Chata Ortega’s Bar & Grill
Many weekends are filled with hours on the back roads of rural Texas. Its pretty common to spend 8 hours traveling in either direction for abandoned locations in Texas for one night photo and then return home. But the places etched in time are worth the effort with night skies away from most light pollution. The above shot is the Abandoned Chata Ortega’s Bar & Grill near Toyah, Texas.
Location: 31°21’02.2″N 103°42’45.8″W
Many places are on private property. And we always like to get permission first. One place in particular the land owner gave us permission to explore we call Charlotte’s Farm. A pretty vast acreage of abandoned farm houses and cars litter this area. We have gone back to this location 4 times now. Some in the summer, some in the winter months. But always have to be on the lookout for snakes.
Lake Pauline Powerplant
I was lucky enough to catch this old art-deco looking power plant just before it was demolished. Traveled here two different times. The last time was just before the totally had gutted the place. Lots of old steam gauges where around the area. I spend a lot of time photographing the main power generator. Could have been a nice historical landmark to keep around.
I had carried an array of led lights and colored gels to illuminate the entire area. Took me a few hours to completely photograph the area as I set up the lights in different locations. Still one of my favorite night shots mainly because of the effort to get to this place solo for the two trips and do all the setup well into the early morning. Had to be really careful since there were plenty of places to get hurt, and no one was going to come looking for me had I gone missing.
Glenrio Route 66
Glenrio, formerly Rock Island, is an unincorporated community in both Deaf Smith County, Texas, and Quay County, New Mexico, in the United States. Located on the former U.S. Route 66, the ghost town sits on the Texas–New Mexico state line. Multiple buildings in this location. Took a little over 6 hours to reach from Dallas. Seems like there is one person living in this area.
Traveling to Utah at least once every year for the past twenty years, has allowed several stops at Glenrio. Many times the area has been lit up by at least half moon to a full moon for different types of shots.
Comet Neowise at Church House Rd, Metcalf Gap Texas
Location: 32°41’03.0″N 98°25’22.5″W
Very easy to find, and well kept and maintained by the locals, this church has just some slight light pollution behind it. But it sits on a hill, and if you shoot from the entrance, the hill pretty much hides the lights from the small farm behind it. Only thing I used to light up the church was my drone with Cube Lights attached to it. Comet Neowise lined up directly behind the church. We had planned on a location in west Texas for it’s second showing and we ended up here.
Abandoned Schoolhouse in Mosheim Texas
Location: 31°37’37.9″N 97°35’55.6″W
The Mosheim School ruins are at 3204 on Farm-to-Market road 217 in the town of Mosheim, the city of Valley Mills, Bosque County, in the Edwards Plateau region of Texas.
Easy to find and easy to shoot, we spent the evening setting up colored lights inside and did a series of time-laps for this shot. The longer exposures and lights from the surrounding city’s illuminated the clouds a bit to give it the sense of motion in this shot.
Abandoned Outlaw Gas Station – Glen Rose
Location: 32°14’50.5″N 97°43’48.7″W
A man named Ed Young owned this service station back in the 1920s. It is made from fossilized stones and petrified wood and although there is a large crack running down it’s middle it is amazing it is still standing at all. The building today is nothing but a shell of the original structure. According to the locals Ed Young began selling moonshine here during Prohibition and at one point was selling more moonshine than gasoline at his service station.
We used colored gels and a flash as well as some colored led lights. Times-laps is about three hours for the star trails consisting of around 300 shots.
Charlotte’s Farm II
Another shot from Charlotte’s Farm. There must be at least 20 old cars on this place along with old farm equipment and farm houses. That’s why we can keep going back here so many times and come away with something new. We use the places to kill time if we want to travel relatively close to the Dallas area. It only takes us about three house to reach the location.
Simple shot using two Coleman lanterns and the rest of the area is lit by moonlight.
Abandoned combine harvester
Another from Charlotte’s farm, we did a lot of time-laps from this outing. Many shots of the milky way as well as a shot with a 3 hour shot for star trails.
Abandoned Sherwood Courthouse
Night shots are not always about capturing the milky way, but we will for sure hit this place again during the summer months to capture it. This time we went for some night shots with clouds since there was a full moon this night.
Abandoned old Drive-In sign in East Texas
What’s left of the old drive-in near Bohnam Texas. For this shot, I used a high powered flash with colored gels. Used the colors red, green and cyan, then a lower powered normal flash for fill light. A total of 6 shots then blended in Photoshop.
For these shots, used high powered flash and colored gels for the water tower. On the gas pumps, used led lights behind the glass and a lower powered flash for slight fill lighting. Was back lit by existing street light.
Lots going on for this shot. The owners of this farm have let us come out three different times. We used colored led lights inside the truck, a single Coleman lantern is on in the second story room, and the whole scene was lit up by moonlight. Stuck another colored led light inside the gas pump and did a small flash behind the truck. Was able to move the truck around freely with the blessing of the land owners.
Ruins of Old Eureka Mill Reservoir lit by moonlight in west Texas
A simple shot using a Coleman lantern inside the mill, One shot for the milky way, then later the scene is lit by moonlight and blended in photoshop. Been to this area a few times, so far this one is my favorite out of the bunch. Very easy to find and reach. We shot from below the bridge behind us and I just ran along the small damn to reach the mill.
Watch for snakes even in the winter, we came across a rattle snake on the trail at night. Glad we saw it first!
It’s location is here: 32°57’36.4″N 98°46’00.9″W
Small community of Eliasville Texas
Old Abandoned Caboose in Rusk
We were lucky enough to get access to some of the abandoned rail cars at the Texas State Railroad in Rusk Texas. For several nights we stayed in the yard area until 2am doing lots of light painting. A few months later we put on a nice workshop and taught a lot of other photographers how to do night photography. They brought out several steam engines for us to photograph and we even was able to go into the main garage where they have been working hard to restore many other steam engines.
Abandoned Victorian Era Home under the Milky Way in Kosse Texas
The Kosse Heritage Society, located in Kosse, Texas, acquired the historic Hearne-Gidden-Hunter House in May 2014. Completed in 1894, the house is one of the last remaining Victorian influenced homes in central Texas.
Location: 31°18’19.1″N 96°37’31.6″W
Abandoned San Fernando academy Pontotoc, Texas
In 1882, San Fernando Academy was founded and, at any one given time, had as many as 200 students. However, the academy has since endured nothing but a series of tragedies. In 1887, typhoid fever overtook the town and killed so many people that by 1888, the town cemetery had to be closed down.
Scene is exposed for the milkyway as foreground was lit with a single Coleman lantern. Another Coleman lantern was placed inside the ruins.
Location: 30°54’32.5″N 98°58’39.2″W