This is the Hunsecker’s Mill covered bridge in Lancaster county and it is the longest single span bridge in the county at 180 feet. It has always been painted in some drab shade of gray or brown as long as I can remember and because of that I never really got too excited about it. Most of our local bridges are red, one is white and then this. Here are a few facts, it was built in 1843 at the astronomical cost of $1,988 dollars, and got washed away and destroyed in 1972 by hurricane Agnes. In 1973 it was rebuilt at a cost of $321,302 dollars which is like 166 times more. It is quite common to hear car horns beep as they go through and I have heard it is for good luck or to let oncoming cars know you are in there. The fence was not always here but I like the addition of it as it leads the eye right into the bridge.
I was driving looking for photos recently when I came down a hill and saw some Amish buggies heading out from a farm on the road I was ready to turn onto. I had heard that Tuesdays are a traditional wedding day and this was in fact a Tuesday so I thought this will a happy occasion. So I drive by carefully and just as I approach the main entrance, this crew of Amish young men come barreling out the lane onto the road pushing this giant wagon that they use to haul chairs, benches and what not to various farm gatherings. I had to stop for them and then a little voice said there is a photo op right in front of you! Since I was stuck there I put it in park and opened my door to get a good angle and I took several quick bursts as they moved down the road.
So I was almost done when I heard a voice 30 feet behind me say, ”okay lets move it on now”? I usually stand my ground when someone thinks they are going to force me to listen to their orders but this guy was different and asked in a nice friendly tone. I gave him a puzzled look and he informs me there was a funeral here today? I said I thought it was a wedding and he said I thought that might be the case. I said sorry and made a hasty departure. He must have been a driver who hauls Amish around in a van because he said he never saw anything like this before. Anyway I still like the image I captured on this snowy winter day and the men were laughing as they were pushing the cart so that didn’t exactly help in my decision to shoot.
One local community in Amish country holds what is called heritage days every year in the towns park and I usually drive around the area trying to get images of folks heading to the event. You would never know it by this image but it was getting very late and was very dark when I saw this scene coming together and it forced me to shoot at 2000 iso almost wide open. It is kinda noisy in a large version but still I loved the girls waving to the guys coming up the road as they headed to heritage days.
This Hot Air Balloon was out in the middle of the day recently,which is very unusual,so my guess is there was a young pilot in training.The reason I came to my conclusion is because they came down almost touching the ground to the left of the road here and then took off again. It was a perfect spot to land but they climbed and did this manuever several times across the valley here. I got all excited when I saw they were coming low ,and when this Mennonite buggy stopped at the stop sign,I knew I had a shot. He actually went left at the intersection but he must have been worried the horse was going to get spooked because he sat here a good minute or so. The Mennonite girls on the bicycles had a great view because the balloon was about ten feet over their heads as it drifted over them. Just another day in Lancaster county,Pa.
This is one of many images that I will be sharing from recent mud sales in my area. The first mud sale I went to was of epic proportions this year as rain fell most of the day on an already soaked ground from winter snow melt. The mud was up to a foot deep in some places and I saw more than one Amish gentleman walk right out of his muck boots as they stuck fast. These two guys are moving a purchased buggy through the mud and it appears if they wonder if the other guy is helping? A mud sale is an auction held in spring and is usually muddy because of spring weather.
A few days ago I commented about wanting some more snow this year yet, and lo and behold we got a significant storm that left the region in a glorious coat of white. I shot more beautiful snow scenes in the last two days than all winter before that point. The night it snowed I was out shooting till almost ten at night in a landscape with literally no cars out and about, and then before and after work hoping to get as much captured before it melts. The scene shown here was yesterday morning when the temperature in my truck displayed -6 as I left at 5am to seek out images. The image above was shot later in the morning when it warmed slightly and this shot was captured as I was ready to give up for the morning.
I found this sweeping vista with the road curving into the distance and I had seen a lot of buggies heading to the seasons first mud sale, which is basically an auction held in the spring by various fire companies and the local Amish attend in large numbers. It is called a mud sale because the ground is usually a sloppy mess when they are held,so anyway back to the photo.I set up here with the hope a buggy would pass by and because this location is many miles from the sale I had no idea if a buggy would even be on this road? After 20 minutes of standing in the snow,I gave myself a three-minute countdown to leave and just as I did that I heard the clip clop sound in the distance. I basically looked through the lens and waited for the buggies arrival in the scene and was really excited when I saw the young lad being pulled behind on his wagon. He was probably going to be a runner at the sale and runners help the buyers haul their goodies to their cars which often times are a mile or more away from the sale site due to parking craziness in the country. He seemed to not mind the bitter cold ride and if you look closely you can see someone inside the buggy peeking out the back to either look at me or talk to him. Hopefully I can get to the new images to share before the tulips are blooming,so stay tuned.
Instead of driving around and looking for photo opportunities,I occasionally pick a spot on a back road and wait for potential subjects to come to me. This pair of buggies caught my eye because the one had the two horse setup and both were open buggies. For this particular shot,I had mounted my camera on a window mount and had it wrapped in a brown blanket to hide the camera and keep it low key.You could barely even see the lens,but the guy in the second buggy let out a loud laugh and I heard him say “there is a camera in there” as they passed. They nodded to me sitting in the truck and surely had a story to tell their friends.
This unique moment was one I was glad to have captured but it would have been better with a longer lens.I was driving when I noticed what appeared to be a wheelbarrow load of black puppies being unloaded at an Amish farm and as I scrambled to grab the camera and focus,I see one lone white puppy coming out of the mix.The boy was being very careful with each one and had a big smile the entire time. A 200mm lens barely reached and the light was terrible but just the white puppy and the way I captured him lowering it made for a rather unique moment in time.
This little scene turned out way different than I thought it would and here is why.As I drove past this farm lane I quickly glanced in and saw what I thought was 4 children ready to head out for a wagon ride,and all I saw was the kids all loaded and ready to lead the horse,so I decided to go a short ways up the road and wait for them to come by.After about three minutes,I became impatient and drove back to see what the hold up was,and that’s when it became clear that the horse was fake and it was a training session I had witnessed.By then all but one had gone somewhere else and it is one of those shots I will play over in my head that I should have gotten.
One thing I can tell you about the Amish and that is they are keenly aware of their surroundings. I was parked in a spot along the road to capture this family passing by and was using a long lens around 400mm to keep some distance, and I no sooner raised my camera and the dad immediately looked back.Their must be a young one up front because there is a car seat plopped in the back with the kids,unless the child is strapped in with the siblings watching.