Mark Andrew Thomas
Photograph - Digital
In the small rural community of Island Grove, FL. there sits an old abandoned Methodist Church falling into ruin. The town of Island Grove was established in the late 1800's and according to my research the church itself was built in 1885.
Very few buildings now remain in Island Grove, only a few occupied buildings and old homes remain and it's already considered a ghost town in many descriptions of the area.
Interesting Fact: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, author of "The Yearling", is buried in the local cemetery.
When I parked my car on the side of the deserted road I switched off the engine and turned off the headlights. It was pitch black and only the hulking shadow of the structure could be seen as a silhouette against the dark sky as heat lightning illuminated the clouds in the distance. I saw more stars in the sky than I've ever seen in my life. It was beautiful....and spooky. I half expected to see some ancient shadowy thing come shambling across the field towards me, or some dead thing reanimated from a pet cemetery. You get the idea.
I shone my floodlight on the old building and it took my breath away, I recognized it from photos and google maps but seeing it revealed in the darkness in person was amazing. You can see that photo here in my portfolio, it's called "The Forgotten" which is exactly what this building is. I began the process of light painting which I accomplished by taking several exposures and then finally jumping the fence, running (yes running) up to the church and lighting up the inside hall from an opening in a broken window.
Did I just hear an evil sounding barely audible growl above the crickets? My imagination? The wind picking up before the storm? I ran back to the car. I heard rustling in the darkness of the overgrowth just behind me on the other side of the small road. That was NOT my imagination. I shone the flashlight and realized it was just the wind rustling the leaves as thunder sounded in the distance. My cue to leave. I took one last look around and said a quick "thank you" which is something I always do when photographing abandoned and forgotten structures, paying my respects I guess, and then drove away. I looked in the rearview mirror one last time and distinctly saw something cross the road but it was way too dark to tell what it was. Maybe that was for the best...
Check out a larger size image here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobyrne/14299125700/
June 23rd, 2014
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