Roadside view 2: Dark satanic mill

Dark satanic mill at Waiuku
Dark satanic mill at Waiuku, Franklin district. 2.46pm, 27 March 2018

As a magnificent blot on the landscape the steel mill at Waiuku, south of Auckland, is very impressive. In this shot its dreariness is stylised by layering, using the line of pines it is seen through. Another example of a “look-through” composition, this is one I was definitely searching for. Here the main feature seems almost an afterthought, but one nicely offsetting the dark verticals. The scene is also an example of limited palette (colour range), being close to monochromatic. However I saw during set-up the small smudge of green plant life at bottom centre, and the brown building below the belching chimneys.

I took a second shot with the mill in a more central position, yet this was less interesting. The scene above is underexposed of course, to saturate the highlights, and a smaller aperture can be another gain in doing this – and increased depth of field, no small matter with a telephoto lens such as the 85mm. Using f16 has insured sharpness throughout, with the luxury of a low ISO and a hand-held capture, to boot.

The phrase “Dark satanic mill” comes from an eschatological  poem by William Blake, whose text also forms the lyrics to the well known hymn Jerusalem.  This contrasts the forthcoming heaven-on-earth of the title with the hellish blight of many hundreds of mills, which scarred the country as it became the first to industrialise.

1/500th at f16. Nikon 85mm; ISO 250

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *