Thursday, March 17, 2016

Peering through Windows with Big Fish

On a dreary Sunday, Bill and I decided to head south, check out back roads and then wind up at Bass Pro, a huge store near Richmond. Rain threatened constantly, and with heavy grey clouds hanging above us the air felt damp and thick. But we had fully charged batteries and the heater on, so all was good. Even umbrellas were loaded in the trunk, just in case we wanted to shoot in the pouring rain.
We found this quaint little church built in 1908 but frustratingly, there was no way to get past the locked door.
I would have loved to see that hanging light inside first hand but all we could capture in an image was a tempting silhouette.
Great texture with roughened paint and stone highlighted this little door in the wall. Bill also spotted chisel marks in the stone lintels, heavy horizontal blocks that sat over the windows.
Further down the road we trundled across an abandoned yard with an old Dodge parked in front of a shed but we didn't hang about. I snapped a quick shot and we left, taking heed of the numerous 'No Trespassing' signs.
It was getting towards 3 when we finally turned up at the Bass Pro store. It was HUGE! But I didn't want to get sucked into that sticky, grabbing retail web yet. My belly was practically yelling, not grumbling, for lunch, so we walked first to the restaurant.
A very impressive fish tank sat behind the bar, containing about 150 fishes of different varieties. It was definitely momentous but I would have liked it more if there had been some live vegetation and anemones in there; two large pillars of dark rock stood in the tank, with ledges and nooks but the fish had no tunnels or anything to interest them. Yet the water was impeccably clean, a guy in a wet suit dives in once a week to spruce up the fishes' accommodation. My lunch was a burger with beer, the latter being better than the former; I wouldn't rush back to eat there.
So with full bellies it was time to check out the vast store. Bill walked one way to view the boats and I headed in another direction, something pink catching my eye.
I never knew redneck dolls actually existed and I had to study these ones closely. There was a cowgirl theme, and a camping/hunting version with the dolls kitted out in real tree outfits, guns, targets and even a rack of antlers was there to be hung on a wall. The play set is here.
There was another huge fish tank with a waterfall at one end of the store and everywhere I looked were stuffed animals, sitting atop shoe racks, or on a pile of shirts, or tucked into fake vegetation. Possums, bald eagles, ducks, skunks, pretty well much any wild animal that is found in the sight of a hunter's gun had been killed and stuffed to sit in this store. This little girl was checking out the bear's huge claws as I walked by.
I quite liked the glass lanterns that hung down, with painted fish, but overall I wasn't that impressed with the shop. It's an outdoor man's paradise, some people's version of heaven I'm sure, with so much gear for fishing and hunting. But it was very expensive and I left without buying anything. I quite liked an arrow that was a car radio antenna, but for $30 didn't want to risk putting it on Stuart with the likely chance of it being unscrewed by another admirer before a week or so had passed. So we left and carried on driving.
We weren't having much luck in finding anything photogenic in a rustic or abandoned sense, so it was with great excitement that a little area caught my eye and we turned around to investigate further.
A small field was dotted with little sheds and a couple of larger barn style buildings but all were vacant.
The wood and corrugated tin had weathered wonderfully, creating beautiful colors and textures. We walked about taking shots and wondering what these buildings had been part of. Some old furniture was in one, still looking like it could impress at a dinner party, while straw, panes of glass and planks of wood were stacked in others. There was even a small graveyard. A house sat across the road, with a black and white cat monitoring our moves from his AC unit perch, but nobody came out to move us on. I was hoping they would so we could get some history on the place.
We started driving back towards Marshall and the dusk was drawing in as we passed Culpeper. The old Fleetwood church is slowly being restored, and small candle lights beckoned us from windows on the side so we pulled in for our last photos of the day.
It was heartening to see that work had been started on clearing up the church. The old wooden sled that had hung on its side for years had gone but apart from that and the grounds being cleared I couldn't tell what else had been done. Maybe they're waiting for the weather to warm up...
Later when looking at my photos I realized that throughout the day I had subconsciously focused on capturing images of windows and doors. Hmm, wonder if there's any subliminal message behind that....

No comments: