As much as I photograph the Amish where I live, I must admit I know relatively little about much of their lives and the things I see. Take for instance the two adults and two children shown here, who were out in their buggy on a weekday wearing these rather unique bonnets. It was slightly cool this morning so maybe they are merely warmer than the regular covering I often see them wearing but then again I may be way off. Either way I liked the cool wagon and the attire so I snapped a quick shot with a long lens.
This pair of Amish farms appear to be on the same property, when in reality they are separated by maybe a quarter-mile and there is actually a road that runs between them. Using a long lens of 300-400mm helps compress the distance.What caused me to stop in the first place was the late evening blue light on the metal roof as the sun was quickly dropping toward the horizon and putting things in shade.
Sometimes you just need to be in the right spot at the right time of day to see the potential and although I have driven down this road several times in the past, I never saw the light quite as nice as it was this evening. I parked and set my tripod on the truck roof to get a better perspective of the road and linked up to my tablet and wi-fi to fire the camera from the driver’s seat. I sat here for the better part of an hour this evening as the light got dimmer and dimmer and getting a 500th of a second shutter speed was getting harder to achieve with every passing minute. I was getting close to packing it in when I saw the girl coming up the road with her horses and I could also here a buggy coming from behind me. I was hoping the two would be in my shot at the same time but as I saw the buggy coming in my rear view mirror, I noticed it had a pickup truck right behind it that was afraid to pass. I knew this might be my only buggy till dark so using a little creative manuevering,I poked my head out the window and flagged the pickup truck to stop and I asked if they knew what time it was? The passenger seat had an Amish guy sitting in it and he gave me the time and asked what I was shooting? I said that pretty red barn, and all the while we were talking I was pressing the remote to fire the camera on the roof above me and he certainly heard it but it did not really matter. As you can see I got the shot, and I plan to return to get something better yet if possible because I love the way the road leads up through to the barn.Sometimes you just have to think fast on your feet if you want to get a shot, and thankfully this time it all worked out.
I always get a kick out of seeing things in my photo that I had no idea were there when I shot them. In this shot I thought I captured a basic Amish family of five traveling together till I noticed the sixth head peeking out on the front left. Maybe she needed a nap and was laying under their feet up front.
Some folks have expressed they like to hear the back story on my images so I thought some might enjoy this bit of irony. I set up on the side of the road this past sunday at this farm I found because I like the way the road leads in,and I wanted to get a buggy going by within the scene. Camera is on a tripod on my truck roof pointed down the road and I use a remote to fire it and view said image on the tablet on my lap. Well after getting the top image, a half hour goes by with nothing and it is nearing sunset when the three Amish ladies walk toward me and one gets brave enough to ask what I am shooting? I quickly blurted out I was waiting for a hot air balloon to come over and they continued on their way and I thought to myself how absurd was that to think I could sit somewhere and wait for a balloon? Well I decided it was getting too dark for anything moving and the sunset was getting real nice so I headed up the road about a mile to the spot in the lower shot, and I was not there two minutes when a hot air balloon appeared over the field in the distance where I just was parked earlier. I stood there in utter amazement, and decided to rush back that way to see the balloon and get a shot. Well till I drove a mile it had already landed and was nearly fully deflated and guess where it landed? You got it, right in that field to the left of where I was parked for the last hour. The bottom photo shows the sunset after all the excitement and what was really frustrating was how beautiful it was and I had nothing to include with it where I was situated. When someone says painterly,this sky is what I think of.
While this is no great shot,it did leave me cracking up till I was done shooting it. Lately around my area you have been hearing people make comments about safety on the farm and kids getting hurt and while I understand the well-meaning thoughts,I also think that it is none of anybody’s business how they choose to teach and raise their kids. Obviously there is nothing wrong with trying to insure kids stay safe, but people moving to the suburbs often have no clue about living the life the Amish choose. Getting back to the shot here, I must admit I cringe a little whenever I see barefoot Amish kids mowing as a team with the old-fashioned clipper mower,where one uses a rope to help pull from the front. I can tell you the little one fell down a couple of times but big brother seemed to be very careful about stopping. The hilarious part for me was they never knew I was taking their picture till the last shot shown here where he looks at me,and three steps into looking at me he runs smack into the metal wall and I hear a thud off the wall and he drops to the ground. They both laugh and then head in the barn for other chores. Just wish I had it on video.
This is one of those times were everything came together right in front of me to make a neat shot. I was looking for images and saw these youngsters in the top photo heading up the road alone with the stroller so I snapped a quick shot. Just beyond my car was a lane leading into a farm and no sooner had they passed me,a buggy came from the other way and stopped at the lane to get the mail, which is my favorite image here. As they stood there,a young woman was heading out the lane to get the mail on her scooter and that is what they are looking at. After she arrived out at the road, they all loaded up in the buggy and put the stroller and scooter in the back and headed back down the lane.
This little structure reminds me of something from the Hobbit movies and I was just waiting for Bilbo Baggins to emerge under the lantern. I really liked the result I achieved here using my flashlight to illuminate the front wall and the lantern as well,which was actually broken and non functioning. I waited till the ambient light level dropped to a low-level and then used my flashlight to cast a warm tone on the front while the cool of the night burned the edges a blue tone,creating the contrast of warm verses cold.