My favorite 12 photos of 2016 part 2 (and the stories that go with them)

I decided to post my favorite 12 photos from 2016 on facebook and twitter leading up to Christmas and to post the stories that go with them.  These are the second set of 4. #8 #7, #6 and #5.

Click here to see part 1 –  photos 12, 11, 10, and  9

Click here to see part 3 – photos 4, 3, 2, and 1

#8  “The Witches House”
Witches house Dollard Saskatchewan abandoned

I took this shot in Saskatchewan on Feb 13. A friend and I spent the day touring some new area in the South West, taking pictures of new (to us) things.  Our final destination was this great old house – we had planned to do some themed portrait shots here.

Within minutes of arriving, very strong cold winds hit.  So strong, that they knocked one of us to the ground on our butts on the ice. (I won’t say which one of us it was, but I saw it happen from a standing position).  Portraits were over almost as soon as they started. We each took a few quick shots of this house hoping that they would turn out and jumped back into the truck to outrun the approaching blizzard.

This photo was posted on @meanwhileinsask the next day. The granddaughter of the people who had lived there saw the post and contacted me.  Her mother was born in this house and she shared a lot of its history with me.

A Sears mail order house (you could order houses out of a catalogue from Sears and Eatons back then), it was built 100 years ago, but has not been lived in for the last 60.

She also sent me some photos of it taken through the years.

Witches House Saskatchewan Dollard Ryan Wunsch

#7  “One More Year” Horsham Lutheran Church abandoned Saskatchewan Ryan Wunsch

I’ve been taking pictures of this church for over 10 years. I will post a few more below.  The photos tell the story, this old church is sinking in to itself – faster and faster each year.

Every time I go see it I am glad it is still there, but I know I have to prepare myself for the day that it is not.

It was a small German Lutheran country church, built in 1919.  The town it was built by is long gone, now just a metal sign where the town was.  The church did not have a regular pastor, it was served by pastors from 2 nearby communities who would take turns.  In the Summer services were held every second Sunday. In the cold winter months the church was closed.  The last service was held in 1950.

31 years in service, 66 years alone on the prairies.

Collapsing church Saskatchewan abandoned ryan wunsch

#6  “Twilight Homestead”  Saskatchewan abandoned house sunset

I took this shot in September in South West Saskatchewan.

It had been a while since I had shot an old homestead – thunderstorms had taken over my life since May.  It was a good year for thunderstorms (well, if you like them… it was) and all of the rain that the storms had dropped acted as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.  It was a good year for mosquitoes, if you like them…. (I hate them, they serve no purpose….)

I tried this shot a few days earlier but the mosquitoes tried to kill me and I later found I didn’t have a memory card in the camera anyways!!  Rookie mistake.

So… on this night I got out of the truck just at twilight, the mosquitoes didn’t seem to be too bad.  I hiked through some very tall lush grass, got into position and set up my shot.

I then heard a tiny little voice say “get him boys” I could hear the swarm approaching, like a chainsaw. Like 3 chainsaws!  Was it stop, drop and roll?  No, that was for fire…

They were on me quickly, thousands of them, vicious and unrelenting… little vampire blood suckers.  I breathed 4 of them into my mouth and throat trying to escape the jungle. I hoped I’d cross paths with a skunk that could spray me and keep the mosquitoes away, I was desperate.

I was really happy to see this photo turned out.  They say you need to suffer for your art.  I prefer frostbite.

#5  “Waterton Sunrise”
Waterton Lakes provincial park sunrise Ryan Wunsch

I took this shot at Waterton Lakes National Park during my recent trip there in September.

I had a limited amount of time at Waterton.  2 sunsets and 2 sunrises (which is how many photographers keep track of time) I knew I wanted to make those count.  That did not really leave much time for scouting locations, and I just kind of happened to go to this one.

It was very windy.  And quite cold.  Pretty miserable actually.  The longer exposure somewhat blends the waves on the water, but I knew I was not going to get any shots of water that is smooth as glass reflecting the mountains.  I could see the famous ‘Prince of Whales Hotel’ from this location, but I also saw this big piece of drift wood and hoped it would work to be in the shot somehow.

The sun started to do its thing.  The sky did not get brilliant pink or orange like every photographer who has 2 sunrise vacation days hopes for – but then I saw my chance to get a well placed sun flare shot with Mr. Driftwood.  And then I saw the golden light reach across the haze on the lake in front of the mountain and I was thinking “ok this Is pretty cool”

Then the sun lit up those small pieces of driftwood on the rocks right in front of me as the sun flared in my lens and I was thinking “holy cow it looks like I know what I am doing, why aren’t there other photographers here, I am the only one seeing this right now – I better have a memory card in my camera”

I did!

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