I enjoy architectural photography. Unlike human subjects, buildings always cooperate. They don’t blink or move. They don’t sulk or have moods. And they’re available 24/7 whatever the weather. One problem, though, is that where there are structures, people are usually present during the normal hours of the day. (The dreaded “t” word – “tourists” – comes to mind.) So how do smart photographers avoid having their shot ruined by incessant foot traffic? By getting up at the crack of dawn before everyone else. Fortunately, sunrise is one of the best two times of day for architectural photography – the other being sunset – because the light is so dramatic.
But truth be known, an early alarm wasn’t needed for the above image, which depicts an historic church on the outskirts of Waterville (pop. 1,280), the county seat of Douglas County in Washington state. Built in 1915 in the Gothic Revival style at a cost of $10,000, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church served the tiny community of Douglas for 53 years until its congregation united with its larger counterpart in Waterville. After 38 years of disuse and neglect, the structure was purchased and restored in 2006 by the Douglas Community Historical Association, which now uses it for weddings, family reunions and community events. The day I was there, however, I had the place all to myself.
So why was I even in the vicinity of Waterville? To photograph its vintage courthouse (see right image). I was previously on a self-imposed mission to photograph what I call the “hidden gem” historic county courthouses in Washington state – and the stately brick-and-stone edifice in Waterville, built in 1905 with its unique dark red façade, easily made the cut.
In an upcoming post, I will have exciting (at least to me) news about a development affecting my gallery on Bainbridge Island. In the meantime, if you enjoy architectural photography, please visit the gallery of historic courthouses on my website.
Ciao for now!
Andrew (“Andy”) Bergh