I had a photo gig in Rapid City in April. I got the chance to traverse the badlands and Custer State Park for a bit on my lonesome. Oddly enough I really enjoy traveling alone. I got to capture some of the immense beauty of the badlands one evening.
However I didn't get to spend that much time in Custer State Park, which is also breathtaking. I woke up on a Monday morning in my simple but elegant room at the Hotel Alex Johnson in downtown Rapid City, grabbed a coffee, and walked the graffiti alley right next to the hotel and then hit the road. About one hour in an urge overcame me to find an abandoned house. I took a random exit and started going east down highway 248. I ran into my first spot with several houses a bit west of Murdo. I always wonder what stories these buildings hold. (You can check out the full abandoned house gallery here - you can also order prints)
As I wrapped up I felt an urge to make a day out of this. Just take random highway and gravel roads find as many abandoned houses as I could.
It didn't take long before my next spotting. This house had a particular eeriness with assorted old toys in the yard. It's a strange sensation to take photos at these places in the dead quiet, knowing in a time not that long ago a child was playing in a now decaying yard. I plan on visiting all these locations again in the fall. I want to spend more time at this house.
I got back on the highway and found myself traversing the vast openness of South Dakota. I looked to the north and saw a few old houses in the distance. I took a gravel road and it led me to yet another eerie spot. While shooting here I could feel a presence with me.. one of the houses seemed to have had someone living in it not that long ago or they still were. The whole area was deserted and unkept, I felt an uneasiness the entire time I was there.
I skittishly ran back to my car, looking back and waiting for someone to open up those blinds and stare back at me. I hopped on the interstate for a bit and crossed the Missouri river, knowing full well that my daylight was dwindling.
I searched for a bit longer to no avail, and then I ran across the car graveyard.
I didn't have much time left and I desperately wanted to find one more abandoned location. With the sun setting I hopped on one more old highway. Since the introduction of the interstate I could tell this highway has had little to no attention. On this old and forgotten highway I continued heading east. At one point I spotted a potential house in the distance but couldn't tell if it was abandoned or not. I took out a telephoto lens, took a photo, and zoomed in on my camera's LCD screen to see if it was, in fact, abandoned. To my dismay it wasn't. I had about given up hope until I went by an old driveway, with about 15 minutes of light left I knew I had to hurry. I ran down this old driveway towards some buildings. What I found was breathtaking, eerie, and beautiful all at once.
This site was eerie, an old dog house where a trusted companion used to sleep
I had not stepped foot into any of these houses until now. With the sunsetting in the silence of dusk, I went in. Once again I half expected someone or something to come jumping out at me.
I bid my farewell to the house and the memories it holds. I began my walk back to my car down the old road, looking back a few times to take in the adventure I had just experienced. A day of searching for the forgotten. (You can check out the full abandoned house gallery here - you can also order prints)