DarKnights August Blog: Wilton Windmill under the stars

This latest blog covers my exploits of photographing Wilton Windmill in Wiltshire. This windmill features regularly in Robert Harvey’s books and demonstrations. I took these photographs on the same trip as the rising corn moon that featured in my previous blog. Unlike the moonshot, this required less planning so I won’t cover that.

Rather I turned up and quickly realised that the full moon meant I needed to photograph the mill facing north(-ish) and featuring the stars in that direction. Fortunately for me the sails of the mill had turned to face me I guess because of the prevailing winds.

When I got there I was rather surprised to find that the mill was lit up  – at first I thought that this was going to be a major advantage but quickly realised it actually gave me two problems. One that the exposure difference between the stars and sky and the mill was extreme and I would find it difficult to create the shot I needed with the stars in one exposure.

However because of the complicated and intricate nature of the sails I felt that I couldn’t do two exposures and then  blend later in Photoshop.  So I went with one exposure.  The second problem was that the lighting was actually quite garish- some purples and red which made a long exposure rather odd. Anyway here’s the result and shown in the photo below:


A little later on possibly just after 10.30pm the mill lights went out and I was able to make some images with a much better exposure.  However as I had been warned by Robert Harvey the full moon actually does cast quite a strong light so in some ways these images look a little bit harshly. I was able to nicely frame the constellation the Plough quite well along the tips of the sails as you can see in the photograph below:

This is a great location and one that I hope we can return to as part of the DarKnights SIG in the future.  As far as I can tell and read recently the access to the mill is open 24 hours a day and as long as respect is shown to the surroundings you can move around and get compositions as you see fit. So let’s look forward to being able to capture some good starlit shots,  possibly star trails and moonshots in the future.

Club members interested in joining the Night Photography SIG should contact me here.

Gareth Fish

Gareth Fish

Generally having fun, mostly outdoor genres of photography. I look after the Night Photography SIG for the club. If you are interested in going the DarKnights, give me a call