The alarm sounding from across the room wakes my sleepy mind. I open my eyes in darkness, stumble out of bed, and clumsily make my way to the shower. The freshness if the warm water hitting my face is a nice wake up call. I pack by bags and head out the door wondering what this cold January morning will bring. The goal for the day… live through the viewfinder of my trusty camera, “Lucy”, on a backroadin’ trip in Wisconsin with Dan.
You wake up from a deep slumber, not knowing how the day will unfold. The wonders of the morning was full of surprises that left me lost for words and I was left distracted for a good part of the morning on our travels. Winter photography can be challenging not only due to the cold, but also the light caused by the sun reflecting off of ice crystals and prisms can be blinding. On the other hand, Winter light can provide you with the best natural light and long shadows since the suns angle is lower in the northern hemisphere in these months. In Winter, the time just before sunrise and sunset, otherwise known as the “golden hour”, are not only longer but they can provide you with some of the most astonishing array of colors as it did in that day.
The sun raised higher and higher in the sky as we traveled along the icy Wisconsin roads. Something out of the corner of our eyes caught our attention– A ruin off in the distance at the corner of a field. From that distance, we knew it had character but were unsure just how much until we were closer to the decaying building. As we drove by, my mouth opened and I believe a small sound of amazement escaped. Here, was an old schoolhouse that was living off of borrowed time. We turned around and decided to stop at the house right across the street from this little gem. Dan quickly got out of the car and knocked on the door of the farmhouse. I had to laugh as I heard the low voice from inside the house “I’m in my long john’s”, the older gentleman warned as he was answering the door. The gentleman was kind enough to let us know who owned the property and we were lucky that Dan actually knew the property owners. We got permission to enter the old schoolhouse and drove our way back with smiles on our faces. The schoolhouse was evidently the old Salem Schoolhouse and it has been hard to find any information regarding its history. The only history we received was from the property owner and the older gentleman from the farmhouse across the road who knew someone who attended the school. Ohhh, the stories this building could tell. The following images are from the travels that day and even though the sunrise was not captured by our cameras, I will forever see that mornings light in my mind.