A Windy Day on I-65N

Wind farm
Meadow Lake Wind Farm, Wolcott, Ind. | Canon 5D Mark II and 70-200mm f/4L IS lens with circular polarizer | Exposed 1/13 sec. @ f/20, ISO 50 (+2/3 EV)

This past Sunday, as I was driving up I-65 North through Indiana on my way up to Racine, Wisconsin, I came upon the Meadow Lake Wind Farm.  I exited off the interstate and pulled into the parking lot of a gas station and Dairy Queen in one (where else can you can get dip cones with a faint aroma of gasoline?) and was impressed by the imposing structure of the wind turbine directly in front of me.  It was about 4:00 in the afternoon (Indiana is on Eastern time) so to help the color I screwed on my circular polarizer.  The sun was coming from about 90 degrees, so I knew I could get optimum polarization if I wanted it, but I really only wanted a touch.  It’s easy to make the sky turn blue-black if you’re not careful!  The tricky part was conveying a sense of movement.

My tripod was packed away in the trunk of my car, so I braced myself against a car door and switched to shutter speed priority.  I knew this would mean that a slow shutter speed, in broad daylight, could only be achieved with a low ISO and a tiny aperture.  The polarizing filter was already helping by knocking the light back two stops, so a small aperture would finish the job.

Thing is, while the 5D Mark II has built-in sensor cleaning, it’s also the camera that I use the most, and I knew that it had some dust spots that needed to be cleaned off.  So, to get a slightly less dust-revealing aperture (originally f/32), I knocked the ISO down to 50.  Now, if only the wind turbines in the background had been slowed down enough to show that they were moving, too!

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