Oh that’s where I parked it!

Oh, THAT'S where I parked it!

This old car sat in a field a few miles from Mansfield, Washington. Standing outside of the farmhouse next to this overgrown plot was a woman holding an infant. Four other children played in the grass nearby. I pulled into the drive and introduced myself as the photography teacher at Bridgeport High School, then asked if I could take a few photos of the vehicle. She kindly agreed, so I returned a short while later with my camera, then gifted several prints to the woman the following day.

I’m glad I stopped. Like so many photographic opportunities, this one would’ve passed by had I not taken an interest, as the car is no longer there. Or, perhaps my visit rekindled the farmer’s plans for this junker? Either way, shortly after my visit, the farmer pulled it from the weeds, parked it by the road with a “For Sale” sign, and it was gone within days. Now, most likely it’s either stashed in a garage as someone’s project, or it’s a rustic adornment full of flowers in a different front yard.

© Brad Skiff

Yellow, Still

yellow truck

When I was six, I tried to make a fossil. After seeing pictures of ancient leaf imprints in a first grade primer, I sprinted home from the bus stop determined to make a specimen of my own. I found two flat rocks (an obvious requirement, since all the photos showed leaves neatly pressed upon sheared shale), then I plucked a fresh leaf and sandwiched it between the stones. I gently set my soon-to-be fossil by the mailbox and checked it daily.

Obviously, the school lesson that day made an imprint on my mind. Dinosaurs and their remnants dominated my interests for years after, but my puerile experiment was quickly forgotten, since a suitable image did not develop in the week or so demanded by youthful impatience.

As an adult my interests haven’t changed much. I find abandoned wrecks and homesteads just as intriguing as the Stegosaurus bones I imagined I uncovered on City Beach. I often wonder of the life that once flowed through my discoveries as I photograph them. This truck is located at a small farm just outside of Pearrygin Sate Park, near Winthrop, Washington. I have a couple of infrared shots of the vehicle posted in my blog, but here is that particular relic in all of its glorious color.

Another View

I’ve already posted a couple of views of this small pioneer home on Pearl Hill, but here’s one more. I liked the cinematic framing for this shot. The image was taken with an infrared filter on a green, spring day.

two thirty five to one

© Brad Skiff

Hidden Homestead

I stopped at an overgrown county road, the kind where wheel ruts disappear into tall grass. There was room at the juncture of this county road and the small highway I had been travelling on, so I pulled off and parked. It was June, and although there was a stop sign at the entrance to the route, I dared not drive on it. Catalytic converters can touch off fires, even on cooler days like this. Instead, I snagged my camera, locked my vehicle, and trekked over the rise and down into a little valley.

As is often the case where I live, my efforts were rewarded. Nestled among the sage was an entire homestead comprised of at least two separate homes, a barn, and several utility buildings. The spot lacked any official warning signs, perhaps it was so remote and hidden that none were needed, so I deemed it safe enough to explore.

This image, which I call Troubadour of the West, was taken with a Hoya infrared filter. I need to revisit this spot, perhaps this winter, when snow burdens the rafters and smooths out the fields. Or, certainly before some idiot drives down that lane, sparks a fire, and destroys all these lovely old bones of the past.

Troubadour of the West

Decaying

I first came across this place by accident. On occasion, I drive up and down the back roads of the countryside around me looking for gems of dilapidation. On this particular day I took a side road off of the dusty road I was already on. As I crested a small rise, I could see this place far across a wheat field. Often these old places are on private property and are inaccessible. But the bumpy county road was fully cooperative, winding through the field until it passed directly by this old homestead. The photograph was taken with an infrared filter.

Decaying Dreams

In a Field of Wheat

I’ve been taking photos of this place for several years, and each year a little more of it caves in. The roof on the far side is just beams now, and the entire structure is beginning to lean. Not many years are left for this old place, I’m  afraid. The wheat in this image was bright green, but looks light because I took the photo with an infrared filter.

Pale Spring

Unsettled

This old place is a short walk from Pearrygin State Park near Winthrop, Washington. The site has been cleaned up a bit recently (the collapsed barn is gone), but is still accessible to the public. This image was taken with an infrared filter.

Homestead