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Don Quixote should have had a camera instead.

WHERE'S A WINDMILL FOR ME TO SHOOT!

It’s a wonderful time of year to go exploring with your camera.  

I woke up the other day and decided to challenge myself to photograph something that I drive by everyday on my way to and from Horn Photo.  
Windmills.  We pass by them all the time but don’t give them much thought, until you see them at sunset, or with snow capped Sierras in the background. All of a sudden, they stand out. The windmills have moods, depending on the light, the movement, the background, the angle.  
I love old windmills.  I also love Don Quixote, written by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.  
You may wonder why I’m bringing up Don Quixote, the story of the aging delusional, and yet profound character.  Here’s why: Don Quixote had many exciting adventures traveling through Spain with his companion, Sancho.  Along the way he fought windmills.  He believed them to be “hulking giants”, and charged them with his lance.  He thought the blades were the arms of the giants. As you can imagine, this didn’t always turn out well.
Don Quixote was written 400 years ago.  He remains an epic character to this day.  There are dozens of memorable quotes from Don Quixote, that are still applicable today.
My camera and I were about to embark upon a novel adventure.  My day with windmills and Don Quixote was about to begin. Instead of using a lance, I used my camera to capture windmills. I let my imagination wander, and the creativity flowed with each picture that I took.  
I want to share my adventure with you, with the hopes of inspiring you to take your own adventure.  For me it was windmills. What is it for you? Sunsets? Birds? Mailboxes? We’d love to see!
Here is my day with windmills and some of my favorite quotes from Don Quixote.  

Windmill Number One

My adventure began in Madera County on Highway 41 just north of Avenue 15.   If you’ve been out to Tesoro Viejo, you’ve probably seen this windmill.   I approached this giant from two different angles.
Google MAP Windmill 1 Location 

Windmill Number Two

There’s more than a giant windmill in this first picture.  The barbed wire fence planted in the rolling hillside with the snowy backdrop make this spot one of my favorites.  The close up shot shows the detail of the old windmill, which adds interest.
Google MAP Windmill 2 Location

Windmill Number Three

Continuing up Highway 41 at Road 208, is Fasi Estate Winery.  On the long drive to the winery,an old windmill appears amongst some grape vines.  The white fencing adds to the shot.  From a different angle, the windmill appears between two tall Italian Cypress.  
Google MAP Windmill 3 Location

Windmill Number Four

About a mile up Road 208, there’s another rusty giant.
I was experimenting more and more with windmill number four.   Oh the things one can do with windmills and a camera.  Black and white, color, different lenses, longer exposures. Angles, rocks, contrast, detail, sky; all of these additions make for interesting pictures.
Google MAP Windmill 4 Location

Windmill Number Five

Still on Road 208, crossing over to the west side of Highway41, I turned up Road 209.  Just about a mile and a half up Road 209, I found another old giant.  By now the sky was cloudy, creating a dramatic background.
There’s a different feel with each image.  The sharpest image shows how delicate yet resilient these old windmills are.  The sails are covered with scrapes and scratches from decades of wear.  The tail has been used as target practice.
The sepia image has a much softer appearance, looking like it was shot 100 years ago
Google MAP Windmill 5 Location

UPDATE (2-16-21): Went back to #5 and shot it while the wind was a blown. Motion!

Windmill Number Six

Heading north on Highway 41, about a mile from Road 208, I came upon another giant.  Look at how it’s situated among the oak trees, with cows grazing nearby.  Just moments after I took the first picture,the sun dipped lower, and the appearance of the sky completely changed.  How quickly the mood of a picture can change if you stay in one spot for a few minutes.
Google MAP Windmill 6 Location

Windmill Number Seven

I was done shooting giants, and drove out to visit my son near Friant.  Just off of Millerton road, instead of turning up Winchell Cove Road, turn the other way down Marina Drive.  That’s where I saw my last shining giant.  
You can see the golden light of the setting sun gracing the sails of this beautiful windmill.  The warm lights of the house in the background is a nice addition to the picture.
The sky was turning a beautiful cyan color as I took my last two shots, admittedly getting a little artsy with my camera, and light painting with a flashlight.
Google MAP Windmill 7 Location - Friant

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Still curious about Don Quixote?  Maybe you will recognize this famous song from the movie.

This is a NEW Windmill in the Madera Ranchos. Found it on 2-16-21

Nice American paint job.