H-2-O Failure + RP



I thought I’d post this more as a reflection of the drought or water issue than a scene of nature per se.
This area is in a remote area of Baker Nevada and as far as the eye can see is barren terrain. Additionally, on a second level is this long ago failed windmill water pump as a below ground aquifer drought as well.
As a side note. I worked with a person who was a personal friend of B.H. “Tex” Burdick who wrote the book “Blades In The Sky”. Tex’s family had a business out of El Paseo, Texas that installed many of these Aermotor windmills throughout the western states and Mexico.

Type of Critique Requested

  • Conceptual: Feedback on the message and story conveyed by the image.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

I photographed this scene at sunrise along the 'Loneliest Hwy In The USA" Hwy 50 in Nevada.

Technical Details

Mamiya RB67 ProSD - Mamiya “C” 90mm - Velvia 50 - PS & NIK b&w conversion.

Hi Paul,

I think your image conveys the story very well, but the title is a must to give the viewer just enough of a hint to tell for sure what’s going on.
Without the title, it’s just a great B&W image of the Aermotor windmill and the vast dusty looking landscape.

Thanks for the story about Aermotor and Blades in the sky! I love reading stuff like that :slight_smile:

@Merv , thank you for your review and thoughtful comments here on this image… :sunglasses:
As far as the book “Blades In The Sky” I saw awhile back they still had a few copies of that paperback on Amazon. I think I bought my copy several years back from that outlet. A very simple read with several photos of the windmill installations. … :cowboy_hat_face:

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Add in a drought stricken farmer at wits end and you have a Dorothea Lange image here. I agree with @Merv about the title telling the story. This is a most effective image regardless. Your vision comes through well – isn’t successful photography about capturing our vision to tell a story? You do it well here.

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Windmills are one of my favorite subjects. You picked a perfect time of day to photograph. I like the long shadows and contrast on the blades, tank and post. It looks like you did some PP work around the blades and the tail though. Probably easy to fix using Ps.

If your ever in Nebraska and like photographing windmills, visit the Sandhills. There are an impressive number of windmills there. Most of them are working.

Paul, this is a fine look at this old windmill, they were such an integral part of rural life. This view does a great job of capturing the isolation (to the point of desolation). I can hear the squeaking and creaking of a working windmill as I view. I do wonder about a modest crop from the left, so the windmill and the posts to the right are balanced across the frame. Having installed posts like that, they also tell a story (at least to me).

@Larry_Greenbaum @David_Starr @Mark_Seaver Thank you each for your excellent comments.
David, I did see your point on the area around the Aermotor tail too. I will need to repair that at some point when time is open. Mark, that is an excellent point on the crop too and worth the change there as well.
I was really glad to see that the image was able to convey the point about the drought or overall lack of water. This arid terrain was parched and the pump had not been working in years from it’s appearance. Again, giving me the feeling of drastic drought both above and below the surface.
Before posting this image I was thinking back to my days as a 13 year old moving irrigation pipe for potato farming throughout the dry acreage that is now submerged under the Perris Valley Reservoir Lake. How water management has changed most of our lives over time.

Paul, Ditto all of the comments of how powerful this image is, in telling the story. For me it brings back all of the drives along the 41 and 46 highways in central California from coast to valley and all of the range land in between. An image like this occurs around almost every turn or valley. Great job!

@marlindmills Thank you for your review of this scene.
I hear you on those areas around the central California zones. On the subject of drought conditions and farming especially. If you’ve lived or traveled that area over time you might have seen the “Rain For Rent” products in use. Those were the systems I worked with as a very young lad on farms in So Cal.
Later in life as I was heavily into Drag Racing I’d see at certain events the AA Top Fuel team of Warren, Coburn, & Miller who were sponsored by the “Rain For Rent” company.