Wind Farms off US-84

I’ve often flown over the wind farms of the panhandle. The other weekend I had an opportunity to drive through some of them.

I think the first wind turbine I recall was the one just off Junction 11 of the M4 in Reading, England. Since then, now many years ago, I’ve grown used to seeing these turbines sprouting from the tops of distant hills while driving in California and other US states.

Driving along I-20, I felt harried on the road. A constant stream of 18-wheeler trucks and cars, pressing on along the dual carriageway with nowhere really to pull over and stop. Why is it, when you are driving, that the best images are always on the other side of the road or behind you?

I was somewhat grateful when I peeled off I-20 onto US-84 just west of Sweetwater. The volume of traffic dropped considerably and I felt comfortable driving at my own pace and no longer having to drive at the pace of the pack.

I was driving to a schedule so I didn’t have much time to stop for photos. This was a shame as there was an embarrassment of opportunities all around me.

Maybe you’re not like me, but I find more photo opportunities when I’m traveling than when I stay close to home? Why is that? Is that the curse of familiarity? Maybe photographers that live in this part of Texas are done shooting wind farms and long for urban metropoles like Houston.

My eye spied the red barn away in the distance and the rows of stalks from some recently harvested crop. My first shots were from further south with the rows passing diagonally in the frame.

Since the traffic volume was now much less and the road had wide shoulders, I changed location to where the rows lead into the red barn.

To give some sense of the openness of the landscape in this part of Texas I decided to frame high and place the horizon low within the frame.

Although this was April the temperature was in the low 90’s Fahrenheit (34 Celcius). My Canon EF 28-300mm (B&H) was maxed out to 300mm and when viewed at 100%, the shimmer of the heat haze is clearly visible on the barns and turbines.

I’m about a mile from the red barn and the closest wind turbine is a mile beyond the red barn so two miles distant from me. These are not small machines and I suspect they’re quite a bit larger that that one near Junction 11.

But when you see these turbines in these large masses, its obvious why they are called wind farms.

Wind turbines in one of the wind farms off US 84 north of Sweetwater, TX.

Wind turbines in one of the wind farms off US 84 north of Sweetwater, TX.

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