There wasn’t any extreme off-roading at all on our trip to North Dakota; there were roads everywhere. We roamed about freely; pretty much uninhibited by obstacles with the exception of the “bridge out” signs in the middle of nowhere and the occasional pond/lake right in the middle of a road. The GPS was rather amusing with its informative display of where we were driving. Often it stated unpaved road or simply – Driving on Road. You can truly find the middle of nowhere in ND. I love it.
When traveling through the middle of nowhere don’t be surprised if you encounter a train of machinery blocking your way. You can see the dust cloud miles away. That is your hint to pull off and get out of their way. Harvest time was in full gear when we were there. The dust from the roads and the picking of corn and beans made for some interesting photos.
know I have used the term “dirt road” rather loosely; to include gravel roads, etc. – anything not paved. We were actually on dirt roads in ND – black fertile dirt very compacted from grain trucks and other farming machinery. These field roads were smooth. In fact, they were often smoother-riding than some of the black top roads. The weeds on these dirt roads were a bit tall in spots though. There were several times that we stopped to shoot some wildlife and all you could smell was simmering grasshopper guts and burnt weeds.
There was plenty of wildlife between each town and abandoned place we happened upon. I very much enjoyed my close encounter with a hawk and just the sheer numbers of them that we saw. We chased around egrets for a while as well and stumbled upon some baby turkeys. They are not cute at all – as most baby animals usually are. Everyone of those puddles held an abundance of waterfowl with no shortage of goose poop.
This was two of the better days we have enjoyed out shooting in a while. Great locations, weather and of course my company is always wonderful.
The last farmstead of the day was near Ellendale and the Tatanka Wind Farm. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The light cast out by the setting sun was fantastic. All the dust in the air for harvesting corn added a nice effect across the landscape.
This place had some real character; more so around the grounds than in the tiny house. The tulip wall paper that covered the pink walls wasn’t much of an improvement 🙂 The little Allis Chalmers in between the house and a shed made for an interesting subject to photography as well. This was a great spot to finish out our day.
After we explored the Forbes area we headed North towards Merricourt. This was another location that we found through the GhostsOfNorthDakota.com website. Merricourt was completely uninhabited. The only sign of life was the local farmer harvesting corn on the North side of town. There were several buildings and homes in town – all of which we would have loved to shoot inside and out, if not for the NO TRESPASSING signs everywhere :-/ I can’t blame the owners though, I wouldn’t want my property vandalized. Seeing very little opportunity here, we moved on.
It wasn’t long until we found another abandoned farmstead West of town. This farmstead had some really amazing texture in the flaky, pealing paint of the two-story house. The crown moldings and trim where in surprisingly great condition. This little gem is in its prime. A finite moment; a balance between what was and the inevitable decay to come.
I’ve been following Ghosts of North Dakota for a while now and have been eyeing up various locations to photograph. This site has no shortages, but only seeming endless supply of possible places to shoot. Cyndie and I had an opportunity recently to go to North Dakota and search for abandoned structures to shoot. We used this site to pick out a few areas of interest to begin. We figured that we would wander around from town to town. We found numerous abandoned homes and farmsteads outside of the various town listed on this site.
Our first stop was Forbes, ND. This teeny tiny town is situated right on the border of North and South Dakota in Dickey County. The abandoned school there looked very interesting. A bright sunny afternoon provided for some great light to photograph this wonderful mess of an abandoned school. At some point, someone must have played some paint ball in the school or just walked around shooting paint balls everywhere. It added a titch of interesting color to an otherwise fairly drab interior.