This photo is a good example of keeping your eyes open for opportunities. It has been hot and dry lately and it seems this is a great time to harvest wheat so I was canvasing the countryside when I came upon this family working as a team loading the wagon. I have snapped the occasional photo of members of this family before working in the fields and they kind of giggled when they saw me with the camera in the car. The one room school was the perfect backdrop and the way the pitchforks were flying, it is a miracle no one gets jabbed. At one point they got within earshot and asked if I wanted to help and they knew by the look on my face this old fart wasn’t getting out of the car so they had a good laugh over that? Photos like this remind me of my younger days when I would occasionally get invited by Amish to take photos from up on their loaded wagons and I always felt incredibly lucky that they left me into their world for a moment.
The group shown here are Mennonite but for those new to my site, we also have a large Amish population here in Lancaster county. Their is currently an 18 yr old Amish girl that inexplicably went missing almost 3 weeks ago after a Church service held at a farm. After all my years of photographing Lancaster county and the Amish culture, this event is truly a mystery. I have taken photographs in the exact area she went missing in and even though their have been searches all over the fields in the area, nothing out of the ordinary has been found and no signs of foul play were found. I honestly can say I am somewhat glad I have not gone out shooting down in that area in a couple years because people are desperate for answers and anyone out driving would be a suspect or a witness. On Sunday morning I just felt compelled to go down and drive the roads around where this occured and even though the entire area has been searched, I felt I needed to just look and see if anything caught my eye. There are a million sleuths on the internet who all have their own theory, but the two at the top are, 1-she walked away from the way of life and is safe somewhere and ,2- someone grabbed her. The thing I did not expect on my Sunday drive was the multiple Police cars I saw parked in the area. My feeling was they were watching to see if anything hokey might happen? The first car I saw surprised me but when I came out on another road to a stop sign, there were three more parked. I thought to myself they are probably writing my license number down to check everyone and might even pull me over but they didn’t.
The other night I went through a boatload of my shots to see if she was on anything I had taken over the years, but despite the fact she somewhat looked familiar to me, I could not find a single shot. My thought was if I did have something, I would give it to the parents as something to keep their hope alive. The other thing is I have not shot anything in a few years so for all I know I could have something but never could recognize her in a younger picture. Anyway if you are so inclined, say a prayer for her safe return or a call from her telling everyone she is safe. I am hopefully attaching a pdf here so even more eyes will be on this.