Working the location - De Drie Molen
Working the Location
De Drie Molen
This week I took a good friend out scouting with me and after a delightful walk we still had some time to spare so I took her to one of my favourite local places - De Drie Molen at Leidschendam near The Hague. I've been coming here since I found it in the summer of 2011. Only 10km from home it's a fail safe and epitomises the Dutch landscape: a canal, boats, polders, the odd horse and, of course, windmills.
The summer was lush, the reed beds a vibrant green and what I call Vermeer skies added some mood to the scene. However, just because I had those images didn't mean I would not go back. A place changes depending on the time of day, the weather and the season. Once discovered, it pays to return to a good location again and again.
It was a while until my next visit in January 2013 to try for a twilight shot. I had hoped for a more dramatic sky but there was too little cloud yet I rather like the blue tones of that time just after the sun has disappeared and some pinks are still catching the small wispy clouds. Add the Lee Big Stopper and the water smoothed out to better reflect the sky.
2013 turned into a year of black and white for me. I have found that the atmosphere captured in the monochrome conversions reflects my current mood and I find myself seeing in black and white more and more. I look for the shape, form, tone and textures of compositions.
I found myself back again in August last year thinking solely in black and white. The clouds were fantastic for what I had visualised. A plain blue sky is not what you need for a good monochrome landscape image - the sky becomes as integral to the composition as the subject matter. I went to my standard view and captured what has become one of my most popular images but I didn't rest there. You cannot get to the other side of the windmills for the opposite view from this location as they are private property but I jumped in the car and went the 3km by road to the other side.
The mills are quite a distance from this road and it is impossible to walk closer which necessitated a longer lens but this also acted to compress the perspective, helpful for the composition. There is a stables nearby and horses graze the polders. By luck I had two horses wander into the shot, a grey and a dark bay. The mono conversion makes them appear white and black, adding to the rustic scene brilliantly.
When I took my friend this week I showed her both these locations then had to drive a little further up the road to turn around and was greeted by yet another view of the mills
I had never seen before. I realised I always drive this road in the summer when the foliage is thick and the view is blocked. I sketched the scene with my iPhone during the week so went back today with my D700 before the leaves start to bud. With the trees bare you can see through the branches and have the windmills framed under the boughs. Although they are far away and the magnificent tree dominates the composition I love this view of one of my favourite places.
The moral of the story is keep going back, keep looking with fresh eyes as there is always something new and exciting to capture.
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