I don’t take many landscape photographs. Landscapes are lovely to see, when done right (read: not obnoxious HDR), but it’s probably the patience required that turns me off. You have to wait for the right combo of weather and subject.
But toward the end of summer, things line up just right, especially in my daily commute, and especially near where I live. The fall light, the earlier sunrises, the mist covering the fields – it’s all great for photos.
This one is a country block from my house. I caught it on the way home from the Jackson County Fair, in early August, and snapped it with my Canon EOS M (and edited with VSCO Film 04). Not bad for a little mirrorless camera with a pancake lens.
Landscapes still don’t interest me all that much, but I take advantage of the scenery when I see it.
As a kid, my family often went to Stagecoach Stop and Prehistoric Forest, and played putt-putt and drove go karts at the little amusement parks. Even back then there was a level of hokeyness – but it didn’t matter. Those places were tons of fun.
But now, it’s all shutting down. There are a few attractions that are still humming along. The majority, though, lie in disrepair (or worse).
In high school, my dad and step mom were married at Stagecoach Stop’s little chapel, and their reception was held in the old timey tavern.
Stagecoach was a bustling place back in the day. You could watch a gun fight in the town square, grab some ice cream, pet a goat in the petting zoo, and even stay overnight in the motel. There was a working lumber mill, and horse rides, and a drive-through haunted Halloween tour.
Driving down US-12 now, and passing through the Irish Hills, it feels like a ghost town. It’s almost like a run-down part of town, with all the windows broken out and no one left to protect it. Eventually, I’m sure, these roadside attractions will be mowed down completely.
So last fall I took a drive out there, seemingly back in time, to capture some of those attractions I remembered from childhood. Before they disappeared.
At Stagecoach, I ran into a couple that was hosting a garage sale of sorts on the property. Most of the area was closed off, but I asked if I could walk around to grab some photos, and they said “yes.”
The Irish Hills Fun Center, a general amusement park with putt-putt and go karts, was completely abandoned. The kart track was still in decent shape, but the rest of the property was fading fast.
Prehistoric Forest, the true goal of my trip last fall, has been known as a target for vandalism. With motion sensors and cameras guarding the place, it was risky to try to grab photos of the place. When I drove past, there was a utility truck and a man taking measurements, so I played it safe and drove on.