and passing through lots of atmosphere). I’m glad you agree about the wind farms. Folks here in PA have rejected them at almost every turn. Seems like they’d rather scar the hillsides with Marcellus Shale drill rigs. Anyway, as I pointed our before, YOU are the direct beneficiary of the Indiana wind farm industry. Every time you switch on a light you should ‘Thank a Hoosier.’ D

  7. Win win it is – all part of the overall budget. The trick is to situate the equipment where it’s wanted and, clearly, Indiana is ahead of the game. This will pay dividends.

    • Hey Maurice … thanks very much for taking the time to comment. It’s funny that you should write this evening. Just yesterday I noticed the description which accompanies your Gravatar. I was intrigued and tried to find some contact information for you. Program development specialist, E learning, author, instructional designer and developer. Very long story … I’m a university professor of biology (and have been so for 25 years) looking to switch professional gears. If you’ve got any ideas you can email me at In any case, thanks very much for your supportive words. And, you are right, Indiana seems to be well ahead of the curve. Thanks again. D

    • Hey History Gal … thanks so much for taking the time to pass along a few words – each one is appreciated. So, you’re from Indiana! We lived there for eight years. I don’t really begin to understand the negativity Pennsylvania feels toward wind power – folks here would rather scar the hillsides with Marcellus Shale drill rigs. Go figure! Glad CA has the right idea. Thanks for touching base. D

      • What part? I lived in Indianapolis. I just visited PA for the first time when I met my mom’s cousin, Hal last summer. He took me to Philly. We have our share of drilling rigs in CA, too. Some time I’ll do a post on those. They are mostly in the county south of us. πŸ™‚

        • We were in Crawfordsville; west of Indianapolis. I was teaching at a small, liberal arts college there (Wabash College). The appointment started out as a two-year stint … and somehow turned into eight. We enjoyed our time in the Hoosier State but are now happy to be living closer to family and in a part of the world where there are many more trees! Thanks for all of the likes, comments, and especially the nod to Pairodox in your own post concerning wind generators there in California. Keep-on-bloggin! D

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