The Woods

On the weekend I was introduced to a site spotted by HeBeDeBe previously.  The description to his picture describes a “derelict cottage in the middle of the woods” which souded tempting. Kindly Mr HeBeDeBe offered to show me to the spot.

Please have a look at the story of our visit, then take a look at this slideshow of 14 images.

The Back Door of the Cottage

The Back Door. The Bottle on the Windowsill.

I’ve recently grown to enjoy taking pictures of decay; rusty, crusty and dusty scenes lending themselves to a contrasty black and white shot I get great enjoyment from.

First impressions of the cottage were very promising.  Deep in conversation, we were almost past the cottage before I saw it.  The nearby trees having almost grown trough what was perhaps once the porch.

In the front room not a lot remained, an upturned piece of unregonisable furniture dominating the room, however small objects left around were just enough to show that this room was once someone’s home.  Like the bottle and sandal on the window frame, and old, broken wooden tennis racket.  Off the main room was a strange 3/4 hight entrance to small half room, containing a stove.  Without gas and electric supplies, this may have been for heat.

Into the middle room we have more signs of a past life.  This looks like it was a living room. The in the middle of the room are three chairs; two wooden cushioned chairs sit by the fireplace, a folding wooden chair has been knocked over.  Along the side of the room is a battered sofa and an additional chair, perhaps ready to pull out when visitors arive.  On the windowsill in the lounge (I’ve decided that is what it was) is a mirror, half hidden by the fluttering, yellowed window drape.  On the floor, amoungst bags full of bottles, there is a small tin of boot polish.  In the fireplace is a metal gas stove, half fallen over. Now making the room feel colder.

The Lounge

The Lounge

At the far end of the cottage to the entrance I find the kitchen.  This is the most interesting room, appearing to have been left almost untouched since the owner left (apart from the stairs falling in).

The Kitchen Table

The Kitchen Table

On the table by the window are a selection of jars and cake tins; Bird’s Gravy Mix and a muffin tray.  On the cupboard, clearly emptied, a decorative biscuit tin.  Opposite the window is a table covered with upturned plates, and leaves. Just visible through the grime is an old tub of nivea. If there was a kettle, we coud have used one of the cups hanging up.

Washing Up

Washing Up

On the back of the cottage is an extra room, containing a bath, weedkiller and a seive.  The roof of this room is almost non existant, although the toilet paper on a bean above the door looks quite usable.

Weedkiller & Meths

Weedkiller & Meths

Bathroom

Fancy a Bath

On the walk back to the car, we pass a shed. While the house was intact, the shed has completly fallen in on itself.  We can still see a pair of wheels, perhaps from a trolley to bring in supplies from a nearby village?

A man trimming his hedge at  a local farm informed us that the former occupier was an author, who died and was taken away on a horse and cart.

Geeky Bits: Due to the low light levels in the wood, all photos were taken with tripod.  I used an F5.6 aperture, as this gives the sharpest results on my Olympus 11-22 mm Lens (22-44 35mm equiv), and a two second delay after the mirror went up to eliminate camera shake.  Inside shutter speeds were 2-10 seconds. Outdoors 1/30 to 2/3 second.  On the day of this visit the sky was overcast, which I think helped by reducing harsh shadows.

Processing was done in Nik Software Silver Efex Pro.  Brightness was tweaked if necessary, then contrast was adjusted locally to pick out the interesting details and focal points.  Edges were burnt to give a vintage feel and draw the eye into the shots.

Any comments of thoughts welcome, either here or on the flickr pages the photos link to.

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