Morning sunset

I thought I’d start my morning – and my week – with a post taken in the evening. This is the elevator at Arena, ND. I hadn’t been there in a while, despite its proximity to Bismarck-Mandan, but I had a dear friend in town from Florida and we wanted to get out with our cameras. I had a bunch of cool places marked – that house in Robinson I featured earlier, for instance – and this was the last major spot we had planned on the way home. The evening didn’t disappoint: lots of color abounded, and even a really cool set of clouds posed in the background for us!

She’s a brick…house

I’ve wanted to visit this house, located along the state’s border, for quite some time. I’d seen a winter photo of it somewhere, put my photogrammetry and detective skills to work to locate it, then sat and craved a road trip for months. I did finally throw my gear on my motorcycle earlier this year and venture down to the spot, and it did not disappoint.

I’m glad I was able to capture such incredible skies behind it! I was actually dodging thunderstorm cells on the way down there and back. I have ridden and even raced motorcycles in the rain, but I can’t say I’ve ever enjoyed it. I’d definitely rather avoid it when I have my camera gear on board!

Reflection on the past

I love this old house, and I recently had the opportunity to visit it with a dear friend (and fellow NoDak) who was in town from Florida for a few days. We roamed around with our cameras one evening, and I took the opportunity to show him some of my favorite area photo spots. This, of course, is high on the list.

Of course, the most prominent feature of this house is the porch. More specifically, the way the top floor overhangs the porch, accented by the absence of any pillars, columns, or supports. Those are long gone. It gives this house an overbite which is irresistible to any photography hobbyists who might be driving by.

Sadly, the strain of such a prominent feature can only be borne for so long. The lines of this house are no longer straight, and I fear it will soon go the way of many of my favorite photo subjects, eventually disappearing. I sure hope not, at least not any time soon. I’ll continue to visit and check in on it as time and gas money allow. Hopefully I’ll be accompanied by good friends each time, as I was on this occasion!

Another cool barn find

This barn was another which caught my eye on the way to another location. I couldn’t help but stop for a quick shot. This looks like many other barns except for that prominent feature in the middle. Pretty cool! It seems like all of these barns have their own unique character in one way or another, and this one didn’t disappoint. It was really eye-catching, perched atop a hill and facing that late afternoon sun with a solid, stately look which definitely merited a moment of admiration from this photo hobbyist.

I wonder how long it’s been standing here

I saw this wonderful old barn as I rounded a curve in a rural highway, and it caught my eye from the side long before I saw this gorgeous view of its front. I thought it was nice of the builders and/or owners to boast of its apparent construction date! I hope I look this grand when I’m 106 years old!

This was such a gorgeous scene, tucked into a little valley inhabited by mosquitoes the size of hummingbirds. There were bogies like fireflies, I tell you…

Again with the cupolas. I have started to gush over these features as often as I focus on old windmills. Oh, wait a minute…there’s the windmill in the background!

There you have it: 1916. One hundred and six years old at the time of this post. It looks fantastic. I’m glad I stumbled upon it when I did. It’s this sort of surprise that makes roaming the back roads of North Dakota so wonderful.

Standing tall

Barn? Private elevator? I don’t claim to know, but whatever this old building is, it’s magnificent. I’d taken a wrong turn (don’t *ever* trust Apple Maps) on my way back to the highway, and while I turned around in what appeared to have been a driveway at one time I saw this. I snapped a quick photo from the window of my truck and went back to Google.

For my photography and route planning I use a hiking model GPS – two, actually – with an incredible amount of information on it, including section lines and rural roads. But they have no idea how to navigate them. That’s not their purpose. Besides, the phone apps are so darn good (Google, not Apple) and are continuously updated. So I have GPS for very specific uses, and let the mobile app(s) do the navigating.

This happens more often than you’d think

I was on my way to a specific photo target when I encountered this cool looking barn. It has a rather prominent cupola, which is what really caught my eye. I had to stop and take a quick look.

These tend to serve as ventilation for barns, although on many of the old barns I photograph they’re boarded up. I bet it was pretty cool in its heyday. I wonder how many kids peeked out over the years?

Another view, since I had such amazing clouds to work with. Clear sky to the southeast, puffy clouds to the northeast. Great sun and a beautiful day in general. Good “pitcher-takin'” weather, if you ask me.

Ah, yes…and then there’s stuff like this. Mundane to most, but for city kids trying to be artistic this stuff is like a light bulb to a moth. I tried a few angles of this, but I liked the shadow from this perspective the best.

After a few minutes here, I moved on to my intended photo target. If I remember correctly, that target had been torn down before I arrived, but thanks to this barn I did not come away empty-handed.

The broad side of a barn

…I hit it. I spotted this cool looking barn on my way home one night, and what really caught my eye – aside from cast of the evening light – was the ladder. I was going to try brainstorming some witticism about “the corporate ladder” or something like that, but I’m not that clever.

Arena winter walkabout

This is the first photo I ever took of St. John’s church in Arena, ND. It was in much better shape back then. Since then I’ve photographed it in all four seasons, all hours of the day and night, with Northern Lights in the background, from the ground and from the air. Sadly, I don’t think it’ll be around much longer.

I took a stroll around the church this winter, and I thought you’d like to see what I saw that sunny (yet chilly) January afternoon:

Someone has moved “into town” now, so if you visit the church you might have company. I suggest going soon, as the church is deteriorating rapidly. It’s so sad to see it go.