The Old Mill is famous for being in the opening scenes of the classic movie “Gone with the Wind.” It is a re-creation of an 1880’s water-powered grist mill, and it is believed to be the last remaining structure from the movie. The mill is a local mecca for photographers and is probably one of the most photographed locations in central Arkansas.
I have been to the Old Mill numerous times and have shot frame after frame there. In all the years I have lived in central Arkansas, though, I have never shot the mill in the spring when the flowers and plants were blooming. I had seen many photographs of the mill in the spring and had always told myself I needed to go, but for whatever reason, the season would come and go, and I would not make it out to the mill. Until yesterday, that is.
I had originally planned on getting to the location right at sunrise, which was about 6:30 in the morning. However, when I got up about 5:30, I looked out the window to discover that it was raining, which was completely unexpected. Finally, the rain let up, and I arrived at the mill at about 7:15. Fortunately, the sky was still cloudy and overcast which provided soft, even lighting. It was also very quiet and peaceful as there were only two other people there when I arrived, and we were all there for the same reason – to photograph the Old Mill.
After about an hour and a half, though, the clouds began to break up. This created a lot of contrast in which parts of the scene were brightly lit and other parts were in shade. This type of lighting makes it very difficult to get a properly exposed image. While I took several images after the clouds broke, very few were worth keeping because the contrast was too great causing the brighter areas to be overexposed.
The image above was taken while the sky was overcast. As you can see, the light is even and diffused. There are no bright spots that draw attention away from the image, and the colors actually appear richer and more vibrant that they would have in the bright sun.
Settings: Canon 5D Mk II, 32mm, 0.6 sec., f/22