Archive for the ‘rurex’ Tag

Through the Glass   9 comments


Through the Glass

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Continuing on with the series from the abandoned farmhouse in North Carolina, I found an interesting composition through a door sidelight in the front hallway, looking back toward the kitchen, pantry and other rooms at the back of the house.

One has to tread very carefully through here; the right side of the house is pretty much missing, and the best path is to balance-beam along the floor joists.

Of compositional note: The original frames were much wider, but when I cropped this to something close to a 9:16 format, it just popped.

Related Posts:

Through the Bedroom Window
Inside Lines
Purity of Intention

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Through the Bedroom Window   2 comments


Through the Bedroom Window
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Although the abandoned farmhouse sits directly on road frontage, if you look out the back windows, there are farm fields about as far as the eye can see.

I tried to imagine what life must have been like in this area so many years ago. There was likely very little traffic, no airplanes overhead, no air conditioners humming. Perhaps the owner was rumbling along the fields in an old tractor; kids out back playing under the huge trees that have long since fallen; the matriarch of the family calling to them through this back window, the breeze fluttering the curtains. Time to come in and wash up for dinner.

It’s eerily quiet there now, except for the occasional passing car. The farmhouse has melted away, but I suspect not the memories that the residents had of living and growing up here.

Related Images:

Inside Lines

Purity of Intention

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Inside Lines   5 comments


Inside Lines

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I entered the abandoned farmhouse featured in “Purity of Intention”, entering not through the front door, but through a window in the room on the right, as Jeff had shown me. Often, due to weathering, the front porch is the first thing to fail on these old houses. I tested the porch floor, and although I had on my heavy boots and clothes, I knew that it was not to be trusted.

Moving carefully from room to room, I looked for the opportunities. One of the first to appear was this view from the back of the central hallway toward the front; the play of light and shadow was compelling, bringing in both a comfortable feel as well as some genuine spookiness. The lines from the stacked boards, the ceiling, and the exposed beams all converged on the front door. The house also showed that the owners had a sense of decorating style, as the blue, green, and yellow paint were all visible from one spot.

Jeff had already removed some materials from inside. The rest, no doubt, was likely the result of vandalism.

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Purity of Intention   10 comments


Purity of Intention

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Across rural North Carolina, old abandoned buildings are either being taken down, or are in an advanced state of decay. Whether they’re removed to make way for one of the new “house farms” that spring up in open fields, or are simply left to melt into the landscape, these testaments to a former, quieter time are becoming much harder to find.

Let me correct that: There are still a number of them out there, but they’re often inaccessible due to being on private property, or sitting in the middle of a vast field with no roads leading up to them.

This one is an exception.

Recently, my friend Jeff Garvey (‘Recycling is for the Birds’ on Facebook) gained unfettered access to this old farmhouse. You may remember my mentioning Jeff, a good man who finds these buildings and with the owner’s permission, dismantles them carefully. He totes the wood and bling back to his workshop where he makes incredible birdhouses using the old materials. Every Saturday morning you can find him at the local farmer’s market with a full display of unique creations. Some of them are truly functional art; others will never see the outdoors because they’re simply too beautiful to give to the birds. (You’ll see one of his better ones soon.)

I spent about four hours alone in and around this beautiful old house. One has to move very carefully… at one point on an upper floor I almost dropped through to the bottom floor. Free access allowed me to spend the necessary time to view, set up, and really soak in what this place is about. From this outside view, we’ll go inside for a few images.

In talking with Jeff about my experience there, I could see the concern on his face as I told him of possible damage done by vandals and pilferers. Some people need to bust brick, I suppose, and others will take glass door knobs, hardware, and insulators so that they can get 50 cents at a flea market. They find little value in these things, and they don’t approach such a place with any sense of respect.

Jeff is different. He loves these old places, and finds a purpose in giving them new life as birdhouses and decorations, so that others can enjoy these relics anew. It’s very important to him; it’s his purpose. There is a purity of intention that I appreciate – I consider it an honor to be able to help him capture the old beauty before it’s gone forever.

Associated Posts:

They Leave The Nest So Early An old school in Arapahoe being dismantled by Jeff.

A Mother’s Kiss One of Jeff’s creations in action “in the wild.”

Grandfather’s Legacy The story of our first visit with Jeff.

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School’s Out, Bigthes!   6 comments


School's Out, Bigthes!

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I suppose whoever painted the end wall might have been served by staying in school a bit longer.

Where I live, we don’t get a chance to shoot “Urbex” very often, as Rural best defines this area. I’ll admit to a bit of professional jealousy when I see photos from my friends shooting in cities, abandoned warehouse and mills, and other places that demand a backpack full of Purell hand sanitizer.

Well, I found one. Even here.

I was returning from a shoot recently when I noticed a dilapidated complex of buildings just off the road, but mostly hidden behind overgrown foliage. I went back to investigate. It was an old elementary school with a perfect setup: All doors were off their hinges; there wasn’t a single No Trespassing sign to be found; and I had my good, heavy boots on.

Mad respect for my Urbex friends. This stuff isn’t easy. Inside, there were many hazards to avoid. In places it was pitch-dark. And I was alone. When you go through a place like this, it’s about more than finding interesting angles and vignettes – it’s a mood, a creepy feeling of the lives and experiences that were once here. Every little sound causes a bit of a shiver up the spine. Then you start thinking… Is there something here I don’t want to see? What if a rat nibbles on me? What compelled vandals to trash this place?, the fun of breaking stuff, or an utter hatred for their school-prison?

I left the building and was bathed with bright sunshine and fresh air. Enough creep in one day for an Urbex rookie.

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They Leave the Nest So Early…   7 comments


They Leave the Nest So Early...

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My friend, Jeff Garvey, invited me out to an abandoned schoolhouse near Arapahoe, N.C. Jeff reclaims old buildings slated for demolition, and repurposes the wood and materials to make absolutely delightful birdhouses that reflect the character of old N.C.

After taking this frame from the second story, I went downstairs to look for more trouble.

I could hear a lot of chirping on the first floor. It seemed that multiple birds were inside. A mother wren was making quite a racket, frenetically flying back and forth among the rafters of the schoolhouse. Following the source of all the chirping, I found a dilapidated nest on the floor near a pile of lumber, and two very young baby birds nearby… the source of the commotion.

Jeff knew what to do, so I called him in for a look. He put the nest back where it belonged, tucked it into the rafters, and then picked up the kids and carefully placed them back in the nest. “Mom” was pleased, although she still put up a fuss as we backed out of the room.

(Please don’t worry about handling baby birds in a situation like this. The parents will NOT abandon them. Birds have a limited sense of smell and cannot detect human scent. That old advice we learned as kids turns out to be a myth.)

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Above is Nikon D600, Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8, f/8 at 24mm, nine frames with Promote Control, merged to 32-bit in Photomatix Pro, adjusted in Adobe Camera Raw, then Photoshop for luminosity masking and other adjustments.

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Deere Prudence   10 comments


Deere Prudence

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It’s prudent to be mindful of your surroundings when you’re out exploring.

Always on the lookout for good locations, we passed by this scene and I couldn’t help but note the John Deere tractor parked next to an old shed. The placement looked idyllic – a perfect setup.

We turned around in a driveway down the street and came back for the shot. The tractor and sheds were set back from the road quite a ways, and I wanted to get closer. But, a small, abandoned house was just to the right, and there was a prominent, hand-painted sign hung on an old tree that conveyed a clear message: “No Trespassing.” The driveway where we had just turned around was for a newer house, and as is often the case, the newer digs are built off to the side while these old beauties dissolve into the landscape.

The whole setup was just creepy enough that I didn’t choose to find the owner for permission, and I sure didn’t think it was a good idea to go any further onto the property. People can get ornery around here when you mess with their stuff.

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Processed as an HDR image with texture overlay and sepia toning via Silver Efex Pro. I wanted to create deep, mysterious shadows on the edges while maintaining a lighted path for the eye to travel to the tractor. Hopefully, the overall effect gives the viewer the same trepidatious feeling I had when taking the shot.

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