This is a wild looking old barn. It has a long overhang on one side, which seems will inevitably collapse. But it was a great place for a snowdrift this winter. What a uniquely shaped structure, I wonder how it must be configured inside! Sadly, I doubt I’ll ever know.
Props to B-Man for recognizing yesterday’s elevators! I took a quick trip to one of my favorite ghost towns, Arena, to check on this church. The road to it still had chest-deep snow, so I hiked around the back way. Although the foundation has caved in on both sides, the supports in the basement are holding strong and the church looks no worse for wear than it did last year. It’s sagging slightly in the middle, but aren’t we all!
I’d photographed this elevator a number of times before, but never from up in the air. Today was conducive for sUAS flight, so I took advantage of it. I’m recovering from the flu and wisdom tooth surgery, so I was getting cabin fever and figured fresh air would do me good. So did coming home with some nice photos.
One of the challenges of photography during a North Dakota winter is the shadows. The sun is low in the sky, and that makes for some very hard shadows that travel with the sun throughout the day. It also doesn’t seem like we get many partly cloudy days in which one can find a window of diffused sunlight, either. But sometimes those shadows can work to one’s advantage, as in the photo above.
When I set up for this photo, I was really just going through the motions. The reason is that there wasn’t a cloud in the winter sky to break things up or throw some colorful reflections into the sunset. Well, that’s what I thought, anyway. I was pleased to get a splash of all kinds of color as the sun reached the horizon. At one point the barn was blazing with a beautiful gold, and then the blues, purples, and even a touch of reds kicked in.
I haven’t been able to do a whole lot of photography-related stuff lately, so it’s like I’m forgetting the fundamental technique of getting in place and letting the light come to me, and to anticipate great things from God’s creation. I’m glad I got this reminder as I slowly dust off the cobwebs .
I had the opportunity to stop into a former North Dakota town, Aylmer. I suppose that’s how Southerners like my wife say “Elmer”. Anyway, there isn’t much to indicate that the town used to be there except for an old metal sign at the railroad crossing and a few deteriorating buildings.
I remember reading somewhere that this was a combination general store, blacksmith, and something else at one time. I’ve seen photos of it with the roof intact, but sadly those days are long gone. Here you can see a piece of it which the wind has carried quite a ways from the structure.
This was a fantastic trip. I had picked up my kids from camp in my new-used truck, which absolutely loves the back roads. For the weekend I’d clocked around 950 miles, and this was the cherry on top. At some point, although I’m busy as heck at work and with freelance stuff, I’ll have to show more from that weekend. I still have a few more photo targets I hope to visit while we still have some nice weather!
This barn north of Wilton has been a favorite for photographers as long as I can remember. Its location is prime for sunrise and sunset photos, it’s not on posted land, it’s easy to get to, and incredibly photogenic. It’s also on its last legs. I took this photo in July 2010 as I awaited the sunset.
As you can see from another perspective, this is a beautiful old barn from any angle. The signs of age were already there, however…note the lean. This does not bode well. There was actually a large timber bracing it at this point.
Two years later, in August 2012, the stone had already collapsed and the body of the barn had settled into the ground. On this dreary, rainy day it looked as if it had given a grand sigh and slumped into place, resigned to its fate.
Almost exactly four years after my original photo, in July 2014, it shows signs of the wood weakening further. Parts of the wall are falling away and sunlight streams through from one end to the other.
Last weekend, August 2016. Much of this barn could be best described as “skeletal remains”. The roof remains intact, but the walls are failing. The floor looks pretty good, but it no longer has much shelter from the elements. This may be the swan song for my favorite barn…I fear if I wait another two years, there won’t be much left to compare to that original photo from 2010.
If you’re like me, one of the local photography hobbyists who has fond memories of this old barn, I urge you to head north soon. Sadly, I don’t think we have much time left with it…but from a photographic standpoint, it’s served us well.
So there I was, blazing down a county road in the new truck, trying out the dynamic stability control from time to time (cool!), trying to reach the first of two abandoned prairie churches I wanted to investigate and photograph that evening. As I dove through a valley I noticed this beautiful old farmstead nestled in the trees along a hill to the east. Wow! I just had to stop and shoot a quick shot from the road (I mark them in my hiking GPS for future reference).
As you can see in the background, the sunset was already starting to develop, splashing color across the sky. I didn’t have time to do this site justice, so I filed it for later and moved on…but I will definitely be taking another look at it in the future. This breathtaking site has loads of potential!
Oh yes, the photos of the two churches turned out quite nicely. You’ll see those soon.