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.
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?
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.
A group of Amish spectators watch an old steam engine competition at the Rough and Tumble reunion. This event featured the tractor team navigating an obstacle course,and just a few feet ahead they stopped and blind folded the driver and the guy sitting on the back got off and connected ropes to the drivers arms and controlled the tractor direction by tugging on the ropes much like controlling a horse.
I spent two hours this week at the Rough and Tumble historical associations threshermen’s reunion in Lancaster county,Pa. This event features all kinds of old steam engines and rusty iron machinery from the past. To see these incredible machines in operation is something to witness and their whistles are a whole other story,and after standing right beside one when the whistle blew,I can tell you it is something you wont soon forget. These two beauties were lined up at dusk and even though I came upon them later than I would like,there was still enough color in the sky to try a shot. The engine in front is a 1913 Frick Eclipse steam tractor owned by Jim Wright and the one behind is a 1912 Aultman Taylor steam tractor owned by Gary and Russel Bingaman.
This little vignette of americana was captured at the Vermont Country Store on my fall foliage trip. I told my friend its somewhat ironic we came across this scene because I have contemplated getting an old pickup and loading it up exactly like this for a shot for the past couple years. I light painted this entire scene in the dark and even blasted a flash into the lantern on the wall to give it an illuminated effect.
This small roadside stand is packed with a variety of items for decorating the home. From colorful mums, to gourds and pumpkins. to corn shocks, and even hay bales,there is something for every decor. My current favorite is the cinderella variety perched on the hay bales. Sitting in the lower left corner are apples and pears that have the most appealing scent.
I passed this field yesterday as they were harvesting soybeans and asked if I could climb on top of the tractor-trailer as it was being loaded. The machine that off loads to the truck, empties at an incredible rate and then heads to the combine in the field for the next load. The crew is what are referred to as custom harvesters,which are professional hired hands who earn their living helping farmers harvest their fields. This crew is Groffdale custom harvesters and they are the picture of efficiency. The owner of the farm is seen on his little John Deere tractor in the middle of the field as he oversees the operation.
This Amish family is hard at work on a warm september day harvesting their corn crop. One wagon moves along to catch the freshly cut stalks until it is full, and the next empty wagon is heading up the field to take its place when needed. This year has been a banner year for corn and fields will be a buzz with activity in the coming weeks.
Each year around this time I find myself scanning the landscape for fall displays to photograph. I passed this farm stand on my travels and stopped to get permission to try a shot. The owner was more than willing to allow the endeavor and said to stop anytime. I decided to try a shot before sunrise this past weekend and assumed I would be there in the dark all by myself for a while, but to my surprise and delight,work was already under way in preparation for customers when I arrived. The owner was washing the driveway down,and to be honest I was originally going to crop the building on the right off my shot,but when the wet surface reflected the stand light,it seemed time to change my plan. So with sunrise still an hour away,I began to compose and fine tune things before the light got good.
The gorgeous sky lit up first and lasted maybe 5 minutes,but that was more than enough time to capture it and the expanse of mums that stretch toward the barn. While I was waiting for the light to begin shooting, the owner pulled up with a large produce wagon pulled by two horses and he backed that wagon into the second door as easily as driving a car,which really impressed me. Between the sky,the reflection, and the mums,I was very happy with my result. The bottom image is the angle I originally wanted to shoot for comparison and you can see the horse and wagon sitting in the field on the left.
This is one time of the year I find very enjoyable for a variety of reasons. First,you can feel a change in the air and you know fall color is getting closer and the cold winds of the north will soon be bringing snow. It’s also a time to reflect on the summer gone by and watch local farmers harvesting their crops in the fields. As I have mentioned in the past,I like to find images of harvesting in which the workers are shown against a backdrop of farms to help tell a complete story. It’s a lot harder to find these scenarios but worth the effort in my opinion. Shown are Amish farmers cutting field corn to feed their cows over winter.
Captured this Amish youth heading down the road on a tractor and upon closer examination,you can see he is hauling his transportation with him on the back. The two-wheeled scooter is the transportation of choice for Amish youth,as bikes are frowned upon. Last year I spoke to an Amish guy who I noticed coming up a hill at a rather fast pace,and it puzzled me how he was doing it? Turns out he had an electric motor added and it was all hidden on the frame. It intrigued me enough to think about buying one since he said it ran about $400 for everything. Well in the year since he got his,price went up to near a $1000 so I will stick with the bike for now.
This is another Christmas display in one of the rooms at the old mansion I mentioned the other day. This display was done by the folks from the Hans Herr House,which is the oldest homestead in Lancaster County and is a registered historic landmark. It is a more natural setting,with no lights on the tree,and basic food related items that harken back to a simpler time. I lit the entire scene with a small hand-held flash with a snoot to direct the light in very small areas. The figure is very life-like kneeling at the tree and helps balance out the composition.
This is another classic fall scene from the heart of Amish country featuring farmers hard at work bringing in the corn harvest. Pleasant temperatures and a mild breeze made for the perfect day to be out in the fields. A full complement of farms and silos provide the perfect backdrop to the men at work in the foreground.
The Amish farmers have been busy in the last month harvesting thousands of acres of corn. Wet weather has delayed the work slightly,but it doesn’t take them long once they get going. I usually like to find a nice farm in the background,so the viewer can see the whole setting,instead of just the wagons.
Went out sunday morning because the weather was unsettled and I was hoping to find something interesting. After a bit of driving,I came upon this partially harvested tobacco field which had nice curved lines leading your eye to the farm. Started out at ground level but decided the higher perspective from my truck roof might be beneficial,and in fact it was.The sun popped out briefly,adding a touch of sidelight to the scene as an added bonus.The green area on the left is uncut tobacco
The end of summer is rapidly approaching and farmers are busy beginning to harvest everything from corn to tobacco. This Amish family was busy putting freshly cut tobacco onto lathe, which then gets hung on the wagon and then it will move to the barn for drying. This scene includes at least three generations carrying on the tradition.
I was out looking for scenes of local farm activity and came across this crew doing custom harvesting. The farm owner graciously allowed me to wander around shooting various angles of these mechanized marvels that help make short work of what seems like daunting tasks at times. The crews are hired independently to come in and do the work, which saves the farmer having to buy extremely expensive equipment and is a win-win situation for everyone. The first shot was taken from the roof of my truck and was taken while the harvester off loaded his collecting bin into the waiting tractor,and the second shot is from ground level. Thanks to Groffdale custom harvesting for taking a few minutes to let me get the shots. While watching them work the fields, I saw numerous rabbits bolt, and amazingly enough a fox as well. I need to check my files,but I think he was out of the frame when He made a dash for it.
I did actually get the fox leaving the wheat field. He is a tiny speck on the photo,but here he is.
I photographed this crew this week harvesting what I think is wheat, but I could be way off. They have to work in close proximity to one another and their driving was spot on. This was taken with an 80-400 zoom and I could actually see them in the cab talking on two-way radios,most likely about the guy taking their photo. At one point,there were three tractors lined up to catch the crop, but they never went across the field with more than the two shown here.