Thomas in Amish Country


Thomas the tank engine made another appearance at Lancaster counties Strasburg Railroad recently and I was lucky enough to be driving by on a side road when I noticed this group of Amish boys waiting for the train to come. The entire crew of youngsters had just placed multiple pennies on the tracks as I was getting out of my car,and if you look closely at the boy in the pink shirt,you can see him looking at his penny on the tracks as Thomas approaches. I walked up behind them with my attention looking down the tracks so as to act uninterested and as the train got closer, I got into position to capture them enjoying the passing locomotive.

Amish Mafia?


The rumored Amish Mafia might have been caught on camera by me as they prepared to launch a sneak attack on an unsuspecting tourist buggy. Tourists love to take these buggy rides through the countryside here, and I can’t blame them,but now that discovery channel has the show Amish mafia, folks are worried they might run into this gang of outlaws. Here they have what I can only guess is some sort of explosive device,and I believe they are trying to get close enough to take out a dozen tourists at once. If you read the above info and are stupid enough to believe any of it, please watch Amish Mafia for your fill of the most idiotic program on TV. Oh,by the way,they are really headed for a propane refill but if you live in a fantasy world and insist on believing there really is such a thing as an Amish mafia,that’s your choice.

Amish Essentials



On a sunday evening out, there are a few things you want to have. The first is a bucket of pretzels,hanging on the right, a bag of goodies hanging on the left, the volleyball net,hanging underneath and of course your best man on your right. Have these things,and an evening of fun is just around the bend.


Ready Yourself


Lately I have been keenly aware of a dramatic shift that seems to be taking place in the good old U.S. of A. This blog is supposed to be about photography, but each day the news brings something more bizarre that makes me wonder if we are perhaps approaching the point of no return? From random shootings to government surveillance of its citizens, to the fact that many people are hoarding food and weapons,something is definitely in the air. I have said many times that if our founding fathers were to be planted back here today,they would be in utter shock at how far we have slid. I come from a very conservative region,and have no intention of offending anyone who has different views, but from my vantage point I see a population of apathetic citizens who want to be led around like lambs to the slaughter, so ready yourself because a storm is on the horizon.

Dreamy Mansion

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Two views of the same Victorian home shot in infrared. The sky was stormy and the sun was barely out,so infrared was not as strong this evening. I like both images about the same. This home has the most gorgeous wrap around porch that has to be seen in person to be appreciated.

No Place Like Home


This local home is one I have always considered to be a true masterpiece. It was built in 1905 by Benjamin Gonder and the architectural detailing is magnificent. I was driving by recently and noticed this patch of flowers along the driveway entrance. The blooms were calling out to me,so I bravely knocked at the door and was met by the owner who graciously allowed me on the property. I said I wanted to snap a few flower pictures and as usual I spent more than an hour at it.

Whenever you meet someone new like this,there is always a bit of uncertainty on their part about who this person is and are they legit. The owner came out after an hour because they wondered how long a snapshot takes? I reassured her that with me,it can be pretty involved to get it all right. She then offered to allow me to go take a peek out back and possibly shoot the rose garden,which was absolutely stunning and that will be a post for another day. For this image,I waited till dusk for the interior light to show,and then lit the plants with flash. As I recall, the owners referred to themselves as the caretakers,which I took to meaning that some homes are so special that they are really something unto themselves and are not owned but cared for, but I might have that all wrong too.

The Kings Palace?



Is this the palace of an Arabian king, a temple along the Nile river, or the final resting place of some middle eastern ruler? Well none of the above,it is actually the home of Sight and Sound Theatres,which is the largest faith-based theatre in the country and it is in Lancaster county. Their live recreations of Biblical stories are unparalleled,and years ago I saw their production of Noah,which included countless live animals and a huge ark. Google it to see the stage. Shot both images in infrared and the sky in the top one is awesome in my opinion.

My Hero


I am not sure exactly why the girl is crying,but seconds before, the horse-drawn cart behind them had stopped and it had a wagon behind it and a blanket covering it. Maybe it had a pet or something she wanted,but when it left,she started wailing. Just like that, big brother pulled up on his tricycle and took her hand.This all took about 10 seconds from start to finish.I was lucky enough to capture it. shot with an 80-400mm.

Toe to Toe


This scene is one I have seen played out countless times over the years, but only recently did I decide to capture it. I never gave it much thought till I stopped and evaluated my image, and it is not too hard to imagine that this could potentially turn ugly if the puller in front slipped, and the pusher did not stop soon enough. Maybe its the way he is leaning to go up hill that made me pause,but she can’t be more than 4 feet in front,but she still has ten toes,so they have a system.

Personally I am getting more frustrated every day with the direction I see our country headed,but maybe old age is just making me more irritable.Here is one example in contrast to the Amish. Our local elementary school has now decided that they are removing all the swings sets because they are a liability issue. For over 200 years,children have been able to handle this dangerous item, but now we must protect them from this danger. Life is meant to be lived and taking responsibility for our choices and the results of those choices is all part of it.I say If you want to mow your grass in bare feet, have at it,because its your decision. these siblings really are going toe to toe in their chores together as they get a firm lesson in team work.

A Little Amish Humor



This buggy caught my eye as I passed it on a quiet back road, so I pulled over and left it pass me and I captured a few frames as the message on the rear triangle came into focus. It says, “powered by oats,don’t step in exhaust”. I must admit that although I have lived in this rural community all my life,there are many things that I am still not sure of in relation to Amish life. They certainly are similar in many respects to the general public, but are worlds apart in other aspects. I have come across Amish who are very kind, those who are friendly,the occasional nasty one,and every type in between. They have a sense of humor,as evidenced by the sign, and hopefully folks who visit the area realize that TV shows like Amish mafia are absolutely ridiculous and should not even be on the air. The real Amish are right here and worthy of respect. The youngster looking out the back is either gesturing that I can take one photograph, or I am about to be scolded.

The Light Still Shines


strasburg-angelThis image was taken this past weekend in the town of Strasburg,Pa, and was shot at St Michael’s Lutheran church, which dates back to the early 1700s. I had been driving around looking for scenery and the evening was a little lackluster so I decided to stop and light paint this scene.The Angelic statue was lit using a small flashlight to bring out the details and the rest of the scene was illuminated by flash.


Saddle up your Horse

amish-kids-harnessAnother day of driving around found youngsters out of school and having fun on the farm. I guess the scooter driver is trying to race the horse on the reigns. I like the way they are really in sync as they charge ahead. Hopefully the suspenders will not break or the horse might get a snap on the back.

Down in the Meadow

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I had to post these two images to help tell the story. I was driving around looking for images and although you would never know it by the appearance of these, it was very late and very dark. I was using an 80-400 and was at 300mm or so and a shutter speed of a 350th second. That is too slow for this lens,but I braced myself on my truck window and snapped a few shots. All four siblings were near the wheelbarrow and the little one in the wheelbarrow with grass clippings piled on her had me in stitches. The father came pulling up with the team of horses and their attention focused on him. I really like the top image but if the little one in the wheelbarrow would be visible in that image,it would be priceless.All I needed was for the older boy to step to his right and she would have been in the image.

Shine it up



An Amish girl shines up a buggy while conversing with a friend. If you look closely,there is a stepped wooden contraption at the rear wheel that is used to quickly lift the buggy to let the wheel freely spin while washing it. Might be a homemade device but it worked nicely.