Sunday, February 19, 2012


Recently, I thought I had spotted what looked like an abandoned house about three miles north of my home.  The house was set back quite far from the road and there was abundant overgrown shrubbery that further obscured it.  I wasn't sure if it was truly abandoned or if someone might be living there (who might not take kindly to me or my camera).  Ultimately, I decided to see what might be available, hoping to make a quick exit if someone appeared with a shotgun.  Not to worry: there was a cable across what had been the driveway, accompanied by two or three no trespassing signs.  It seemed evident that no one had been there for some time.  Nevertheless, out of prudence, I decided to park my car some ways down the road from the driveway.  The property proved to be what had been a farm house, along with barn, silos, and other outbuildings, that probably had not been occupied in at least 30 years, perhaps much longer.

The great thing about the house was that there was nothing "artificial" behind it--no utility poles, no power lines, no other homes or other structures--just open fields and a line of trees that appeared to be perhaps half a mile away.  There was an outbuilding directly behind and to the left of the house but in many of the shots I was able to position the camera so that the outbuilding was hidden by the house. Here is one of the first shots that I took.

I took this from a low angle to include some of the weeds that were as high as six feet.  The angle made the house appear to "loom" a bit, which I liked.  Here are a couple more shots that I took on my first visit.

I was not comfortable going into the house, in part because of the many no trespassing signs that graced the property and in part because I was not sure of the physical integrity of the house.  I did take a shot of paint peeling off one of the house's doors that I turned into a B&W.

After the first visit, I decided to return the next morning because I wanted to catch the early morning light--the house faced east.  I was pretty happy with the results.  Here are a few of the shots.

I thought these shots worked well as B&Ws also.

One thing I was able to do with the B&Ws in post precessing was to darken the sky, accentuating the few clouds.  I particularly like the shot that is cropped in a more horizontal fashion.

Here is another shot of the north side of the house.  Note the no trespassing sign.

I think the cause of the long streaks extending from below the roof is tar that had dripped down from the asphalt roofing at some point in the past.

And here is a closer shot of the house's front porch.  Inviting, eh?

I also took some photos from directly in front of the house.  Here is a shot that includes the outbuilding to the left of the house as you face it.  Again, I cropped this as more of a horizontal shot.

Both of these photos illustrate how "clean" the scene is behind the house.

I decided to go back for a third visit the next day, with the thought that I would take some shots from the left side as one faces the house, to emphasize more the front porch.  When I returned, I realized why I had not done this on the first two days.  There are a barn and other outbuildings behind the house and to the right that are brought into play by positioning the camera on the porch side.  Here is one of those shots that I made into a B&W.

Again, I darkened the sky, which I feel adds a little drama to the composition.

Finally, here are a couple of shots of the barn and other outbuildings, including one that I converted to B&W.

I was drawn by the round lines of the barn roof, other outbuilding roof, and silo peaking over the top of the barn.  

After three days, the only reason I would return would be to take shots of the interior of the house and possibly the barn.  I would like to get permission from the owner to do that, but I'm not sure how to make contact.


  1. I really like the first long-and-short image, in color, with the building on the right! Great post overall, and that one image in particular I think is outstanding.

  2. Hi, I love your photos and would like to speak to you about borrowing one of them for a theatre production in the UK. It's a small club theatre which you can read about on our website: Our deadline to find a suitable image is Tuesday 29th January so it would be great if we could speak further before then. Please contact me on and we can talk more about this project and I can tell you exactly what we're thinking about and answer any questions you have. Looking forwards to hearing from you.


  3. I note there is an error in the email address above for which I apologise. It should be