Red Barn, Wind Turbines, Long Exposure

Sherman Island, Montezuma Hills, CA

A relatively so-so day shooting architecture in Berkeley and Oakland.  Almost halfway on the drive home, I spied this red barn from the highway and a sign indicating a levee road rapidly approaching.  Less than 5 minutes later, I was ready to shoot.

(click through on the image to view in 700px of long exposure blur)

As I was driving to the Bay Area and passing through the city of Antioch at 7am, I had seen two separate power generation plants in operation, with towers spewing water vapor/steam (at least that is what I assume it to be) into the air.  A perfect setting for long exposure photography.  By the time I was on my way back — nothing.  Either the plants were not in use or perhaps the unseasonably warm temperatures (mid-70s) prevents the vapor from being seen.  It would be the first of two setbacks as the foundry in Berkeley was also not in operation as I passed by.

Luckily, the wind along the Carquinez Strait was brisk enough to move these massive wind turbines.  Each of these turbines typically generate 1 megawatt per year, or enough electricity for 1,000 homes.  Using my 10-stop neutral densty filter, the sight of these turbine blades in motion almost look fake.  The shadow coming off the tower and turbine provide an added element of interest.

EXIF data: Nikon D7000, center weighted metering mode, 86mm, ISO 100, 30 sec, f/11

Red Barn, Wind Turbines, Long Exposure.  Montezuma Hills from Sherman Island, California.  November 04, 2012. © Copyright Steven Tze – all rights reserved.


16 thoughts on “Red Barn, Wind Turbines, Long Exposure

    1. Whoa, a sense of deja vu with your comment! I realized that we were both commenting on the enlarged photo page:

      But here was my response:
      “Thank you Melinda! The tough things for me are to find scenes that have moving parts (wind turbines, factory smoke, fast moving clouds/fog, etc.) and then *remembering* to use the ND-110 filter. Other than that, the tripod and remote shutter do the hard work for me!

      I could see there would be some shadows from the actual turbine, but it really came out nicely, almost like little chevrons pointed to the top left.

      I don’t know if you already have the ND-110 type filter, but I would strongly recommend using a drop-in rather than a screw-in filter. It is such a pain to compose a shot, carefully screw in the filter, then unscrew the filter so I can compose a new shot and focus.”


      1. I’d wondered where my comment went! I’d convinced myself that I hadn’t posted it.

        I do have an ND filter, but it is the screw-in type, and it is annoying to use. I’ll trade up to the other kind one of these days.


        1. Then there’s always the fear of dropping the filter when screwing-on or off. It is also not very cost effective when moving to new lenses that are of a different filter size. Buying new c-pol and ND-110 filters for each filter size will hurt the wallet. Plus, I would like to begin using GND filters (in conjunction with the ND-110 and general landscape use) and drop-in types are the only real option.


    1. Yep, I have faced similar issues in the past. A solution that only sometimes works is propping one side of the camera against the trunk of a tree/building/anything or even placing the camera on the ground and using something to angle it up.


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