Digital infrared photo of a windmill in The Netherlands

Confessions of a “Windmill Hog” (a One-Shot Story)

Yes, I confess. I’m a “Windmill Hog.”

I learned this sad truth when Kate and I took a tour of the Rhine and Mosel Rivers in August, ‎2005. One of our first stops was the windmills at Kinderdijk. Built from 1738 to 1740, this concentration of nineteen old and unique Dutch mills has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. To keep surrounding lands dry, the mills pumped water into reservoirs, which drained through locks back into the river Lek. Some of the mills still do.

They line one bank of their reservoir like pearls on a necklace, and a walking path on the opposite bank gives visitors grand views of each. A few friends from our hometown were also on the tour, and I offered to help them take infrared photos of the windmills with their own digital cameras. One of them… “Jack”… said yes.

So when we came to the “Molen” pictured above, he and I walked out to the pier overlooking it. I put my Minolta Dimage S-414 camera on a tripod, took an IR, then transferred Jack’s camera to the tripod, held my bandpass filter in front of his lens, and let him shoot a few.

It didn’t really take long. Jack’s wife and Kate had stayed back on the walking path to watch. But two women also stopped, watched, and one of them then announced:

“That’s the windmill I want… But those two men are hogging it!”

Jack and I were too far away to hear. But Kate almost doubled over in hysterics.

She’s gotten a lot of mileage from that fond memory over the years… reminding me every so often that I’m a freakin’ “Windmill Hog.”

–Dave Powell is a Westford, Mass., writer and avid amateur photographer.

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