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San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm

San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm

San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm

One of the interesting sites to be seen when traveling on interstate I-10 in southern California is the wind farm in the San Gorgonio Pass. The San Gorgonio Pass, located in the Coachella Valley, runs between the San Bernadino Mountains and the San Jacinto Mountains. The Coachella Valley because of its location between a desert climate to the east and more temperate coastal climate to the west, generates the sustained winds required to drive the wind turbines in the wind farm, producing electricity to serve the needs of nearby Palm Springs and the surrounding region. The San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm is one of three large wind energy facilities serving southern California. The other two are the Altamont Pass Wind Farm and the Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm. Combined, these three facilities provide approximately 95% of California’s wind energy.

I first saw the wind farm when driving from Arizona to Los Angeles on I-10. It is impressive to see the over 3,000 massive wind turbines, the largest of which are over 300 feet tall with blades 150 feet long. The turbines are on either side of the road and up the slopes of the mountains as far as the eye can see for many miles.

I was able to spend some time shooting at sunrise and during the day with varying cloud cover conditions. One of the tips here is to choose a shutter speed which will lead to the sense of blade motion that is desired. A faster shutter speed to freeze the motion, a slower shutter speed to show some blade motion, or an even longer shutter speed to make interesting images with the blades blurred in a full circle. On a bright day, even with a small aperture of f/16, or f/22 and low ISO, neutral density filters may be needed to reach the target longer shutter speed. Some experimentation is certainly called for to create interesting effects.

Below are a few images of the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm.

San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm turbines, silhouetted against the sunrise colored sky

Massive wind turbines cover the valley and nearby mountain slopes

Some of the over 3,000 wind turbines in the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm

San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm turbines are up to 300 feet tall with blades 150 feet long

A single wind turbine with the San Jacinto mountains in the background

Wind turbines with low clouds over the San Jacinto mountains

Click on the photos above for more information or click here to see more images from the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm.

All images © Clarence Holmes


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