Windmill Hill From Many Angles

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‘A good photograph is knowing where to stand ‘   Ansel Adams

This week Patti at Lens-Artists wants us to think about changing our perspective as we compose our shots. She prefaces her post with this very helpful quote from the great Ansel Adams. It’s certainly a tip worth chalking up in VERY BIG letters on the memory blackboard.

Of course there can be other options –  lying down for instance, which is what I was doing to take the header photo. Then there’s the matter of choosing the time of day, which will then affect where you stand (or lie). Different seasons may well provide new angles. And also the setting of your chosen subject. So with these notions in mind I thought I’d post a gathering of my Windmill Hill photos, taken over the last few years.

Of itself, the windmill is a rather underwhelming subject, and I have ended up taking masses of very flat looking photos. I have discovered that it helps to get beneath it somewhat, whether lying down or finding a good spot further down the hill. I’ve also found that late afternoon light can produce a bit more interest – even mystery. This next photo is my Wenlock version of Daphne Du Maurier’s thriller tale Don’t Look Now. Who is that swiftly retreating little figure in the gloaming?

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Here’s one of the more ‘obvious’ shots. The cloudscape and perhaps also the sun/shadow on the stonework add the main interest:

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Another thought is that even when you’ve fixed on a particular subject, it’s always good to scout around it, to see what else might catch your eye/have some bearing on the composition. E.g. one of the important things about Windmill Hill, besides the windmill, is the fact its hill is an ancient limestone meadow – a rare escapee from the effects of industrial agriculture. So come early summer I’m often lying down, in the next photo among the pyramid orchids, soapwort, white clover and yellow ladies bedstraw. There’s an added benefit too – the close quarters inhalation of bedstraw fragrance. Aaaah! No wonder it was used in mattresses for women brought to bed during childbirth.

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And in late summer my eye is on the knapweed and the great array seeding grasses:

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Midsummer sundown

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And then there are the autumn shots. A few years ago a bunch of small horses used to be brought in at summer’s end to graze the meadow. Then sadly their owner could no longer keep them and they had to be sold. For the past two years the Windmill Trust has had the hill mown and harrowed instead. This new approach has created a massive increase in orchids:

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Winter:

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And then there are the views from Windmill Hill:

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Bunking off games? The William Brookes School is at the foot of the hill.

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Windmill Hill can be a very sociable place. It’s a favourite spot for Wenlock’s dog walkers. There are other gatherings too: windmill open days, summer orchid counting; and in the next photo we are gathered during a solar eclipse when the world turned very still and cold and ethereal:

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Last but not least, here are some long-distance views from Townsend Meadow behind our house. The final photo also shows the oil seed rape in full bloom and a corner of the William Brookes School:

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Lens-Artists: Change Your Perspective

 

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53 thoughts on “Windmill Hill From Many Angles

  1. This is absolutely fabulous, Tish. You have really mastered “working the shot” from a variety of perspectives. Your use of the foreground/background, lighting, contrast, and perspective are great!

  2. I think you covered it all, Tish! Beautifully done – and a beautiful place on earth. I must say I loved those horses in monochrome, the high grasses and their manes flowing in the wind.

      1. We have had a bit too much of wind lately, but during my four days in Umeå, with my daughter, we had NO wind. Unbelievable.

  3. Thanks for the lovely lesson and the tour, Tish. I spotted my first wild orchids here this morning. Hiding beneath oodles of rock cistus. What a lovely life! 🤗💕

  4. I really like the low down in the grass first shot and the monochrome windswept ponies in slideshow – ahh the yellow of rapeseed -can’t wait for those warmer tones and Spring!

  5. I remember some of these, you have some fabulous compositions of your muse, but I have to say the shot that stands out for me is the horses with their flowing manes and the blowing grasses. A lovely post Tish that meets the brief perfectly ❤️

  6. I felt like I was lying down with ya for a second there…
    and loved this – “when you’ve fixed on a particular subject, it’s always good to scout around it…”

  7. Oh the horses are a clear winner for me Tish! One can just feel oneself back in the 18th century walking the hill. You definitely covered the gamut. Love how you showed all of the seasons. Really a fun idea.

  8. What a lovely Windmill Hill story through your words and photos, Tish, you took us through the weathers, seasons, up and down the hill, seeing it from different perspectives. Great post and fabulous photos!

      1. It’s a classic 19th century French lit. Tells a lot about how life was back then. Not sure it is translated in English. Or do you “do” enough French to go through it? 🙂 (Ça serait intéressant de continuer cette conversation en Français…) 😉
        A bientôt.

      2. I read it better than speak it – typical anglaise. There is an English translation, which I downloaded from the internet, http://www.achive.org is great for old books. But I did think I should have a go at the orginal French so maybe I need to download a copy of that too. Give the little grey cells a shake up.

      3. Haha. “Typical Anglaise”? You do better than most Frogs. The vast majority of my dear compatriots can’t even read English. François Hollande thought he spoke English, but his colleagues usually asked him to let the interpreters do their job.
        Bonne chance avec les lettres de mon moulin. It is a classic.
        Bon week-end.

  9. I love that you showed all the ways the same subject can be photographed. I used to lay down and use the grass as a foreground. Some of my best pictures were done that way. These days, I can lie down, but without a skyhook, I can’t get up, so bending over is as good as I can do. You take wonderful pictures and I relate to them because I too take pictures of the same river, the same parts of the valley repeatedly from year to year. I find it soothing, but I always worry that other people will find it dull. Your pictures are anything but dull, so you give me hope.

    1. Ah, great minds etc. and actually I had taken note of a remark you made a while back in one of your posts about lying down to get a whole new view of a subject. See how we influence one another! I always like to see your photos of the river and the places near your home. I have a feeling that it’s very nourishing to document home space and territory in all its phases. It’s not the same as other photography where you may be struck by an interesting view or subject, but to which you aren’t attached by the soles of your feet or other significant parts of your being. All of which is to say, I am very very touched by your comment. Giving hope is a BIG thing. More power to us and our connectedness however it comes!

  10. What a stunning post. No prizes for guessing that I prefer the ones where orchids and foreground loom larger than the windmill, although that preference has to battle for precedence with shots against varied skies. And than again those ones in snow …!!!

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