Tag Archives: abandoned

Iceland Journal – “Wild Abandon?” – North Iceland

“The greatest loss lies in our inability to accept loss.” 
― Craig D. Lounsbrough

I have a strange fascination with abandoned buildings, always wondering how they became abandoned and the stories they must have to tell when they were somebody’s home.

Along the Ring Road we travelled through Iceland, there are many of these empty shells, some quite ancient, many perched along a lonely mountainside, lost in the vast, empty landscape which is present in much of Iceland. It struck me as emptiness in emptiness.

Take this house, for example. It’s on the shores of the Heiðará river, just past Heiðarfall mountain that dominates yesterday’s image. It sits on a field of the ever present yellow grasses and mosses, along the river, next the main Icelandic highway, with a tall mountain for a backyard. If you look closely, you can see that there must have been patches of garden at one point, given the drainage ditch and rectangular area of grass to the right of the house. The house itself does not look too old and the roof is in good repair, at least from this vantage point. Yet, it’s clearly abandoned.

Who lived here? A solitary sheep farmer or a family? There is easy access to water as well as the road, not to mention that the city of Akureyri, is only a short drive away. I’d love to know the story, but I fear it is lost in time and the wide and wild spaces of Iceland.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 70mm
1/100 sec, f/5.0 ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
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Thursday Doors | June 08, 2017

"Abandoned"

This week’s submission to Norm 2.0‘s Thursday Doors.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world.

“Abandoned”

This image is a far departure from my usual images of stately, ornate doors, yet they are still doors and I found them quite intriguing.

As I was out hiking earlier this year, I came across an abandoned maple sap evaporator, sitting in the middle of a mature forest. It seemed so out-of-place that I had to make a photo of it to show to friends and thought Thursday Doors might be another place to share it.

For those unfamiliar with maple syrup production, the ‘sap’, which is a sweet, watery liquid produced by Sugar Maple trees, is gathered, either in buckets attached to the trees or, for more modern facilities, via a ‘pipeline’ of plastic hoses, and boiled down in an ‘evaporator’, like this one (but not full of holes). A large fire is kept going under the evaporator to boil off most of the water in the maple sap. The remaining syrup, is then further boiled in a smaller finishing tank. At the end of the process, the maple syrup, is about 1/40th the volume of the original sap. So, it takes a lot of sap to produce even a small amount of syrup. This boiling process occurs late February to early March, just as days begin to warm and the sap rises into the tree, which requires cold nights and days above freezing. The cycle usually runs for just over a week.

So, I look at this image and can imagine someone, in days gone by, harvesting the sap and boiling it here in the forest. The tank would likely have been covered or enclosed in a large ‘sugar shack’ to protect the producer from the elements and keep foreign matter from surrounding trees from falling into the evaporator.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/50 sec, f/10.0 ISO 200

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“King of the Hill?”

“King of the Hill?”

“If you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it’s not because they enjoy solitude. It’s because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.”
― Jodi Picoult

I spotted this house on the hill while travelling the highway between San Jose del Cabo and Todos Santos in Baja California Sur, the official name of this state in Mexico which encompasses all of the Baja Peninsula.

Virtually, in the middle of nowhere, stood a solitary house, atop a low hill. It seemed very out of place, so I stopped to make a photo, only to realize, when I zoomed in on it,  that the ‘house’ was in fact, just a shell. I do expect that getting water to this house may also prove a challenge, being at the top of a hill, in the desert.

I noticed that the windows were missing and there was a wooden ladder leading to the second floor. I don’t know the story but it certainly begs asking. Was the house not completed, did recent hurricanes destroy the house and the owner could not afford to restore it (a common situation in the region)? These shells are also a popular roost for squatters, which we experienced even in downtown Cabo San Lucas, where someone has claimed a section on abandoned tuna cannery as their home. Prime real estate.

This house appears even stranger when you look closer and notice that there is a fence surrounding the property, protecting it from possible intrusion.

So, it was either someone’s hilltop kingdom at some point or a dream that was never realized. In any case, it does have a nice view of the ocean, half a kilometer away, on the other side of the highway.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 90 mm
1/400 sec, f/10.0, ISO 200

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Thursday Doors – August 04, 2016

“Abandoned Church” - Bruce County Road 40
 

This week’s submission to Norm 2.0‘s Thursday Doors.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world.

OK, I’m cheating a bit today. This is a closer view of the door to a church I photographed last week and posted earlier today.

It looks like the doors, and the building, have seen better days and I wish I had spend a bit longer looking around and making some interior shots too. It was not till I started processing the image that I noticed the scuff mark on the door, Indicating the the lock has been removed at some time, allowing the locking bar to swing freely.

It’s pretty amazing what nature can do to unattended buildings. The yellow brick is typical in this area, being made from local clay, it takes on the yellow colour rather than the brick-red many of us are used to. There are many old buildings in the area in excellent condition, but without heat in the winter, the building rapidly declines, as frost gets between the bricks and mortar, splitting them apart. I’ve started looking through the county archives to get a bit of history of this unidentified church.

Nikon D300
Tamron 17-50 mm f/2.8 @ 31 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0 ISO 200

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“Abandoned Church” – Bruce County Road 40

“Abandoned Church” - Bruce County Road 40

“The problem with churches of all sorts, is that so often they ignore the key teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, like the doctrine of love. So often we ask God to be on our side instead of asking that we be blessed enough to be on His. That said, the wheat and the tares must grow up together, and in the days of harvest they will be separated properly.”
― David Holdsworth

Another view from my Bruce County road trip and just down the road from the beautiful wheatfield that I photographed earlier.

When I drive past these abandoned buildings, I inevitably find myself asking, “What happened here?”

At some point in it’s history, this would have been an active local church. People would have gathered here on Sundays, met as friends and family, sat through a sermon, and worshipped. And then, suddenly, or gradually, attendance dwindled and the doors closed. Was there discord, did the leadership move away, or were other pastures greener? I’m curious why someone would leave a beautiful building like this to simply decay. What went through the mind of the person who turned off the lights and locked the door, for the last time? Did they ever envision this, or was there a hope to return on some future date?

At this point, I’d say, it’s beyond salvaging.

It sits, forlorn, along the roadside, it’s doors locked with a rusty chain and padlock, most of the glass fallen out of the windows, left to return to the elements. There’s no marker even identifying it. All that remains is a shell of what was and testament to what might have been.

Since posting this originally, I came across the history, if you are interested. It was the Williscroft Baptist Church and closed its doors in the 1960s as did the rest of the town.

Nikon D300
Tamron 17-50 mm f/2.8 @ 31 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0 ISO 200

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“Long Term Parking” – near Boulter, Ontario

“Long Term Parking” - near Boulter, Ontario

“God draws near to the brokenhearted. He leans toward those who are suffering. He knows what it feels like to be wounded and abandoned.”
― John D. Richardson

A scene from along the roadside in rural Ontario.

When I see stuff like this , I wonder what the story is. How did this old car get to its final resting spot under the canopy of the ancient maple. Did it just die there one day? Or was it put there deliberately?

It was tempting to jump the fence for a closer look, but the proximity of the farmhouse made that less of an option. Though, as I write this, I wonder if the owner knows the story and would be willing to share it? Perhaps next time…

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 700 mm
1/160 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200

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“Abandoned” – North Pickering, Ontario

“Abandoned” - North Pickering, Ontario

Near my home is a large tract of land (7,530 hectares) which was expropriated by the federal government in the early 70’s as the site of a future airport. After several decades, the airport is no closer to happening, communities have disappeared and, other than a few residences and farms, most buildings have fallen into such disrepair that they have had to be demolished. For a few years it was even a challenge to photograph on these lands, which are public property, because the private security company hired by the government to patrol the land would frequently stop me and ask what I was doing, even though I had my camera gear clearly visible.

What this history has offered is some vast open tracts of rolling rural landscapes and a few interesting buildings in various stages of decay. I spend quite a bit of time in this area and it has yielded some nice photos which document the transition of this land over the years. There are now less buildings, thicker underbrush, and a generally overgrown appearance. The image above is a fairly typical fall view of the fields and woodlands. Soybeans, ready for harvest grow in the foreground and an abandoned building shows through the overgrown lot. What I found interesting on this fairly dull and overcast day, was the splashes of colour among the tree trunks and branches highlighted by a few rays of sun, offering a nice contrast to dark skies above. It’s one of those moments that’s gone quickly and rarely offers itself again. I also reflect upon the house, knowing people once lived there and wonder what those days may have been like. My mother-in-law’s family had a farm on the airport land, which has long since been demolished and leveled, yet the memories live on. I can’t image what it would be like to go back to the house I grew up in, only to find no trace of it ever existing.

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300mm f/5.6 @ 195mm
1/200 sec @ f/7.1, ISO 200

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