When the clouds are on your side

This barn sits south of Mandan, beckoning to me every time I’m near St. Anthony.  Of course, the correct pronunciation is more like “Snatnee” – sometimes even with some h’s in there for good Cherman measure – but I won’t get mired in the details.


Some mornings I like a blazing sunset, washing the landscape with brilliant color.  But overcast mornings have their way of bringing out color, too.  First off, there are none of the hard shadows of that piercing sunrise light.  Second, the muted tones lend themselves very well to the color already present.

I’m glad I had the clouds on my side when these photos were taken.  Much of the detail of a beautiful barn like this one would be lost in shadows, and I wouldn’t have been able to photograph both sides of it in one sitting!

Dark history on the hill

This is an interesting old farm, simply because of the backstory.  According to something I read about this property earlier this summer, it was the site of a murder-suicide.  Two contentious brothers were found dead of gunshot wounds, one in the house and one outside by the water tank.

The story goes on to say that the brothers didn’t believe in banks, and they were rumored to have buried $30,000-$40,000 somewhere on the property.  The money has never been found, although it’s possible another relative took the money with them before leaving the farm.

This farmstead is built into the side of a hill, and it’s quite scenic indeed.  One of my fascination with places like this is the fact that they each have an untold story, so it’s interesting to get a little bit of a glimpse into the background of this cool farm.

A different corner

Yeah, that’s a song title reference I never thought I’d make.  This old corner is on a shuttered school house that my wife and I encountered on a recent photo journey.  The kids were at camp, so we got to run around with cameras until midnight!  Ain’t love grand?


This is the old school house.  The corner is on the left of this photo.  We were actually just getting started when we came across this building, and it was the beginning of a very fruitful photography day.

I’m guessing it’ll take me into winter to start processing the photos I’ve been able to acquire over the summer.  I’d had some dry spells in recent memory, but this summer made up for everything.  I doubt I’ll be as busy this winter as last, so there will be plenty of time to share new images!

Heat haze

Here are a couple more shots from Friday, when I didn’t let the haze of smoke from fires in Montana, Canada, et cetera get in the way of a great photo day.  I’m actually starting to like the drab background it provides, without any cloud distractions and the change to the color cast of the light in the foreground.


Take this shot, for example.  I was going to post it later on its own with something about “leaning” in the title, but it is actually a great example of the diffused light provided by the haze.  And, just like a previous photo, the color of the otherwise drab building stands out against the gray background better than a brilliant September blue.

More to come!  I went out thinking the light was giong to kill any chance of good photos but came home with a whole pack of candidates.

Oh yeah…the post title comes from this dreamy song by Walls… a wonderful little instrumental track just perfect for roaming the North Dakota countryside.

Like Golden Swirls

I’m naturally attracted to various “fallen farms”, but sometimes they surprise me with something else nearby that catches my eye.  This wheat field, for instance, had some really cool geometry.  The way the rows curved along the hill and around this old house was really neat, so I figured I’d try a few angles.


The swirls actually kinda remind me of when I was doing tile installation, as my glue pattern would have little swaths like this.


Gold and blue always go well together, don’t you think?  Throw in the remains of this farmstead for accent, and you’ve got a pretty straightforward photo opportunity.


As much as I liked the colors, I decided to go all monochrome for a second and do this angle.  I’ve traveled past this particular photo spot numerous times, but I’m glad I finally stopped and investigated this time around.

On a curve

I caught this Fallen Farm structure out of the corner of my eye in a spot where I thought I’d already found all there is to see.  I got a chance to revisit a lot of familiar photography territory lately, places rich in waypoints on my GPS, and there were plenty of pleasant surprises.  This is the first one I get to share with you.

A hut with a view

I’m not talking about Pizza Hut, Jabba the Hutt, or even the hut one of Barack Obama’s more famous half-brothers lives in.  This little structure (and the shelter/cellar behind it) caught my eye the other day, and I couldn’t have asked for a nicer summer sky for a backdrop.  The water in the backyard didn’t hurt, either.

Lean into it

No, I’m not talking about the album by Mr. Big.  I’m talking about a couple of wooden structures I discovered on Friday’s photo trip.  This first shot was pretty cool, with a little bit of everything contained within a gap in the tree rows.


This building actually looks like it’s leaning uphill, although it sits on level ground.  I can’t help but wonder how long it’s had this angle, or how long it’ll continue to stay upright.  I’ve kept an eye on other small structures like this, and none still remain upright.  So it’s best to get out there and photograph them while they’re still around!

Some settling may occur

I’ve been wanting a photo of this old barn along Highway 36 for quite some time, and last weekend I was able to take the opportunity.  I was buzzing around in the area and came upon this site, and had just enough time to take a few photos before jetting to the next location according to my timetable.

I had spent some time in Wilton but, due to my schedule, I did not check on a more famous falling barn: the one northwest of town along Highway 83.  I’ll get back to that one another time.

That house on the hill

If you’re trying to figure out a music-lyric reference for the title of this post, I have to admit it exists.  The phrase jumped into my subconscious from Fleetwood Mac’s “Big Love”.  Wow.  That one was buried deep.


This little farm sits on a hill overlooking a pretty darn rural vista.  No power lines.  None of those horrible subsidy-sucking wind turbines. Even the road is a long, long ways away.  Perfect, as far as I’m concerned.  And what a beautiful sunny day for a photo!