Posted: February 23, 2015 in 17-85mm lens, Canon 7D, Clouds, Details, Industrial, Photography, Smokestacks, Steam, Wabi Sabi, Wisconsin
Tags: ,

I had considered calling this series “When Worlds Collide,” but both wind power and ethanol are clean energy sources so they’re on the same team. The best title came from my friend Jean who quipped “Rock, Vapor, Scissors.” Wish I’d thought of that first.

Friesland, Wisconsin. On a recent trip to Madison, the official Wabi Sabi staff car took a meandering path, questing after smokestacks and vapor clouds…and scored big time.


This is the United Wisconsin Grain Producers ethanol plant (UWGP) located smack in the middle of rolling prairie…and smack in the middle of a pretty huge wind farm as well.



Now…in my head I know that these are both good things, but in my heart/gut/lizard brain, it just LOOKS wrong. Or oppositional. Or menacing…


…as though a giant four-year-old set up a LEGOLAND scene and decided to include all the pieces whether they belonged together or not.




Upon leaving this site, more smoke and vapors were spotted off in the distance. “Oh,” said Wabi Sabi naively. “It won’t be another ethanol plant, but let’s go check it out anyway.” 

To be continued…

  1. Lignum Draco says:

    So, did you ever work out how to spell “disconsolate”. It looks like you’ve been busy.

    • Hey…I threw myself into my work…and a case of wine.
      I came within mere inches of messaging you with an “Okay, slacker. Back to work now” but decided that if you were in rehab or jail or on your honeymoon or off saving the world in your day job as a highly-paid assassin…well, it just wouldn’t be appropriate. Must have sensed a disturbance in the Force since here you are. 🙂

  2. Jean Harper says:

    Wabi, you are the Teacher’s Teacher both verbal and visual. How generous to let us follow you out in the field w/o the frostbite as you spy/focus/click your way around this tundra. I so enjoy your exploratorizations.

  3. Schwister says:

    Last summer I drove my family from Green Bay to Madison via random highways west and north of the usual I-41 and US 151 and it felt like driving through four or five different states – such variations on farmland, woods, lakes, and hills! We just missed this Friesland scene though. Very striking images!

  4. sedge808 says:

    loving these very much.

  5. andykidd says:

    I was awaiting the return of the Ethanol plant. Presumably this is a different one from the ACE ethanol plant from last year? Love that steam, love the windfarm. They just don’t go together or do they? Ps. I am about to take a break from WP – I have to go cold turkey or the PhD will never finish and I will be divorced. I might sneak a check with your site occasionally but I know that’s dangerous.

    • Totally different ethanol plant…and there is an even larger one only 5 miles away. Who knew? And you’re right: no matter how much I stare at those pictures, I cannot reconcile the turbines with the steam.

      Now, about that cold turkey stuff. I am all in favor of your buckling down, seizing the moment and wrapping things up, but I think you should drop in here, check the place out and leave a few notes from time to time. We’ll call it a trans-hemispheric coffee break, okay?

  6. smilingtoad says:

    Absolutely brilliant. I would have hyperventilated with excitement had I come upon this absolutely enthralling scene…both perilously bizarre and wonderful at the same time…beautiful images. Cannot get enough. I can just imagine what it was like to actually BE there…

    • My apologies–I just found your comment.
      I do my own version of hyperventilating–I start talking fast–in my own head if I’m alone, aloud if I am with someone–and somehow, there’s a fear that it will all disappear–Pouf!–while I’m trying to capture it.
      I’ve never gone shooting with a group of serious photographers–have you? I’m wondering if it would like the day trip from the hospital in “Cuckoo’s Nest.” 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s