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Photo Story: Mill on the Hill/Sundown Sunday

"After so many months inside, the vastness of the countryside rolling away felt refreshing and liberating. I had time to just admire the sun for a while as it dipped below the horizon..."

The evenings are longer, the weather is more welcoming and at last in recent weeks I've been able to venture out with my camera again. In this story, I'm sharing not one but two photos with you from my recent trip out to Chesterton Windmill near Stratford (England).

If you read my blog regularly, you'll know that I've been itching to get out again...but you might also know from past posts about how important it is that the conditions are right for those late evening shots that I want to take!

It can take some effort to embrace the risk that you'll pack up your gear, head out to the location and then discover that the lighting or sky is not what you wanted! But on this occasion, I went for it with crossed fingers (and as I have found, this is usually the best option to take).

Unlike in The Hague, in the UK I have my car to get myself out to remote places. I headed south from Coventry along the unusually quiet A46, a three-lane road running south to the beautiful countryside of Warwickshire. On my right, the sun was setting with golden tones and all I could hope was that I made it on time!

Getting deeper into the countryside, I almost missed my turn along a small country lane, appropriately called Windmill Hill Lane. Suddenly, I was surrounded by rolling green hills, bathed in an almost blue-hour light. Sheep and lambs ambled on the hills and there was not another car in sight. This really felt like deep in the countryside. Would there be anyone else at the windmill? Would it just be me in a quickly fading light and how would it feel.

I turned a bend and there was the windmill up on the hill to my left - a beautiful sight! This is a 200 year or so old flour mill as I understand it, just standing here alone in the middle of the countryside. I had earmarked this site for photos a long time ago and was eager to get here at last.

I pulled up near the gate where the path to the mill began. Several other cars were here - people were strolling in the late Sunday glow. I quickly headed up along the path towards the mill to make it before the golden sunset was gone. There was a calmness to the place, exactly what I love to capture in my photos.

The people here were clearly escaping the four walls of their lockdown homes for fresh air and the openness of the vast fields. People strolled, sat quietly, took photos on their phones and took moments of contemplation. I made it on time and was able to set up my tripod in the broad-bladed grass, away from the other visitors, to capture the sun as it went down behind this beautiful old mill.

After so many months inside, the vastness of the countryside rolling away felt refreshing and liberating. I had time to just admire the sun for a while as it dipped below the horizon, and as people wandered and admired it alongside me, I felt a sense of optimism that soon trips like this will become increasingly possible again. Everyone right now is longing for freedom.

The breeze was light, the temperature cool (but not cold) and the air felt fresh and clean. There was certainly a spring feel; a sense of renewal and hope.

I started up the car engine and headed out along bending country lanes in the fading light, headed home towards the lights of Coventry. I'm looking forward to coming back to this place again in the near future and capturing more of the sense of the place and the perspective it has from it's wonderful position up there in the Warwickshire hills: an escape from civilisation.

These photos are now in my Woodlands and Countryside gallery if you'd like to take a closer look! 😀

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