Over the past few weeks I’ve had a few days here and there for weekend travel, and churches are a theme that I usually can add to as I drive around most locations. For example, on a recent long weekend in southern Georgia I shot over three dozen rural churches and then several more on Christmas weekend trip in Florida.
The majority of the churches I first see online using a variety of searches and then use Google Earth to put together a route (or add them to a drive I already am making).
Georgia has a lot of rural areas so old churches are still plentiful. In Florida, it can be a little harder, but central Florida still has its share. The small towns typically have a cluster of churches and so when looking for a specific church I often stumble on another church or two worth photographing close by.
Another thing to consider is that there are usually large trees surrounding the older churches, so I’ve found winter an easier time to photograph without the leaves obscuring much of the scene.
Many of the churches I see are still in use, but in the rural areas, services may be held more infrequently. And of course there are the churches in isolated areas or ghost towns that have been abandoned for awhile.
The light and conditions can be challenging depending on when you find the churches as wooden churches are generally painted white and reflect a lot of sunlight. But I try not to skip an opportunity to photograph an old church even if the conditions are poor, because you never know if it’ll be there the next time you pass that way.