Lens Artists Photo Challenge – Countryside and Small Towns

This week, it’s Amy’s turn to give us a theme for the weekly photo challenge and she picked an interesting topic. I’ll be looking forward to seeing all my blogger friends’ responses. Amy asked us to focus our collective lens upon the countryside and small towns. You can read her entire challenge post here. I have many photos of the countryside that I’ve shared over the years, so for my challenge response, I’ll share some of the photos I’ve captured featuring small towns I have visited over the years. The opening image features a view of an alleyway in the small town of Malpica, a town of about 650 population in Sinaloa, Mexico.

Veggie Delivery

In the Mexican state of Oaxaca, you will find the small town of Santa Maria. The population of this community is about 8,000 residents. In the image above, a brother and sister are delivering veggies to their customers on their daily route.

From the larger town in Mexico, we travel to my home state of North Dakota. The historic Preston Country Church is located about six miles (9.6 km) from the nearest town and continues to serve its parishioners on Sunday mornings, many of whom come from Fort Ransom, population about 75 residents.

Moving to the mid-Atlantic state of North Carolina, the S&T Soda Shoppe serves Pittsboro, a small town of 4,000 or so residents in Chatham County. The Soda Shoppe is modeled after the classic shops of the early 20th century and is a favorite hangout of my son, Josh and his wife, who live in the country near here.

Just next door to North Carolina, about 35 miles north of the state line, Smithfield Virgina (population, about 8500) features an old fashioned 1950’s era diner, the Smithfield Ice Cream Parlor. I couldn’t resist giving the photo a black-and-white treatment focusing on the large amount of red accent colors in the restaurant.

Small towns are known for their eclectic events. Jamestown, North Dakota is barely on the edge of being a small town with its population of just over 15,000 residents. Annually, they have a kite fest and even though the day was dampened with rain showers, a great turnout of families took advantage of the day’s breezes to launch dozens of kites. The three-day activity draws kite enthusiasts from all around the region and features a precision kite flying team that puts on regular demonstrations of their competition level kites flying in formation.

Thanks for a great challenge topic, Amy. It gave me the opportunity to share some of the small towns I’ve visited and photographed in the last few years since rekindling my interest in photography.

John Steiner


  1. Great subject! Sadly or happily depending on what side of the fence you’re on there working on a development in PIttsboro which will bring 30,000 more people with it. There’s already sewage issues and the development company is being fined daily. Blurg. I wish we could’ve shut the door to the north behind us when we came here. Hahaha

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