End of the pick up game

Since moving to Wisconsin, photographing abandonment and rural decay has become a bit of an obsession. I stop along roadsides a lot and take the long way to go just about anywhere. I first saw this cabin in winter with deep snow and no gaiters or snowshoes with me so I had to be content with what I could shoot from the road. But like I often do, I made a note of the location and went back in more favorable conditions.

Even during processing of the winter shots, I had no idea there was a basketball hoop on this crumbling structure. There is cracked pavement under it and all the plants that have taken over. There is a falling down house on the other side of the lawn to the left and this building appears to have been a house at first, but then a work shop/shed. There were birds nesting in the upper part of the roof, making fair use of the broken windows. The back of the structure is basically a pile of rubble.

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I was going for a little bit of a distressed feel with the processing, but not overly so. Does it work? How would you have shot something like this?

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
All handheld while walking around the site. Used my Lumix G9 and the Lumix G Vario 12-35mm f/2.8. All processing in Lightroom. Some cropping and general corrections made.


Kris you really scored on the distressed feeling. Nicely done. I really like the first image as it shows how nature is working on reclamation. Very cool.

Kris, I also like taking photos of old abandoned and falling down buildings. I haven’t had the chance to do that in quite awhile. My thought when I see these old buildings is that at one time it was someone’s dream home/cabin, or maybe an old barn and they were excited to stall their animals there, a store maybe, and it was their own business that they were starting. Now, as the building is falling, you wonder who was the owner and were their dreams fulfilled.

It is good to capture the images because soon this will fall the rest of the way down, or someone will tear it down. You are capturing history. I also like the first shot the best.

You’re right about the sense of sadness these can make us feel. The stories we’d hear if walls could talk. Speaking of walls, here’s a slice of the front where you can see the chinking and how the window was framed -

And a little closer and a slightly different angle -

I have been fortunate to catch some buildings before they’re completely gone, and I’ve learned that the hard way by assuming something would always be there. Now if I want the shot, I stop for it.


Hey Kris, give us a call next time you plan to stop by. I do really need to do some yard work looking at these photos. Sorry we missed you… :clown_face:
Looks like a fun excursion out there. Any issues with lurking reptiles? This would be a snake haven here in So Cal. In fact, recently there was a person living in a house that had over 90 rattlers nesting in the crawl space. … :skull:

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It was nice to revisit and since I know where it is, I can do it again and see how things are holding up. Generally after a roof goes, the building isn’t long for this world.

Snakes? Eh, probably. I didn’t go very near. Not sure if we have rattlers up this way. Probably, but less dangerous species do well here so they were probably about.

A wonderful story here, well told!

As wonderful as your abandonment images are, I can’t get beyond thinking what it must have been like for people to live in places like that in Wisconsin winters!!

Thanks @Diane_Miller - they got through it like we all do. At that time plenty of timber and a good woodstove would do. My family heated primarily with wood my whole childhood. Of course we had an oil tank for hot water and such, but mostly wood. You get used to checking the stoves in the night once your old enough.

Here’s the winter shot from the road -

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A very nice set of images, and clicking on the thumbnail I knew the author already :slight_smile: It clearly has your signature.
It is interesting how we are attracted by decay, being it dead wood or abandoned houses or industrial heritage… It all tells a story and you are a great story teller.

The winter image is powerful, with the dead tree echoing the dead building!

Thanks @Han_Schutten & @Diane_Miller - in a way this is nature since it’s taking over these buildings. There’s one behind that’s just a pile of rubble. I think it was a barn. Those usually go before houses if nothing falls on the houses which did happen here as a matter of fact. This is the house -

If you stand at the corner of the cabin and turn to your left, that’s the view. You can still see a strip of driveway.

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