Windmills, they conjure up so many images of rural life, past (perhaps) less stressful times...and also of Spanish Knights charging across La Mancha. Although the UK may not be as famous for its windmills as The Netherlands or those made legendary by Don Quixote, there are still some fine examples around that date back to the 17th century. I've had the chance to visit a few, in the country of Buckinghamshire, near the villages of Brill and Pitsone, the present windmill at each location dating back to 1680s and 1627 respectively. This information comes from the Brill village website. According to this site, Brill is one of "dozen or so 17th century 'post-mills' still standing, (Pitstone Windmill, also in Buckinghamshire, [...] is believed to be the oldest windmill in Britain.) A post-mill is a mill in which the whole structure revolves around a central post in order to face the wind."
The history around them, and the sad fact that most are no longer in use, makes a windmill a wonderful photographic subject. Close up, almost abstracts, of the structure could work, but I for one prefer to locate the structure in its location...to give the full pastoral scene as it were, and a sense of place.
These two mills are in my mind typical of the British windmill in style, they're what I think of if someone says 'windmill'. It's interesting to see images from across the world to see how the design changes from country to country. Just do a search on a photo sharing site like Flickr to see a wide range of examples.
A family day out to Brill windmill and I was lucky enough to catch a range of weather. On arrival it was dark, cloudy and overcast, but during my hour or so in front of the mill, the weather changed to bright blue sky. It gave great opportunities for some long exposure shots.
Brill Windmill, f/8, 20secs, 18mm, ISO400 (Big Stopper used)
My visits to Pitstone have been less planned, usually as a drop in on the way past after having travelled to another location, sadly the only time I have been able to take images was with a background of bright high cloud, this shot is looking west-ish...a fantastic vantage point with a sunset behind. Maybe one day!
Pitstone Windmill through the Barley ears, f/11, 1/400, 85mm, ISO400
There are many more fine examples of windmills across the UK, maybe not as internationally well-known as some, but they definitely are a quintessential part of British rural heritage. A dozen or so, reported the Brill site, could it be a mission to photograph them all?
Do you have any windmill images? Please share links to your shots.
The Frustrated Photog.