Did you ever feel like you had a cloud hanging over you? Well this particular afternoon found me in that situation,after a storm front came through,huge billowing clouds were seen hanging somewhat low in the sky and this one cloud seemed to be looming large over the farm and the resulting image turned out to my liking. Growing sweet corn is making it more difficult to see into the landscape in many places,so climbing on my truck roof will become more commonplace.
This farm and fence shot proves that a mediocre scene can become a winner with the right light. I have driven past this spot dozens of times and never gave it a thought before,but late evening sidelight and a dark sky behind the barn made me pull over on this occasion. I liked the leading line of the fence but hated the empty road,so I decided to sit till dark if necessary to get a buggy or something interesting passing by. Well I sat and sat,and thought you got to be kidding me that no buggies are out tonight,and an hour in this lone buggy came trotting by just as the youngster was coming to feed the horses. He looked so serious,I thought he was going to say get lost,but he merely fed the mother and colt.
One thing I remember about this evening was the group of Amish kids at the farm behind me who were watching me from behind the raspberry bushes and when I would turn they would duck,as if I had no clue they were there.Finally one got brave enough to move closer and smile and wave.They are always intrigued by the camera on the tripod and must have wondered what this idiot saw that was worth waiting so long for.It was the only shot I got that night but was well worth the drive in my opinion.
This is a typical one room school in Lancaster County ,with the one exception that it still has a nice white fence around it. Many schools have been encircled with chain link fence or something similar after the tragedy at nickel mines a few years ago. As a photographer trying to capture the uniqueness of the landscape,it is much harder to get a shot like this anymore. Storm clouds in the background are what I had been following and when I spotted this foreground,I had to stop. A lovely farm is located a short distance away.
This full moon was shot last month on the morning following the rise of the super moon the night before. I headed out before sunrise and tracked this moon as I looked for a suitable foreground and I found this farm. As I was getting myself all primed up to capture it as it got lower on the horizon,wouldn’t you know it,what appeared to me to be a crystal clear sky,was actually hiding a bank of dark blue clouds and about the 4th frame of shooting,the moon started to be gobbled up into oblivion,which is seconds after I shot the top image. It was a surprise to me,but that’s how it goes with full moon shooting it seems.
This is the only remaining structure left from the mountain springs resort built in 1848 and the rest was torn down several years ago ,with this part being restored. It sits on a steep hill and the large expanse of coneflowers made an impressive foreground so I made an attempt to capture the scene.The hill falls away fast,which necessitated me placing my tripod at maximum height and using my laptop to gets things lined up correctly. I started shooting about an hour before sunset and held in there till the sky started to light up with an amazing sunset. I almost wished I had gone with a wider shot because the sky was even more dazzling to the left of my composition but I was too locked in at this point. The shadows on the back wall of the porch are from my big flash,which I used to add detail under the roof line and I experimented with different angles till I got the shadow to fall on the wall between the windows,which shows the woodwork detail. Several presidents including Abraham Lincoln stayed in this building,so its kind of neat to capture it today.
Hopefully anyone that reads this will know what a shindig is, but if you don’t, it is another word for a get together or party. Not that the Amish are party people but they do know how to have fun too. In this image I could see volleyball nets,guys talking around the back of the barn and a group of girls laying in a circle on the grass chit chatting. I was driving around looking for scenery and saw this lane leading in,and as I debated whether to shoot it or not,I saw a group of 4 girls heading toward me with walking sticks. I waited till they headed down the lane to snap any photos and although they are a small part of the shot,I think it turned out nicely. Sweet corn is growing on each side of the lane and should be in abundant supply this year.
Hydrangea is one of my favorite summer flowers because of its pastel hues and the way it can enhance any garden setting.Shades range from deep purple to blue to pink and lavender and the plant never fails to be visually stimulating. This scene is in my hometown and was shot at dusk using several pops of flash on both the foreground home and the next door neighbors home as well. Thankfully both home owners were more than happy to let me fire the flash a few times to get the shot.
I wanted to share this image from last night because it struck me as the ultimate contrast in lifestyles. What you are seeing is an Amish family welcoming a child from the fresh air program to Lancaster county. As they made their way to their transportation home,which was the horse and buggy,I could only image the thoughts going through her mind. A young girl, used to the hustle and bustle of New York City,was now boarding a buggy to experience life in the slow lane.I assume she was a return guest because she did not bat an eye as she climbed aboard for her ride to her home away from home.Oh the stories she will tell when she gets home.
Some followers have mentioned they like hearing the stories behind my images,so I will share a slightly long story if you care to read. This Amish farm recently had a new roof put on and a red one at that,which immediately caught my eye. I decided to head out on a sunday morning and compose a shot that might include Amish buggies passing by,and this image is the result of waiting for the right moment with several buggies on the road. Tripod is on my truck roof and I am inside the truck with my laptop controlling the camera.
The memorable part of this day began with the actual Amish man who owns the farm stopping at my window as he drove by in his buggy,and asking whats up? I told him I was shooting the nice barn and left out the part about the buggies,and off he went. Three hours later I was down the road shooting buggies passing and much to my surprise,he pulls up to my window again and says,now seriously whats up? I quickly came up with a viable possibility and He says he was wondering if I was filming for the Amish Mafia TV series? This absolutely stunned me that he even knew such a show existed,but I assured him I hated the show and we talked a little while longer and off he went. I made him a 12×18 print of his farm and matted it for him and he was very happy with the gift.
One thing that puzzles me is about fifty percent of the horses that see my rooftop tripod have a slightly scared look as they see it, and one Amish guy told me horses don’t like things higher than their head. Why does my tripod appear any different to them than trees,telephone poles,etc? It is not moving at all and should be of no concern. Amazingly enough in the days since I composed this post, I witnessed a horse at a railroad crossing who seemed terrified of the crossing sign support and took several cracks of the whip till he moved passed them,which seems to confirm this hypothesis.
This Lancaster county scene is one that is repeated each sunday morning as buggies head to church at rotating farms.Shots like this always involve a little bit of luck and I was pretty excited to see an open buggy heading up the hill and was very focused on capturing it at the right point in the frame,but when the other one came from behind,I was really excited. If you look closely there is one coming out the lane and one on the far hill. The one in the lane stopped and asked what I was shooting and I said the nice farm down there,which brought a slight smile. Every once in a while I run into a passing motorist who stops and wants to question me about what I am shooting and that happened this morning. A large van pulled up beside me,asked what I was shooting and when I said the farm down there,they said did you get permission? I then asked if he was with the photography police?,to which he rolled up his window and drove away. The buggy heading down the hill was the one and only headed that direction,and that is one thing that is very hard to figure out. Everybody and their brother is heading north and this lone guy heads south?
I never post this many shots at once,but I wanted to show the different images I captured at one location on a stormy afternoon. I had been hanging out with friends one sunday afternoon and right near supper time these amazing clouds started moving in so I grabbed my gear and headed out. The top image is what I was after and I barely got the shot because the sky was changing so fast and the time between the first and second image is around ten minutes. After the storm blew over and poured down buckets of rain, I decided to try and get ahead of the storm and drove about twenty miles to get to the leading edge of the storm and gave up because I was getting into an area that was not very scenic. Next I turned around to head home and as sunset got closer,I decided to retrace my route and as I got back to the farm again,rain was stopping which left the road glistening and reflecting the colorful sky. The last shot was taken very close to the spot I shot the first image from, and all in all turned out to be a great afternoon of shooting.
This image was the only one I got this evening after heading out in search of storms. Wicked weather had just left a trail of destruction about a half hour before I came into this area,so I just drove around watching thunderheads forming. I saw the setting sun lighting these clouds and this farm came to mind as being in the right position in the foreground,so I made a bee line to get here and just made it before the light faded.
I wanted to post this series to show some of the reactions I get sometimes. The top image was the one I was after and was shot at a good distance, but as they got farther out in the field, I decided to move and get a rear view straight on. I was not totally watching the whole time and as I got in position I thought is he sleeping on the back? Well photo 3 shows the answer to that question,and when I get something like this, I wonder what would dad think if he knew he was doing it? Not sure what crop they are planting but I am leaning toward lettuce. There was about 2 seconds between photo 2 and 3.
Admittedly for me, this type of shot is one I always struggle with when it comes to post processing and trying to make the image reflect the original scene. I was heading home after an evening of shooting and this scene across the valley caught my eye. A light fog had started to settle in and the farmer was doing late day chores,so the contrast of the cool evening and warm interior beckoned me to stop. I shot this with about 300-400mm and I was on my truck roof with shutter speeds ranging from half a second to 2 seconds. It was a lot darker than my image appears here but making it dark never seems to print right or look right to my eye. I am surprised the cows are so sharp.