Spring is really the best time to visit this place. In the winter (at least this past winter) snow can be a serious impediment. And in summer and into fall, there is an unfortunate sapling growing right up against the north side of the house that leafs out, creating a significant bushy distraction.
Here is one of the first photos of the farm house that I took this year, on a bright and sunny morning.
The house faces east, and the sun was nicely lighting up that side of the house. One of the great features of this place is that there are simply no distractions in the background--no utility poles or wires, no other structures to distract from the house itself. I say that last with one major caveat: This was a working farm, and there are numerous outbuildings, including a barn and silo. Those are to the north of the house, and that is why I kept finding myself shooting toward the southwest. There are a couple of small outbuildings directly to the southwest of the house, but I can generally "hide" those behind the house. The problem I see with this shot is that it is too upbeat. The house is a shambles, but it almost looks inviting in this shot.
Here is a similar shot that I converted to a black & white.
Now this is a bit better. And I thought the clouds added some interest to the shot. But overall it still seems too "positive."
So a couple of days later I returned to try again.
In this case, in addition to converting the shot to a black & white, I also darkened the nearly cloudless sky and darkened the exposure a bit. I thought this worked well, particularly because the sunlight striking the front of the house contrasted nicely with the darkened sky.
Here is similar shot that I cropped more linearly.
I like this shot because it emphasizes the empty area around the house, enhancing its abandoned quality. The big drawback to this shot is that pesky little sapling in the left portion of the image. For a moment I even considered cutting it down, but then thought better of it. I know that in Photoshop there is a way to remove the sapling, but I don't have the technical skill (or patience) to handle that.
And then there was the toilet.
I don't know how it got there. It certainly wasn't there last year. (I would have remembered that.) I did "cheat" just a little on this shot. The toilet was lying on its side and I admit to standing it upright and lifting the lid (using my foot and not my hand, by the way). A novelty shot.
And here is another novelty shot of the house that I took through a glass-block window in the dairy barn.
Here I focused not on the house but on the seams between the glass blocks. There were some dead vines that complicated the composition, but I didn't think they distracted from the overall effect. I shot this at f/14, which increased the depth of field. But because I was so close to the window, the house was thrown somewhat out of focus. However, I thought that actually added to the shot. My only regret is that I didn't leave enough of the seam on the far right when I took the shot. Still, I did like this shot.