No more tuning in

I don’t go in old buildings when I find them. That’s a personal rule. I’ve only ever made one exception to that, and I’m not doing it again. I do it for a couple of reasons: safety and respect. So when it comes to this photo, I can assure you that I poked my camera through a window while standing outside, and did not venture into the house itself.

This set comes from an era of small, rounded screens; tubes and dials; and only a few analog channels. It also comes from an era of plaster walls, solid wood doors, and hardwood floors. Progress comes with good and bad, I suppose.

St. Petri Ruins

These are the remnants of St. Petri Church, nestled in northern Kidder County. I never did get up there in time to see it, although I’m sure it was a fantastic little church. Google Earth imagery shows it intact in 2013, but the next pass in 2017 shows it leveled. I’m not sure what happened to it…I’ll have to ask around.

Sadly, the little church lies in a heap along a gravel road, with its cemetery nearby. I knew that the building had fallen before coming up here, but I still had to see for myself.

The walls are laid over and/or strewn about, the roof partially crushed, and there’s no more little square steeple anymore, either.

The grounds look well maintained. I didn’t have time to check the dates on any of the markers in the cemetery to see how recently anyone has been buried here.

It’s such a shame that this church had to meet such a demise. It looks like a storm of some sort probably hit it – microburst, or – dare I say it – a small tornado?

It’s strange, seeing the walls laid flat like this. It really does look like a mighty wind came along and simply toppled the structure.

Here’s one of the walls. You can see the outline of the foundation as well.

There was a little outbuilding to the west, but that hasn’t survived, either.

There are lakes all around this area, and it’s really pretty. This nice, green grass is something we won’t be seeing for a while; as I write this, there’s an arctic cold mass heading our way which is expected to last for a little while. But at least we don’t have tick or mosquito problems right now!

This isn’t the only little church I’ve missed out on; the resources I use to find these have shown me plenty of plots where a church obviously stood at one time, but now is gone. And just as I’d been told about one northeast of here last fall, I received another email to tell me that it had just burned. These landmarks are vanishing quickly, and I wish I had the gas money to roam around and find them all before it’s too late.

Running out of angles

I’ve photographed this building from all over the place, including the air, and I’ve taken photos while hanging off of its roof on multiple occasions. So I struggle with trying to find something different each year. I don’t think I’ve tried this one, so it seems like a suitable way to ring in the new year.

My top 18 of ’18

I suppose it’s time to pause and reflect on “last year”, so let’s look at some of my favorite photos from 2018. I haven’t been able to get out with my cameras lately, and it’s driven me absolutely nuts, but I did actually produce hundreds of photos I like during the year. I posted 148 of them on my blog, the rest being part of projects I’m still working on. Here we go:

My beautiful bride actually took this one with her cell phone. We love lighting up them windows on the capitol tower, and the Bison gave us a grand reason to do so!

I took this photo (and a 360 panorama of it, if you check my Facebook page) down by Hazelton. It’s gone now…razed later in the spring.

We had a brief period where there was a ton of frost each morning, so I was able to work the Bismarck-Mandan area pretty hard and grab a variety of frost photos. This is among my favorites.

Every now and then I even nab a pretty decent shot on my lunch break! This was one more from the frost collection.

This is one of Mandan’s best kept secrets. I’ve lived in the Bismarck-Mandan area on and off for forty years and didn’t know it was hiding right here!

Then there are these ice chunks, left behind by ice fishermen, on Harmon Lake. Combined with just the right North Dakota sky, of course…

I did manage to do a fair bit of flying this year, which is the best way to get shots of barns like this one. That’s quite a lean. I’ll need to revisit it and see how it looks a year later. Hopefully it still stands.

The old Berlin Baptist Church northeast of Ashley was purchased by a private party and was in the process of being dismantled when I stopped by. I don’t know if the work was completed over the summer. Too bad…this looks like it was a breathtaking building before. Right on the lake, too.

I got soaked walking out to this shot, but at least I came back without a single tick crawling on me, despite it being the peak of the season.

Hootie the owl
I had big plans for a relationship with Hootie, the young owl who took up residency in my friends’ tree. Sadly, I never saw him again after the day this was taken. They sold the house and moved away, and Hootie moved on as well.

If you’ve followed this blog at all in the past, you know that I have had a thing for windmills. Not as much in 2018, but I did get this shot. I had my oldest boy with me along with the camera I bought for him to help me on these trips.

I spotted this while flying around northeast of town. You’d never know it was there if looking from the ground. And the sun and clouds decided to play along.

I’m not sure if this church is still holding regular services, but it is being maintained. And I loved the colors in the steeple – they were a wonderful suprise.

Another product of flight. I’m not sure, but I think I was slightly closer to Montana than I was to Canada…but I was in the extreme northwestern part of our great state when I discovered this guy. I have some other wild photos from this area that I’ll post as part of another project someday.

Featured recently from a different angle, this is one of my favorite barns of 2018. I spotted it in east-central North Dakota while working my way from Harvey to Fargo using “the creative route”. I love to roam, after all.

I missed my chance to shoot this windmill west of Harmon Lake in the way I’d always wanted; neighborhoods have sprung up on all sides, and the farmstead it sits upon has been dismantled. But I did get this westward angle just after sunset, and that’ll have to do. So many of these opportunities are disappearing.

This little house – I know it looks like a barn, but it’s not – sits near Danzig Dam. I didn’t have much time to investigate, just enough to dash out there, fly around a little bit, and get home in time for some family stuff. I’m glad I found it.

This house sits northeast of town quite a ways, and was something I’d been hunting for quite a while after seeing a historical photo of it. I have many angles of it, and most feature its most distinctive feature: the overhand above the remains of the porch. This isn’t necessarily my favorite, but it demonstrates what made this house catch my eye. I’ll be going back here…I ran out of sunlight when I arrived this fall, and the sunset began shortly after I pulled up.

So that’s it: if I had to pick eighteen of my favorites, I think this is how I’d roll. I have so many more that I’d love to shoehorn in, including different angles of the ones already featured above, but I’ll try to trickle those out as future blog posts in the future. Here’s to 2019, may it be even more productive from a photography standpoint than last year! If I can wrangle more gas money, I think we’ll be set. I have big plans…