Dark Corners


The mansion was warm and inviting by the light of day. However, an entirely different character descended upon the house on that November evening.

My wife and I chose to spend her birthday weekend in Napa, California. Strangely enough, I don’t know that we sipped any wine during this entire trip. Instead, we explored the countryside and gentrified downtown district of Napa. At the epicenter of our stay was Churchill Manor: a sprawling and stunning plantation-style home built in 1889. It is today a bed and breakfast — and one of the most beautiful we’ve ever visited. Had you stepped into the place, the furnishing and decoration might have convinced you that you’d been transported back to the day it was built.

Unfortunately, epicenter is a appropriate word to describe the location of the Manor. A 6.0 magnitude earthquake shook the Napa community in late 2014, damaging hundreds of buildings in addition to the Manor. We spotted gashes in wall paper and tears across entire walls as we walked around the beautiful old home. These wounds and the antique decor lent the place a slightly sinister character that was only amplified at nightfall.

It was in the evening that I snapped this monochrome, still-life photo of a particular dark corner of the house. The weak light of the lamp seemed as though it was losing a fight against the shadows. What was ordinarily a cozy reading corner had become more than a little haunting thanks to the shift of light.

Never fear though; I concluded that the place isn’t at all haunted. Stay tuned for future posts that feature other images of this charming location.

Hang this photo on your wall

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Where were you when a shift in light changed the character of your subject entirely?