Abandoned Homes, one of my favorite projects


One of my favorite subjects to photograph is Abandoned buildings. Mostly Homes, but Barns are abundant also in the Heartland State (Indiana). I am lucky to live in an area that has some history as far as many many older homes and buildings. Many are from the beginning of the small towns early 20th  century construction boom. I love to see the different styles of homes also, there really wasn’t the limited choice of elevations in 4 different models. Many where built by the land owner, and so you get a row of homes that are all distinctive in their design.  I typically walk around a home or building to photograph different views, and I also get some closer views, to mix it up a bit.

Many of the homes or buildings I photograph are on the a regular street of homes, so, not to stir up trouble, I keep on the street (public property). But, if I don’t see the neighbors next door, or I feel that I can “get-a-way” with a few photos (I usually do a short walk around anyway), I’ll take 3-5 more. But, it important to realize, abandoned homes are still owned by someone, so, if you are stopped by a neighbor or the owner, be polite, and explain what you are doing. no reason to ‘cop’ an attitude.

Some of the homes I have photographed over the years are no longer around. They have been torn down because of town ordinance, or the owner maybe sold the building only to someone who wanted the building materials to re-use in newer buildings. But, mainly it is because of a new owner of the land, and the land will used for a new building.Living around an old farming community, there are a lot of older homes that are abandoned in very active residential areas. In a block with 30 homes total, there may be one or two abandoned homes. But, not every block has abandoned homes. I could drive down 5 blocks and only find 1 or 2 abandoned homes.

When photographing abandoned homes, start with a wide, more general view, than, as you walk around, look for more detailed and interesting angles to photograph. You’ll find all sorts of things you can photograph as you walk around. even the rotting and pealing paint can make interesting graphic photos. I don’t enter any abandoned homes. It is trespassing enough to be walking around the home in my eye, and, if an owner did confront you, you are still outside, so, no braking and entering can levied against you.

The best lens to bring? that is a good question, I like the Panasonic G 14mm (28mm FF), or the Panasonic G 20mm (40mm FF), most of the time, the Olympus 14-42, or the Olympus 12-50mm makes a good choice also. Having a longer Zoom may not get used as much. A macro lens makes a companion also, for the times when you have some great details you want to record.

Here are some other abandoned building from earlier outings. Some with my film camera, some with other digital cameras.

This Barn was torn down in April, 2012

Leica M5, 50mm f/1.1 Nokton
Leica M5, 50mm f/1.1 Nokton
Leica M5, 50mm f/1.1 Nokton
Leica M5, 50mm f/1.1 Nokton

When walking around abandoned buildings, be very careful of what and where you walk on!… You just don’t know, and you could walk an nail, or sharp glass. These last 4 where taken when I owned a Leica M5, and I had a Voigtlander 50mm f/1.1 ASPH for a while. I used a ND6 filter so I could shoot at f/1.1 for some.

The 1st set of photos that have a B&W version where all taken with my Olympus OMD E-M5, Panasonic G 20mm f/1.7 ASPH, in “A” mode with Auto/ISO from ISO 200-1600. My typical settings. The Gradation is on “Normal” (OFF, in Olympus Terms)

I hope you have enjoyed this post, and maybe inspired you to try your hand at it.

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