A little color, nonetheless

While there have been some holidays, Friday was the first day I took off this year as far as I can recall.  Been a busy spring.  I headed out with my gear for a day of roaming, even though this is not a fantastic time for photography.  Everything is brown, no matter how nice the weather is outside.  But I did manage to find some color here and there.

The wind was ridiculous – there’s no way I was putting a drone in the air.  Of course, as soon as I rolled in to Bismarck the wind quit entirely.  I just had to laugh.  I didn’t come home empty-handed, even though I fought the wind at every turn.  Gradually I’ll roll out the pictures I brought home.

Love Shack and Elevation

I decided to title this post from a pair of song titles by two of my favorite 80s bands, although U2 didn’t do Elevation until 2000.  This little shack is nestled in the trees of Venturia, North Dakota.

 

It doesn’t have the tin roof (rusted) from the B-52’s song, but it’s still a wonderful looking little place.  I found this down the road from my next subject.

 

The sun was trying to punch a sunset through the clouds as I photographed this elevator, but it wasn’t having much success.  The overcast sky had just developed as I made my way into town.

 

I had a willing subject, though…this elevator stood tall and made for some nice shots.  A gloomy sky actually works pretty well on a wintery day.

After visiting these two spots and roaming around town for a couple of minutes, it was on to my next spot.  Eventually I ended up at the Berlin Baptist Church I wrote about earlier.

Can’t pick my favorite angle

I’ll be up front about this: most of the angles of this old barn are similar. But I like them all, especially for their subtle differences.

 

And how about those clouds? What a fantastic sky on such a brilliant, sunny day. With a sky like this, it’s possible to get a good photo with just about anything.

 

Here’s a closer shot of the face of this fallen structure. I was actually here because of a prairie church right across the road, but once I was done photographing that building I had to dart over here. These turned out better than the church, actually, due to too many trees in the way of the church building.

 

I took the opportunity to “explore the space” a bit, trying a few different framing options. I couldn’t decide how near or far I wanted to be, how wide or tight I wanted the shot to be. So I went for all of ’em.

 

Do you have a favorite? I can’t pick one. I may have to down the road, but for now I find the entire batch satisfying.

More than one Berlin wall has fallen

A friend of mine from Jamestown stopped in my studio a couple of weeks ago and told me about a really neat old church he’d passed on a road trip for work.  I didn’t know there was a church where he described it, and none of my resources showed it there, so I had to go check it out last weekend.  Here’s what’s left of it: Berlin Baptist Church.

 

My urgency was because, once we located the spot on Google Earth, I could tell that the roof had been stripped and all the rafters were visible.  It wasn’t the kind of random thing that weather or time would do; this church was being dismantled.  To be honest, I didn’t even expect it to still be here.

 

It looks to me like someone just plain ran out of time last year, and had to stop working on the structure.  The foundation and its windows are intact.  The floor is mostly intact as well.  The roof and walls have been removed up to the front portion of the church, where the balcony and steeple remain…for now.

 

This was an amazing building…and wow, what a spot!  The cemetery is on the left of this photo, in the background to the north.  To the south is a large frozen lake.  I can only imagine what this place was like in its heyday.

 

The frozen lake helped convey to me the bleak future for this old church.  It’s sad to see them go.  It isn’t that people quit going to church or abandoned their faith, but that so many small communities are fading away and smaller families mean fewer butts in the seats.  After a while, there aren’t enough people to keep even a small church going when you’re out on the prairie.

 

This was a soundly built church building.  I don’t normally crawl around or in old buildings I find, but I had to make an exception here.  Besides, it hadn’t reached this condition through deterioration.  It was still solid, just waiting to be parted out.

 

It got dark really fast while I was gaping in awe at this breathtaking find, so I didn’t get a chance to take a photo of the sign until I was on my way out.  The church celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1988, meaning it was here before the Dakotas achieved statehood.

I imagine I’ll have to check in on this magnificent church’s remains this spring before they vanish for good.  So many of my favorite prairie places are disappearing, so I’m always glad to know that I got photos of them before they faded into history.  I didn’t get to see this one before it was almost completely gone, but in its current state I think it tells a moving story.

You could poke an eye out with that thing

I stumbled upon this leaning barn over a month ago.  In fact, I’d forgotten I had these photos of it!  It sure was cool, though.  I’m always worried when I see barns like this, as photogenic as they are.  With such a lean, it’s hard to imagine they’ll be standing for long.

 

Here’s how the lean has progressed.  It’s obvious things are well on their way.  The other side of the roof is missing in places.  I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

 

The barn is part of a really picturesque Fallen Farm that I flew over southeast of Bismarck.  I was so focused on the barn that I almost forgot to look around.

 

There were some other cool buildings in the area, but I only had so much time and battery – and my fingers were getting cold.  Despite the limited flight time I was able to come away with some pretty neat pics!

Cold ones in the fridge

My weekend travels brought me to this little farmstead, where I spent a few pleasant moments with a piece of old farm equipment with the morning sun’s rays streaming from the clouds in the background to the east. Satisfied with our moment together, I turned my attention to the nearby house.

I have a policy of not entering or otherwise tampering with old buildings, but to merely appreciate them from outside. Well, I found myself drawn to the front steps for a quick photo. That’s when I noticed something amusing therein.

The refrigerator in the entry was a happy find. No, I didn’t go in for a closer look, I was happy right here. But given the temperature early Saturday morning, the idea of there being some “cold ones” inside brought a grin to my face.

And as for that old piece of farm equipment? We’ll get to that another time.

Blue

I thought I’d follow up Red with some Blue – although there’s plenty of red brick in this shot, too.  This house is built into a hillside and has a wonderful valley view.  Some of that brilliant blue paint still remains.  One of the houses I grew up in as a kid was painted this same color, by the way.  It really stands out.

Red

Sammy Hagar could not be reached for comment.  Even though most of the prairie grasses and stalks of harvested crops are brown, I was able to find a brilliant red farm under a deep blue sky and with some rich green grass in the yard!  RGB.