That’s Plum Fantastic

Amish family siblings set out along a back road in Lancaster County wearing a lovely shade of purple. I really have no idea why they dress alike or how they decide on the colors but I cannot recall ever seeing a family wearing different colors while out as a family. Maybe it basically is to conform and not be so worldly by expressing to much individuality?

A Slight Miscalculation

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.

Fresh out of the Oven

I had been looking for snow scenes recently and was traversing the back roads thinking how nice it would be to see a sleigh and to my surprise a few minutes later one came up the road. The bottom photo was my first glimpse of the sleigh and to the left of the tree is a farm lane the sleigh is about to take which leads to a country store. I was fairly confident he was heading there so I slowly made my way up the lane to the store and the middle picture shows the young lad finishing up tying the horse. For some reason at this point I decided to stop shooting and set the camera back in my bag. I glance back over and the kid is now lifting a whole rack with fresh bread from the back of the sleigh. He took the bread into the store before I could even try to get a shot. So I thought to myself he will probably be coming back out the lane shortly and I could try to get a shot again. So I parked on the road and sure enough it was only a few minutes and here he comes but he noticed me up the road and all of a sudden you would have thought he was running the Kentucky Derby as he exited the lane onto the main road!  I am almost certain this horse has all four hooves off the ground.

This is among one the first Amish images I have taken since the abduction of Linda Stoltzfoos and this location might be 3 miles from her home. This heartbreaking event left its mark on many, including me and I feel for the family and their loss. I feel like I have been blessed to be able to capture the Amish in a variety of ways and have gotten a small glimpse into the way they live. Hopefully I will regain my passion for capturing our county and them after this event fades a bit.

Mail Pouch Barn

I happened to drive by this nice Mail Pouch barn a week or so ago and the fall foliage was at it’s peak so I knew with all the windy days we have had, I better get on trying to capture it while it lasted. This is actually an evening shot and with a little blast from my off camera flash, the leaves revealed their lovely fall hues. I do have a few more from here on sunny days that I hope to share soon as well.

A Game of Cat & Mouse

I was coming down a local backroad yesterday and up ahead I noticed an Amish farm stand and there was a buzz of activity focused in one area beside the road. Luckily there was another business straight across the street where I could park unnoticed for a while. There were kids, teens, and adults all filling pots with soil that were then lined up in rows in a growing area. I may be wrong but I think they were the beginnings of fall mums because this same location has had a large crop of mums in this exact spot for several years. With that being said, I watched all the activity around the farm for photo ops and I noticed way back the lane there were some youngsters playing with this tricycle/cart setup. I was quite frustrated because they were about 75 yards away and my longest lens was still not able to reach them so I waited and hoped.

Before long they disappeared behind the barn but a few minutes later they reappeared on a lane that went around the barn in a U-shape. I watched as the came almost to the road and then rode away again and I thought well you missed your chance. I then drove to the opposite end of the lot and there was exactly one spot left and guess where it was located?  You got it, it was straight across the road from the lane they were playing in!  I watched as they came toward me and rode away and tried my best to look disinterested and on the third trip, I brought the camera up and got this image as they turned to go back. What was funny was how they were having such a good time as I snapped this image but I think it finally registered that I had a camera and then they became much more elusive. They would dart out and make funny faces and quickly retreat but they were having fun hiding and reappearing. I keep looking at the image trying to figure how three kids fit in that little trailer. It has been a long time since I took any Amish photos but shots like this remind me why I enjoy capturing moments in their lives.

Fall is in the Air

Hello again from the inactive photographer. I do miss hearing from folks here but my enthusiasm is still pretty lackluster, yet occasionally I feel a little like the old days and doing some photography. I shot this during the past week when we had 90 degrees one day and in the 60s the next day. That crisp fall air still ignites something inside and I found this harvesting shot on the backroads of Lancaster County.

Pigtails,Pumpkins and Perfect fall weather

It certainly is quite evident that my photography has taken a back seat to everything else in my life right now and my posting on here is practically non-existent, but I did capture this pair of Amish sisters helping get their roadside stand ready recently. Something I saw while waiting for this shot to come together reminded me how the Amish sometimes seem to have a different view of danger as it relates to their kids. When I first pulled off the road to decide what I might shoot, the mom, her teenage daughter and these two little ones were all working together trimming pumpkin stems and arranging things. The thing that really caught my eye was the girl with the pig tails was holding a knife with a blade that was almost a foot long? She was not just holding it, but crawling up and over piles of pumpkins with it in her hand and she would slip or trip several times and it was making me nervous just observing, but mom seemed just fine with it?

Splendid Colors

This morning includes one of those times I will remember for the missed opportunity. I decided to drive around Amish country looking for images and as I came down this road I was struck by this family heading toward me. There are actually 4 young ladies dressed in the most beautiful shade of aqua blue in this shot and mom in a contrasting pastel pink. I was at the end of a farm lane watching them come towards me and it was a one in a million view because all four little ones were walking side by side,but do you think I could raise the camera for a shot? They were all staring directly at me wondering why I was there and I just could not manage to snap a picture of them from the front, but this image of them after they passed is still kind of neat,so all was not lost.

A Study in Modes of Transport

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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.

Pumpkin Wagon Train

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Sometimes I think I have someone directing my photographs and this is an example of that. I was out looking for fall images when I crested the hill and this scene was right there in front of me.You can call it coincidence if you want but they were in the exact composition I wanted and literally a minute later they were done and heading back the farm. They all were laughing as they were hard at work and I was snapping pictures. This is just outside a little town called Farmersville in Lancaster county.

The Pumpkin Patch

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Welcome to the pumpkin patch,one of Lancaster counties many farm stands. This stand is one of several where we went for a good selection for our house display this year. I bought the biggest one they had here and it was almost 50 bucks,and it is self-serve here. They must sell wholesale as well because there was a truck at the barn and the driver must have had a good laugh watching me because it took me 5 tries to get it on the wagon.The first four involved tipping the wagon and trying to right it with the pumpkin leaning against and then finally I found a board and rolled it on the wagon. it easily weighed 150 pounds plus but is very awkward to lift. Many times two guys will use a burlap bag and double team them but no one was around.The bottom photo is part of our finished display along the rail trail where we live. the whopper is the one on the left and it is almost twice as big as the nearest one.The cat on the fence is one of three we cut out from templates on Martha Stewart and the bed was found for free at the curb. It is hard to get a great shot because our display is on a steep hill that goes down to the trail. Also the welcome pumpkin is done by the farmer using a nail to scratch the skin and it heals like that by harvest time.

The Whole Crew

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If I didn’t know better,I would think this father wanted me to take a picture of his boys working in the field. I was a good distance away at the side of the road and as they got closer,dad loaded all the boys on the horses and kept coming forward and he actually has a smile in this shot. Hard to say if the scenario I described was real or imagined but it sure seemed to be the case. Still I really like the unique image I got here.

Summer Bouquet

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I came upon these Amish girls scooting along a country road and noticed there was a patch of flowers ahead,so I made my way up the road and waited till they passed that spot.The dresses were colorful and so were the scooters and the whole scene was very summer like. My only regret is that I did not turn and get a shot of them approaching because you could have seen the little girl in front of the oldest girl as they rode the scooter together.

Almost Heaven,West Virginia

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This past weekend a good friend suggested we head to West Virginia to catch some fall foliage and I am so glad we did.I normally like to head to New England in the fall but the forecast was for lackluster color there this year so heading south sounded like a great idea. We only had two days and our main destination was a place of natural beauty called Dolly Sods. On the way there I spotted this lovely red barn with fall foliage as a backdrop,so we stopped and I asked if I might be able to snap a few shots? The owner was very gracious and obliged my request and as I walked out the path to the barn I saw this old wagon sitting in the field and decided to take a shot. I think the composition is just right and the foliage was a perfect complement to the red barn. For those who don’t get the title, it is a line from an old John Denver song that I jokingly was singing on the trip. We had a great two days of shooting but man do they have steep hills in that state and when I was in my early twenties I drove truck and on one trip the truck blew up in West Virginia and we were stuck there for days and I remember feeling like we were in the most remote place on earth, which is not the case but some of the valleys make me feel that way. This photo was taken in what I would say was one of the more open valleys that we came across.

Seen It All

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Just when I think I have seen just about every crazy sight in Amish country, along comes someone doing something even more interesting than the last. This road is a well-traveled thoroughfare with cars coming at a pretty regular pace,so imagine my surprise when I am coming up the road and I see what appears to be an Amish man moving a large shed with a tow motor? He was along the side of the road but he was having difficulty and kept getting off the tow motor and walking to the other end,which I could not see. I pulled over to watch because it seemed like it was a disaster in the making, and at one point he got it going again and was now in the lane of travel. All of a sudden it starts to rotate and suddenly I see a second tow motor on the other end. Imagine trying to move something where you can’t see the other end, or what the other guy is doing. They had no walkie talkies,no yelling,no nothing but fly by the seat of your pants and cross your fingers.The photo shows them blocking both lanes and amazingly no one came during the time they were doing this manuever. They got it into a narrow driveway on the first try which really amazed me.I was waiting for the whole shed to roll over and block the entire road, but they pulled it off.

Wheels of Progress

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I must admit I do not know exactly how this contraption works but I believe it is a threshing machine used to separate grains from the stalk. It was being demonstrated at the threshermans reunion this past week.I shot this with flash at dusk when everyone was watching other events. Old machinery can be quite amazing in its intricate design and construction.