A Barn Like No Other

Posted: 4th July 2014 by ToadHollowPhoto in Photography
Tags: , , , , , , ,

What is it about old barns that captures our minds and attention?  Is it the juxtaposition of a man-made wooden structure standing in what is typically a field?  Is it the longing for times past, a connection with the physical work we do and it’s importance in our survival?  These days some of these elements are lost, likely due to modern lifestyles and conveniences.  In some ways I think this adds to the allure.

Old Wooden Character Barn - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Old Wooden Character Barn – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

It was a grey and overcast day, the clouds created a thick layer of diffusion for the light and added a touch of drama to the skies.  Mrs. Toad and I were chasing treasures around the mid-island on an electronic form of a scavenger hunt.  Only on this hunt we weren’t looking for specific items, we were on the hunt for locations and landmarks based on clues passed out at each checkpoint.  It was a day of adventure, one that we will both long remember.

Old Wooden Character Barn - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Old Wooden Character Barn – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

As the day progressed, we found ourselves traveling the back roads and highways of the island, going through beautiful rolling hills and farms, seeing sights that are familiar to us yet at the same time still discovering the wonder in the world we find ourselves immersed in.  We often talk about retiring up in this area to a bucolic life in the rustic belt on the island.  We shall see what the long-term fates have in store for us in the coming years.  Even as we were considering this excitedly in the car, we turned a corner to find this old wooden barn.

Old Wooden Character Barn - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Old Wooden Character Barn – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Our weather is a harsh mistress to our buildings here on Vancouver Island.  Unfinished wood becomes quickly weathered in the dampness that seems to permeate the island for many months of the year.  We don’t typically get much snow here even though we live on the west coast of Canada, but this doesn’t alleviate the effects of cold and damp on wood over time.  It’s this very combination of things that makes for great barns.

Who’s barn is this?  What is the story behind it?  Is it new and freshly weathered, or is it 100 years old?  If it’s an old one, it’s been well maintained.  The structure looks sound and relatively intact.  Many of our forgotten barns possess no straight lines, and in some cases look like they are just a few days away from completely crumbling into the grounds that support them.  Not this barn.  Not anytime soon.

Old Wooden Character Barn - Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Old Wooden Character Barn – Vancouver Island, BC, Canada –

Even the fence that creates a barrier for roving photographers seems to have had a life of its own.  Oh, the secrets it could tell, my friends.  And even though scenes like this are becoming far rarer as the years fly by, the sense of wonder and artistic tension we find here today seems to take on a deeper meaning, a deeper sense of importance, and a deeper sense of longing for a simpler life.

What draws you to scenes like these?  What is it about this that resonates with you?  We truly love to hear from all our visitors, so please feel free to leave us your comments and thoughts below.  Thanks for your visit today, we look forward to next time!




  1. avatar Spencer says:

    You images are always so darn striking. My favorite barn shot is number 2. I think this historic barn holds a story from days gone by. Looking into all of the fine details helps this one come to life. Well photographed and perfect composition. Good day to the Toads.

    • Hi Spencer, it’s sure terrific to see you pop by The Hollow today my friend! Many thanks for taking the time to do so and for your terrific comments! We really appreciate it! Good day to you as well, kind sir, and best wishes to you and your family from your friendly Toads!!

  2. avatar Jim Denham says:

    No matter how similar they can be, every barn is unique and can draw us in. Brilliant images Toad!

    • Jim, it’s always a huge honor for us when you pop by The Hollow and leave us your thoughts, and today is certainly no exception! Many thanks for taking the time my good friend, I really appreciate it.

  3. avatar Bev Oliver says:

    No question whose photos these are. Always the same magical effect. You’re a toad like no other, sir!

  4. avatar Lisa Gordon says:

    I have so often asked myself the very same question, about both old barns, and “broken” houses. I remember once, several years ago, as I was going out the door with my camera, hearing my son say to my daughter, “Mom is going out to take pictures of dead flowers and condemned buildings.”

    I think that for me, it is wondering what wonderful stories they have to tell, in spite of how they look. Either way, I just love them, and this one is a real beauty!

    • Thank you Lisa! It appears that you and I share a deep love and passion for photographing similar subjects! Thanks so much for taking the time to pop by for a visit, and for your absolutely terrific comments!!

  5. Sweet textures, that was the perfect cloud day to highlight this great old barn

  6. avatar LensScaper says:

    These wonderful structures are one of the last remaining links with the agricultural past. We can only imagine how they worked but we can still see where and how they stored their labour. They are the silent witnesses to a bygone time. Great shots, Toad

    • What fabulous thoughts you’ve shared here, Andy! I am sure they will resonate with others, as well! Many many kind thanks for popping on by and leaving these for us and for everyone to enjoy!

  7. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    I think it is curiosity that draws us to these old, weathered structures Toad. Lots of questions unanswered. At one time, it was probably a vibrant part of someone’s life. Now abandoned and on its last legs. What indeed is the storyline here? Terrific post and images, my friend.

  8. I always wonder about the stories when a see a place like this. Who lived there? What were their lives like? What happened to them? I really like your perspective in the last photo and great sky in all of them!

    • Many, many thanks my dear friend, it’s a huge honor for us when you pop by The Hollow here and leave us your always terrific comments, Anne! Best wishes for you guys on your summer there!!

  9. avatar tom paterson says:

    Hi, Scott: When I was growing up by Swan Lake, in Saanich, in the ’50s, all the neighbouring farms had neat barns for us to play in. I know the sweet smell of hay in a loft, and cow urine and patties, oh so well. In fact, living in the Cowichan Valley as I do, I get olfactory reminders of dairy cows quite frequently and it never bothers me because those are natural smells, not to be compared with diesel fumes and other man-made stinks.
    As usual, you’ve captured this barn with your camera and your artist’s eye. Bravo Zulu, as they say in the navy!

    • What an honor, TW, thank you so much for taking the time to pop by our little corner of the internet, and leave your wonderful comments that I am sure all our readers will enjoy! Many thanks, my good friend!

  10. Really like the first one!

  11. avatar Jim Nix says:

    dang I love barns! always have and surely always will – great shots and thanks for reminding me how great the country is 🙂