Tag: black and white

29 Feb

On a Forgotten Farm Where One Car Have “Gone to Pieces”

The past several photos I shared from the old swamp full of abandoned vehicles, near the Fort Ransom County farm in North Dakota had a few things in common, they were mostly whole. The remains of this car is not the case and has certainly “Gone to Pieces.” The tall grass definitely takes up a majority of the photo, with only parts of the vehicle sticking out from below. They are truly nested and over grown within the grass, creating a stark contrast in textures.

The second vehicle in the background hints to how it could have appeared before. I photographed everything with a tripod, 100 ISO black & white film and f22, because I wanted to capture every detail clearly, from the background to every blade of grass.

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27 Feb

Enjoying the View From “Behind the Wheel”

This photograph captured at the abandoned Fort Ransom County farm continued my study of the swamp of abandoned vehicles behind the farm. The unusual perspective of the dashboard “Behind the Wheel” of this old Chrysler minus the interior roof and door created a vision of this out-of-place view of their expected norms.

The challenge of this shot was to capture most of the dark place beneath the dashboard, while maintaining the detail but not blow out the light colored tall grass behind it. I learned early on, especially with shooting film, the value of bracketing photos with slight changes in camera settings in order to find the one shot that lights the subjects perfectly.

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22 Feb

My Eerie Fascination With My Photograph “Overgrown”

This particular photograph is by far my favorite of all the photos I captured at the abandoned Fort Ransom County,  North Dakota farm. This old classic car left empty and abandoned truly epitomizes all the vehicles I found there, buried in the tall grass like a relic from a time long past.

The smooth black metal created a high contrast to the rough, faded grass surrounding this old car. Apart from the physical details of the image, it also seems to tell a story and sparks the imagination like most classic cars do. What did the car look like when it was new? Was it some young person’s first car?

This photo always reminded me of the Stephen King movie “Christine” about a demon-possessed car that look much like this one. To me, there was always some sort of eerie and haunting sense about this photograph that continues to instilled a curiosity, even 25 years later. Some photographs can really stick with you years later, and this one does with me.

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20 Feb

The Haunted Discovery and Capture of “At a Dash”

A good distance behind the abandoned Fort Ransom County farm I discovered in North Dakota, I found a somewhat mysterious collection of abandoned vehicles in a swamp. The cars were is various degrees of being catabolized for parts and buried in the North Dakota tall grass.

Some of my favorite photos from this farm are from this area. I always found this discovery stunning and apocalyptic. “At a Dash” captures this dashboard of an old Chrysler surrounded by the light shaded dried grass of the field and swamp area. There was almost a haunted nature to this area and I tried to capture that aspect on my black & white film.

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08 Feb

A “Sleeping Giant” at the End of Its Road

Before North Dakota I really only took pretty straight forward, simple tourist type photographs with my 35mm film camera. Occasionally, I’d shoot people, like family on a vacation or something like that. I did go through a period of photographing foreign and exotic sports cars on the street in St.Louis in the mid 1980’s when I was in high school. However, this was very far removed from those days.

These relics of an age long past were fossils of steel and glass, and instinctively I thought it important to capture them where they lay. In the big sky sun resting in the tall grass, there was a tranquil silence to them. There were other vehicles I captured in their final position, but this “Sleeping Giant” was the first. The motorized workhorse now at peace.

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06 Feb

The “Shattered” Past and Announcing February’s FREE Print Winner

While exploring the abandoned Fort Ransom farm I discovered a few vehicles from what looked like the 1950’s. This “Shattered” truck window made for an interesting border to the photograph, while it added the texture of broken glass while gazing through into the farm’s field. This was symbolic of the decay and dismantling from time and the elements I found throughout the farm’s implements and structures.

The ghostly haze in the top portion of the broken glass window also added a kind of mystery as it was not in the rest of the window.

I would like to announce that the winner of my FREE 8″ x 10″ photographic print for Feb. 1st was Barb from Oregon. She will be receiving her print by mail soon.

I will be drawing another name from my Newsletter Subscriber list on March 1st, and will be giving away another FREE 8″ x 10″ photographic print. Be sure to Subscribe for your chance to win one of my FREE prints.

01 Feb

When All Signs of Life Are Gone, All We Have Left Are the “Remains of a Day”

In exploring the old Fort Ransom farm, I made a point of capturing still life images of objects where I found them. I did not remove anything or setup any props. I wanted to capture the objects as time and the elements placed them. “Remains of a Day” epitomizes this goal.

This photograph captured along side one of the houses shows the remains of a barrel, most likely used to collect rain water. Also the chair is found where it tipped over and then was overgrown by the North Dakota tall grass. Like the stories of how the desert reclaims its cover and control over time, the same is true with the tall grass in North Dakota. Again, the similar cracked textures of the dried grass and the cracked wood compliment each other in their aged condition through the format of black and white film.

Later Today I will be selecting a winner of one of my FREE prints from my email list of subscribers. I will contact them via email and announce the winner in my next News posting.

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30 Jan

“Stove and Straw” Shows Textured Contrast in Black and White Photography

One of the aspects of black and white photography where it truly excels is in the area of capturing textures. Sometimes without the distraction of color, black and white photographs can almost take on a 3d appearance. This was my exercise in capturing the “Stove and “Straw.” The cast iron stove created a stark textured contrast between the iron and the tall grass with which it has stood for decades.

This abandoned Fort Ransom farm in southeastern North Dakota was my photographic classroom for 6 long years and longer. From still life to landscape subjects, and even the occasional low light captures, it provided a great opportunity with countless subjects to choose.

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25 Jan

The “Wooden Wagon” Captures the Remains of This Piece of Farming History

Over the past 26 years, my capture of this old “Wooden Wagon” has been one of my more popular photographs. The texture of the old faded and cracked wood, contrasted with the tall grass gives an almost 3d effect in black and white.

This old wagon was prominent in the field of the old homestead. Most likely used to carry grain, manure, or other such uses made this an important asset to the farm and its sustainability. This would have been a wagon initially used by drawn horses, and maybe later pulled by a motorized tractor until the wood was too old and brittle to function anymore. This was an important piece of agricultural history and serves as an example how old technology gives way to new in all areas of our everyday lives.

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23 Jan

The Erie Haunt of the “The Homestead”

Past the overgrown driveway of the Fort Ransom “Guarding Gate” lies “The Homestead. ” It consists of 3 full size houses, each one larger than the next. The haunted, open-air windows no longer held any glass, as only the harsh North Dakota elements and ghosts of the past now resided here.
The floors were unstable with an eerie warping of the wood which gave a surreal appears to the structures. In the smaller house parts of the floor had given way to reveal the cistern well below, as a small piano held on at the edge of the living room. One of the creepiest sights was a kitchen table set for a meal, covered with decades of dust where the resident never came back.
I almost always visited this location alone. When I discovered that under the floor of one of the houses was a cistern well with an unknown depth, I did not risk entering any of the homes. For if I fell through the floor, there would be no one coming to help.

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