Quick Shot: Windmills

I don't really need to tell you where I took this photograph - there's only one place in the world that has such a unique look. 

A decade ago, I visited these windmills in Mykonos, Greece with my parents and I took a quick photograph with a little 1.5 megapixel camera that (at the time) was cutting edge. I love that photograph - it's actually not a great photo by any means - but the memory associated with that photograph is what makes it so special. 

When I returned to Mykonos this fall, I wanted to visit those windmills that I had such fond memories of photographing 10 years ago. To put a fun twist on a commonly photographed sight, I waited until sunset and snapped off a series of photos precisely as the sun touched the top of the hills on the horizon. It took mere seconds for the sun to disappear completely, but I was able to get a few where there was a nice burst to the sun.

Photographer tip: The camera by default will always want to expose for the sky, so when taking photos like this, you have to be smarter than the camera. In this case, I set exposure compensation of -1/2 stop to help preserve shadow details in the windmills and metered against the windmill before lining up the shot. That made the sky darker and windmill lighter without having to use special filters or post processing. The other way to get this sort of photograph is to shoot a burst and process them together afterwards (called HDR), but the image here is a single shot.