Old Barn Along Old Valley Highway Near Buena, Washington
How many times have I driven by this old square barn along the old Yakima Valley Highway? I am afraid to say that it has been way too many. This day, like many before, I said to myself that I would stop on my way back. But this time I drove about 100 yards and turned around.
There are too many old buildings that are either falling down on their own or being taken down for alternative uses of the land in the Yakima Valley. I am committed to stop when I see something rather than say, “next time.” Who knows if there will be a next time.
What a wonderful gift was given to me while meandering along some back roads north of Walla Walla in the Palouse. Layers of clouds were moving above. It was breezy and fairly dark. It felt like a storm was about to come in. I had an eerie feeling around me. My partner stayed in the car while I ventured out.
I took a long exposure to capture the movement of the clouds. I looked at my image and got excited as I saw rays emerging from the barn almost fighting with the clouds moving across the image. Two different air streams were layered on top of each other. One set of clouds was moving easterly while the other was moving south easterly toward me.
It is time for me to go to the Palouse to wander again. The rolling hills, old homesteads and clouds are calling. Hopefully some local travel will be possible in the relative near future.
While the interior of the little “Painted Church” is lavishly colorful, the exterior is a simple white structure. I could feel the history surrounding the church through it’s old, but well maintained, grave yard and gardens. It is a beautiful and peaceful site on the gentle sloping sides of Moana Loa.
The “Painted Church” is a must see little gem in the heart of Hawaii’s Kona coffee plantation area in South Kona. The church is on a peaceful hillside overlooking the coastline below. It was built by Belgian Catholic missionary Father John Velghe from 1899 – 1902. Father Velghe painted scenes of biblical stories along the church interior walls. He used the scenes to deliver his messages since most of his native Hawaiian parishioners could not read.
A history of the church can be found at the following link: https://keolamagazine.com/art/painted-church/
Driving along the back roads of the Palouse is an excursion of modern mechanized farming mixed with remnants of a bygone era. We encountered this barn along a dusty dirt farm road. My mind started to wonder who it was build by and when it was built. What was its and its owner’s history? It must have been a relative small farmer since the building itself was small compared to many of the large barns in the area. How could a small farmer survive? This one probably did not for very long.
I wrote a little on this old schoolhouse on my previous posting. As I was walking around the back of the building, this old vine captured me. I felt that it was reaching out trying to pull me in to its history. I really do need to do a little research!
I love to drive around without any specific destination. I am amazed what I have missed over the years as I have just driven from point A to point B thinking about how long it will take me to reach my destination. This day a few weeks ago, I was just driving backroads where I had not been before … just driving along. I saw this old school house somewhere north of Zillah (I think), I really did not where I was. I stopped and just gazed for a while, contemplating what stories this old building amongst farm lands had to tell. How long had it been since the last student walked through its doors? Was it a grade school, high school, or an all inclusive country school? After a while of just looking at it, I got out of my car and walked around with my camera.
Many stories, many questions … time for a little research to satisfy my curiosity.
I gave myself a photographic assignment to search out contrasts. The contrast could be in relation to many different aspects/perspectives: color, shapes, patterns, light/dark, old/new, etc., or simply an item that does not belong in a specific setting. I decided to walk the streets in downtown Yakima, WA for my search.
My first stop was the A.E. Larson Building. The Larson Building is itself a contrast to its surroundings. With its eleven stories, it towers above adjacent structures. Its Art Deco design stands out from the simpler buildings of downtown Yakima. The interior first floor lobby is heavily decorated with stone and elaborate bronze in the Art Deco style; pretty fancy for a farming-based community.
The above image is from the main lobby entryway. What caught my eye is the contrasting adjacent design. One is horizontal, the other is vertical. One is light, the other dark. The simple spirals tie the designs together.
The bright red-orange roof against the blue sky caught my eye as I was walking down Front Street. The color and shape of the building. looking through a street tree caught my interest. But ofd memories kept my attention.
When I was just a little boy, I remember my grandfather taking me down to the train station to see Uncle Ben off and to pick him up from his annual winter trip back to Pittsburgh. I became fascinated with the idea of riding a train across the country. When I was five, I had my opportunity for such a grand trip. My grandfather took me back to Pittsburgh to see the “Aunts”! I remember anxiously sitting in the “grand train station” waiting for the train to stop and pick us up. It seemed like an eternity, the ceiling was so high, and the room so large. I could not sit still. It seems like just yesterday.
My last trip through the station was in the late 70’s. My wife and I decided to take the train from Seattle to Yakima instead of driving. It was a wonderful trip over the Pass and through the Canyon. My father and a brother picked us up at the station. It was still such a great place.
So many wonderful memories. I am thankful that the old station has been put back in productive use.
I have been working to develop my process for contemplative photography. My assignment today was to take a walk with a fresh open mind not looking for any specific thing to photograph. The practice objective was to just wander and let the world around me catch my eye. If something caught my eye, I needed to keep my mind open, take my time, and explore specifically what was it that captured my eye, what was important, and what was not. Only then I could raise my camera and frame the image.
Walking along Front Street, I saw a bright orange flash that stopped me dead in my tracks. It was in stark contrast with the surrounding area of old stucco and bricks. Shadows from a metal gate added to the contrast. Soft mottled shadows from a street tree graced its surface. The vertical bars of the gate framed the brilliant orange. What a wonderful gift I was given.