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Photographing The Wind - Flying in the Wind

Updated on January 17, 2018
Titia profile image

Titia is interested in photography, poetry, family, art, dogs, cats, insects, wildlife, history, war, camping, writing, and the environment.

Trees bended by the wind
Trees bended by the wind | Source

How can I photograph the wind you ask? Wind is invisible, you can only feel it when it touches you and you can see it when it touches the grass, the trees, the water and the clouds. It makes the mills go round and it enables the birds to fly. Sometimes it roars when wind turns into a storm. People as well as animals use the wind for transportation and people use the wind to generate electricity and many more things.

Wind can be beautiful and wind can be awful when it turns into a hurricane or tornado. We all know how destructive the wind can be. We don't have hurricanes and tornados in my country but we do have small whirlwinds once in a while.

I'm not a professional photographer and I don't know much about the technical stuff like shutterspeed and aperture, but that doesn't stop me from catching nature's beauty with my camera. My dad was an artist and he taught me to look beyond the obvious and how to make compositions.

In this artical I want to show you how easy it actually is to photograph the wind, meaning the effects of the wind.

Reed in the wind
Reed in the wind | Source

Clouds in the Wind

I like the Wind and Where I Live There's Wind Most of the Time.

My country (the Netherlands) is rather flat and where I live I can look straight to the horizon in the front of our old farmhouse. We see 1/3 of land and 2/3 of sky, the perfect photographic composing rule. Some might think that the sky is dull, but it's far from dull. It's changing color and form every minute of the day. The wind adds to those ever changing forms in nature.

Do you remember the times when you lied down in the grass looking up to the sky and tried to discover animals or other known forms in the clouds?

The photos of the clouds below are all taken in front of my house.

Clouds | Source
Clouds | Source
Clouds | Source
Clouds | Source

Wind Bending Trees

The power of the wind is just incredibly strong. In my area which is close to the North Sea there's wind most of the time and quite often it comes as a storm from the South West or the North West. Many of the country roads are bordered with trees like Canadian poplars, elms and buttonballs. They catch a lot of wind and growing up they might grow crooked as you can see in the photos below.

Trees bend by the wind
Trees bend by the wind | Source
Trees bend by the wind
Trees bend by the wind | Source
Trees bend by the wind
Trees bend by the wind | Source

I Asked the Wind

I asked the wind
"What makes you change your mood so fast"
He hesitated, but answered me at last:

I can be gentle,
like a lover's velvet kiss,
when I touch lips a moment long.
I can be teasing,
when I let hair tickle your nose,
or brilliant,
when in empty bottles, I sing my song.

I travel around the world,
which will only take a day.
I'm sometimes warm,
in other moments cold.
I either breeze a beach in sun,
or rage through tree crowns bold.

But I noticed that people are hard to please,
which way I blow, I never seem to get it right.
So I made up my mind, long time ago
and I will blow as I see fit.
Be it a storm for days,
or a soft breeze just for the night.

You Can't Control the Wind, but You Can Use the Wind to Your Own Benefit

Sometimes we don't like the wind, especially when it's turning into a raging storm. We all know about the devastating tornadoes, no need to show you pictures of those, we all know what they can do and you can find them on the internet everywhere. However there are so many other things we depend for on the wind and without wind they can not perform. I'm talking about sailing boats, windmills, gliding airplanes, all birds, hang gliders, wind surfers, kites and I'm sure I'm forgetting some.

People Ride the Wind

Hang glider
Hang glider | Source
Sailing | Source
Windmill | Source
Two gliding airplanes and no, they didn't collide, it just looks that way
Two gliding airplanes and no, they didn't collide, it just looks that way | Source
Hot Air Balloon landing
Hot Air Balloon landing | Source

Do You like the Wind?

See results

Riding the Wind in the Wrong Way

Crashed Airplane?
Crashed Airplane? | Source

It's Not What You Think It Is

It looks quite real, doesn't it? But no, it's not what you think it is, or is it?, I can assure you, nobody got hurt. At the beach in Zandvoort there's this beach house restaurant and next to it they have put this little airplane on poles. As the beach is so much lower than the street above, it just looks like the plane crashed into the dunes. I took this photo from a certain angle.

Animals Use the Wind

Even the spiders are taking advantage of the wind to get from one place to the other as you can see in the photo above. They just spin a long thread and then they drift on the wind until they hit another spot and that can be quite a distance sometimes. Spiders travel without a plan so to speak, they settle where the wind will take them.

Spiders use the wind to transport themselves

Spider travelled through air across the road
Spider travelled through air across the road | Source
gossamer condo
gossamer condo | Source

The Fascination of Flying by Manpower

There was this wealthy English industrialist Henry Kremer who was quite in for adventures and challenges. In 1959 he established a prize for the first person who could fly a figure eight over a certain distance in a human powered airplane.

It was aircraft designer Paul MacCready who, after 20 years of study and trials, succeeded to fulfill that challenge by flying the certain distance (including a turn) with a man powered airplane, which he had named the Gossamer Condor.

This big success took place on August 23, 1977 and that's why August 23 was declared Ride the Wind Day. The prize was about 50.000 pounds ($85.000). Two years later in 1979 this Paul MacCready won the Kremer Prize again, by crossing the Channel between England and France in another human powered airplane which he called the Gossamer Albatross.

The Gossamer Condor is now displayed in the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum and the Gossamer AlbatrossII (the backup plane) is displayed in the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

The Flight of the Gossamer Condor has been filmed by Ben Shedd and his crew from start to end.

The Gossamer Condor in the Smithonian National Air and Space Museum

The Gossamer Condor
The Gossamer Condor | Source

The Kremer Prize Challenge Goes On

I Wonder How Many More Brave Men/Women Will Ride the Wind

The Kremer prize didn't end with the flights of the Gossamer Condor (prize: 50.000 pounds) which flew the first human powered mile long figure eight course and the Gossamer Albatross (prize: 100.000 pounds), the first human powered airplane which crossed the English Channel.

Since then another Kremer Prize (20.000 pounds) has been awarded to a design team of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They flew their MIT Monarch B craft on a triangular 1.5 km (0.93 mi) course under three minutes.

And it's not over yet. Three Kremer Prizes are waiting on their rightful winners (total of 150.000 pounds)

* 26 mile Marathon course in under an hour (£50,000),

* Sporting aircraft challenge stressing maneuverability (£100,000),

* Local challenge that is limited to youth groups (under 18 years) in the UK.

So if you feel up to it, take your chance to write History.

© 2012 Titia Geertman


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