BLUE HERON

There is something about these long legged birds.  They are so graceful to watch.

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The Blue Heron is one of my favorite birds.  We see a lot of them around here but I usually don’t have my camera or he gets away to fast.  Not this time.  He was a very photogenic bird.  We started our photo session on one side of the bay, he walked across to the other side on the edge of the ice and stayed here until I left.

Spring is a great time to shoot birds in our area.  We have the heron, loon and all sorts of ducks that stop by on their fly over my little part of the South and they make their way North.

SCHOOLS OUT FOREVER

This school is located on private property.  Most of my fellow abandoned seekers will know this location and have more than likely been to this site already.

This school district was established formally in the Spring of 1885 and the first school was built for a minimal $440.00. The first name requested for the school was Maple Leaf but it was rejected as another school was already named so.  There were 10 children enrolled in the school and the first teacher was Mr. Thomas Atkinson.  A new school was built in 1905/6, the old one being remodeled as a house which was completely destroyed in 1942. The present school building dates from 1906, when a one-room structure was built of concrete blocks, a building material unique to the early twentieth century.  The district was dissolved in January 1967 and at one point the school was said to be used as a granary.

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I don’t know a whole lot about this property except for what I have found online and through the town’s history book.  I found out about it many years ago from my neighbor who attended the school and posted a photograph of herself in front of it on her Facebook page.  She told me the location and for many years I had the info tucked away and finally went there in May to check it out.

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I wish I could have seen this place when the bell tower was still attached.

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This is another place that I will revisit as my experience grows.

 

This is another site that I will revisit and reshoot.

FIELD OF DREAMS

First thing I must add is that this building is on private property.  So if you happen to find it, please be sure that you get permission before entering onto the property.

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The first school district this school was built for was organized on May 16, 1885.  Trustees were appointed and the school was built for $500.00.  When the school opened in 1886 the first teacher was Mrs. Rae Richardson and the enrollment was 17.  It consolidated with a bigger school district in 1968.  The last teacher at the school had 7 students.

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After I’ve visited a site, I needed to know its history.  Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes not.  This school was and is still well known for its baseball team.  I was fortunate enough to find plenty of info in the town’s history book.  The teams that played out of here were very successful and good.

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I imagine myself back here one night when the sky is clear attempting to take night shots of this history filled building surrounded by stars.  I must also say it looks amazing with the sunset in the background.

I love this old school and the landowner has welcomed me to keep taking photos here.

BELLAFIELD CHURCH

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This is one of the first places I ventured out to to.  I had no idea that this was here and it was actually a friend that told me about it.  I took my daughter with me.  Its a neat little place but to be honest with you, I wasn’t sure what I was expecting or what I should take photos of.  I need to go back, I need to go inside and I need to recapture this place.  Since these photos were taken I think I’ve grown as a photographer and will be the first to tell you that these are not great shots.

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There is a lot written about this Church in the history books for this area but I think this sign outside sums it up pretty well.  My understanding is that this church still holds a yearly service but I don’t know if that is accurate or not.  Whoever takes care of this place does an amazing job.  It is in very good condition and the area is well kept.

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I would love to try to shoot this at night, one day.  And I’ll go inside.  I think this would also be the perfect place to take pictures of your special day.

AND SO IT BEGINS

So in April I attended a course put on by Chris Atrell.   He had me take my camera off auto and push buttons.  I sat through the theory part of the course but did not attend the night shoot as I did not have a tripod.  I figured I had taken enough away from the evening and that when I was ready, I would do the course again and learn the night photography part of it.  I went away excited and ready to figure out this camera once and for all.

I spent a few evenings at the beach taking photos of the sunset and the birds.  I could play with my exposure and depth of field and all the other buttons and it wouldn’t matter what happened.  So that’s what I did.  I hauled my bag out and sat there with a good friend who shares the same interest as me but her too, never has had the time to learn the ins and outs of her camera. We bounced ideas off each other and different settings.

If you’ve never been, sit with Chris through one of his courses, his photography is incredible, to me anyway cause he to loves the old abandoned houses. He has so many tricks for night photography and he sure knows how to find all those old abandoned homes. The thing I really like about Chris is that he delivers his information in a way that doesn’t scare you, it excites you and it makes you want to try and do what he does.  He walks around the class, checks to make sure you’re where he is and if you can’t figure it out, he’ll do it for you.  I think the other thing that I liked about him is that I was interested in what he was interested in, the abandoned homes, etc and as I said, he delivers it in a way that is easy to understand.

The course also made me want a new camera.  My SX60 HS is considered a point and shoot camera but it has an amazing zoom lens.  The lens would cost a fortune to buy alone.   That being said, a point and shoot is still limiting in its aperture settings and much more. It’s not a bad camera by any means but I knew a DSLR would hopefully let me go to the next level, if I could get there. I had to see what I might be missing by not having a DSLR.  I found an older Rebel with the lenses I wanted for a good price so I bought it.  I told my husband that I would sell it if it didn’t work for me. Well I like them both and I do find that I use the Rebel more than I use the SX60, sometimes. I think that if you know what your camera can do and you know how to use all the settings, it doesn’t matter what kind of camera you have, you can get good shots.

IN A NAME

Long ago, as long as I can remember, I loved photography.  I took pictures of my dog, I took pictures of my friends, I took pictures of random animals, I took pictures of anything that caught my eye.  My Aunt Darlene took pictures and they were good.  One even made it into a calendar.  I wanted to do that too.

When my film was full, my first camera was a 110mm,  I would save up my money or beg my Grandfather for some and walk over to Superstore and get my photos developed.  When they brought in the one-hour photofinishing service, I was beside myself.  I would drop my film off and I would wander around the store for an hour and wait…did they turn out, did I get any good ones?  Hoping that the one shot I got of so and so wasn’t blurry. Oh the anticipation.  Some times I would get double prints just to have or to give away.

Times have changed.  I no longer have a 35mm, I have two Canon’s.  A SX60 HS and a Rebel XSI.  I don’t have a preference, they both serve their purpose.  Ask Reg, I talk to my cameras too.  Sometimes they don’t do what I want – or better yet, I can’t get them to do what I think they should do.

Fast forward 30 years and here I am hunting for old houses.  I drive up and down the gravel roads and search for abandoned homes, armed with my RM and back road maps.  Then I call the land owners, tell them what my plan is and get permission to enter onto their property.  Most times the person will tell you about the property.  Even better, first hand information.

I can spend hours on a property and not even realize I’ve been there that long.  For me, its my medication, release.  I find it very therapeutic.  Cheap therapy. Out in the fresh air and just enjoying the scenery around you.

I will admit that I am hesitant photographing people.  My daughter will let me take photos of her and she’s a great subject.  I would try taking portraits but I’m worried that I would disappoint someone.  I need to build my own confidence or, I need to just take the plunge.   I want to try night photography, I’m scared.  I’ll get there though, I’m getting braver and braver everyday.