Beauty by the Mill

This old mill is now a private residence and the home to the left of the flowering trees is very tastefully decorated with numerous nice touches and places you just want to sit and enjoy a tall glass of lemonade. I will be sharing a shot soon including the house which is visually just perfect sitting beside the old mill. The flowering trees are what caught my eye and with an old victorian home and a mill on either side, it was too hard to resist.

Silent Beauty

A normal bustling street is now devoid of people, an eerie calm surrounds you as you feel like the last person on earth. Similar scenes are playing out across the globe as we all deal with the coronavirus threat. The flowering trees with their heavenly scent take your mind off the fear swirling in your head for just a moment, then in the distance you hear someone sneeze and you make a bee line to your car and hit the gas to get out of town.

Amish Cutie Pie

I happened upon this little cutie at a public fishing spot where her Amish family was having a picnic. The parking is literally 15 feet from the picnic tables, but as I have said before the Amish have very good radar for photographers, and I did give my best performance of acting uninterested in them, but the dad was glancing at me every two minutes,so I knew his spidey sense was tingling. The little girl made eye contact at one point and I smiled at her which seemed to keep her fixated on me. I played a little peek a boo from my car and got this cute shot of her as she reacted.

A Painterly Reflection

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This is another image I captured after looking for water collecting in fields this spring. This old mill sits right along the road and with just a short walk down the bank here,I was rewarded with the morning sun creating this lovely reflection in the ice.A barn across the street adds to the composition in this country scene that would make a gorgeous painting.

Feeding Trough Fiasco

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The old goat seems to have decided he needs to not only eat some hay,but he also chose to take a siesta in the food trough while he was at it. The one young lamb seems to want to call him out on his rude behavior ,but after seeing the horns,he decided to just give him the stare down.It was a bit breezy this day,so maybe the trough gave a little wind relief.

Glistening Terrain

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These two images were shot on the same evening,so I figured I would share them together. Heavy rains were punctuated by brief times of no rain,which kept the roads glistening and a bit reflective,which I used to my advantage in getting the shots. I actually went out for lightning,but it did not flash once all evening.One trick I use when leaving my tripod and camera set up in rainy weather is to put my trucks rubber floor mat over the gear to keep it from getting wet. That works in all but the rainiest or windiest times.

The Waiting Game

amish-farm-fenceThis 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.

The Shindig

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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.

The Red Roof

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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.

Different Directions?

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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?

A Great Evening

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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.

Toe to Toe

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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.

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.

Life in the Slow Lane

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This image turned out pretty well considering it was shot through my truck windshield. I had snapped a few frames from the side of the road and the boys saw me ,so they looked away. I drove around a little while and found them again,so I tried shooting through the windshield as they paused at a stop sign and sure enough,it was sharp. The whole family was dressed in the same color and the little girl looking out the back window and the mom smiling at her were added touches.

 

Spring Palette

wisteria-gardenSpring is advancing rapidly and this most special time of year will soon fade away. I photographed this lovely garden scene that is located within an easy walk from my home and this was shot with winds in the 5-10 mph range, and for this type of work,that’s a little strong. The owners were not home,so I had to light everything from the sidewalk,and wish I had been able to get in different angles with my flash,but this turned out nicely despite that. The scene  was shot with a 70-200 mounted on a tripod and linked to my laptop. I used radio poppers to fire the wireless flash,and a wireless transmitter to fire the camera. I shot about 50 frames,lighting the plants as needed and then brought the pieces together for the result. The owner takes great pride in the property and has a wide variety of unique plants throughout the season. The Wisteria was my main objective,and its fragrant blooms were a delight to see and smell.

Sign,Sign,everywhere a Sign

This is what I consider to be a very ideal location with the covered bridge, the farm, and the family heading down the road together in the wagon. What drives me crazy are the signs that are needed to warn every idiot that has no common sense. We have weight limit signs, one lane bridge signs,and most recently the addition of the wooden beam that hangs at the entrance to alert trucks not to go through. Most people would say no truck would ever try to go through such a structure, but right here in our county a month ago, some idiot actually drove a tractor-trailer through a covered bridge and got stuck going out the other end because the road went down slightly and his trailer jammed against the roof trusses. As I recall from the news, he blamed his GPS for sending him on a back road. Picture yourself in a big rig at the entrance here and thinking to yourself, I am sure I can fit.

Every time I look at this image,all I hear is the old classic tune from the Five man electric band, Sign,Sign,everywhere a sign,blocking up the scenery,breaking my mind. I found it too exhausting to even try cloning out the signs in Photoshop,so I left them. Too much wood detail to bother trying.Interestingly enough, the weekly newspaper just ran a story about the wooden beam hanging down, and called them headache bars.The intended purpose is to give truck drivers a loud smack to hopefully warn them not to proceed any further.

An exercise in frustration

Yesterday we passed the 100 degree mark and as evening approached a bit of relief came through in the form of a storm front. I heard the thunder in the distance, so I grabbed my camera and made a dash for the countryside. I found an excellent location that was right on the fringe of the storm,and was rain free but I have never been so afraid to get out of my truck to try and set up my tripod.Lightning was flickering on three sides of my location and was literally within a few hundred yards as it repeatedly blasted down every few seconds.I watched some amazing bolts fire off right behind the farm I was at, but it was too close to even try setting up. I decided to try and get ahead of the storm and wait somewhere else,but it kept up with me,so I ended up hand holding the camera out my window for this image.

This shot is the only image I managed to capture a bolt on despite shooting 146 frames. I saw some really great bolts here as well, but I already knew trying to capture lightning this way was going to be an exercise in frustration. There were several times I had the camera on multiple frames and saw lightning hit repeatedly in one spot,but never captured a thing. Usually I try to shoot lightning when it’s just getting slightly dark and exposures range from 10-30seconds, so you have that window of time that the shutter is open to catch a bolt. trying to watch and capture a bolt at a 250th of a second in daylight is maddening. A lightning trigger would be great but they run several hundred dollars.This bolt was among the weakest all night, but it is the only one I got.

Hold fast, help is on the way.

This was the scene the other day as temps hit the 90 degree mark with stifling humidity. Local farmers were hard at it harvesting wheat the old-fashioned way with hay forks and an honest days effort. Wagons are loaded full and then taken to threshing machines to separate the various components.The men use two prong pitchforks and they basically guide it to the men on top of the pile. To me it looks like you better be on your toes if your on the receiving end of the pitchfork,which comes within inches of face and hands at times. The bottom image shows how high the stacking can go, and both images were taken from the same vantage point looking different directions,all the while  shooting from my truck with the air conditioner running.These were shot with a 400mm telephoto from about a hundred yards or so away. These men are essentially doing the same task as the modern machine Shot from my june 28th post.

Mansion in bloom

As promised, here is another image taken at the Watt Mansion featuring hydrangea in bloom.Recent severe hot weather has taken its toll on these lovely plants and we are in need of a good soaking rain again. A few flash pops helped light the shaded blooms.

Sorry for the error on calling these hyacinth in my original post. Thankfully a friend pointed out my brain freeze.

My Deer, Can you spare a Buck?

Antlers are covered in velvet as these buck sit face to face in a field.  Velvet provides nutrition and growth to deer antlers.This special tissue is a type of skin, loaded with blood vessels and nerves, that regenerates every year. Because deer shed their antlers annually, they need dense and rapid growth of their antlers to occur every year. Antlers are important in distinguishing the strongest and most viable bucks, who will end up mating and passing on their genes.