Late last year I was contacted by a green energy company about photographing a few of their wind turbine sites in Dodge City, Kansas. That company, NEXTera Energy Resources, was looking for different types of images than the standard beauty shots of wind turbines and the surrounding landscape. Of course, I still had to come back with some stellar images of the wind turnbines themselves, but the landscape in Kansas wasn’t exactly exciting.
Dodge City is one of the windiest locations in North America and there are at least 1,000 or more wind turbines surrounding the city. As an adventure sports photographer this assignment was quite far off the beaten track for me but I was keen to help promote green energy and also to climb up to the top of a giant wind turbine. Strangely enough, in the past few years, I have shot three energy related assignments. As you can see from the image below, my rock climbing skills came in handy even on an industrial assignment like this one. For this assignment with NEXTera Energy, I spent three days shooting at three different wind turbine sites. As usual, each day had me out shooting well before dawn to get the best light on the wind turbines.
Having never shot wind turbines before I was blown away by how elegant these giants are and how beautiful they appear on the landscape. The giant Seimens wind turbines at two of the sites reach up to an amazing 436 feet (130m). The blades are each 174 feet long (53m) and the tower holding the hub and the nacelle is a whopping 262 feet (80m) above the ground. When the baldes swish by you at the base of one of these wind turbines they are remarkably quiet for such a huge device. I have to think that these are one of mankind’s most beautiful collective works of art and hundreds of years from now these wind turbines dotting the landscape will be just as remarkable visually as the old windmills from the 1800s.
It is great to see so many wind turbines going up and the increasing amount of green energy being produced here in the USA. It was also quite nice to learn about how these wind turbines work and to see them up close. These wind trubines are technological marvels and they are already a significant percentage of our energy production, along with solar energy, here in the USA. Working with NEXTera was a great pleasure. The art director was very engaging and responsive to my ideas and I checked in with him several times during the assignment. My thanks to the fine folks at NEXTera Energy, the site managers and everyone that helped me out to create these images.
Look for a more extensive article with a larger selection of images from this this assignment in my Winter 2013 Newsletter, which will be out soon.