Court is in Session

Benton County Courthouse, Vinton IA
Benton County Courthouse, Vinton IA

This photo has always been a favorite of mine.  The perspective, the lighting, the mood, the subject matter, all of it.  There’s something about courthouses that can be very exciting… in a nostalgic sort of way.

A few years ago Missy and I went around the state and photographed different county courthouses.  We focused mostly on courthouses built between 1880 and 1910 as that era produced the most interesting buildings.  We noticed that the 1920s thru 1950s courthouses tended to be a more sparse design and feeling to them… almost sterile.  Definitely boring and uninteresting.

The courthouse shown in the photo is the Benton County courthouse in Vinton, Iowa.  It was completed in 1906 and cost $105,000 to build.  It is the county’s third courthouse.  According to history the first courthouse was a log structure and didn’t have a floor or roof, so they moved to a log home in inclement weather.  Now, that’s funny!

Simplicity!

Red BarnI have several “favorite” photos, of course, but this one is one of my favorite favorites.  It’s detailed.  It’s focused (no pun intended), as in focused on the details of a limited area.  It’s thought-provoking.  It’s… simple.

The surrounding area was busy and distracting, but you’d never know that from this photo.  This shot brings you in to the details.  It makes you want to reach in and grab.

You can’t really tell by the photo, but it was an overcast day and slightly drizzly, which limited my photo options, but at the same time the moisture helped bring out the richness of the red in the paint on the barn.  This barn is near Collins, Iowa, right beside the highway.  I caught it on my way home from Des Moines one day and did my patented screeching stop… while looking to make sure there were no cars behind me, just to be safe, you know.

Maybe the moral of the story is “Always be ready to slam on the brakes!”  Haha.

The Road Trip, Pt 2

IMG_4162_3_4_tonemapped-FBHere we are again, revisiting last week’s road trip.  This is an old semi-abandoned one room school house out in pretty much the middle-of-nowhere southwest of Waukon, Iowa.  I say “semi-abandoned”, because, while it is not being used anymore, whoever owns it is clearly trying to restore it and provide some upkeep.  The roof is being redone, in addition to other aspects.

Needless to say, this hampered my photography a bit, but that’s ok.  It’s nice to see something like this being taken care of for a change.  When they’re done it won’t have quite the same rustic charm, but it will have been preserved for future generations.