Sorry if anyone is now humming the famous Beatles tune in your head, but it was the best title I could think of at the moment. This image is yet another from last Saturday’s trip to the mud sale and I originally caught a glimpse of these four behind some buggies and hoped they would head my way, which thankfully they did. Once again I was a god distance away with a 400mm,which was perfect for not invading their space. The beautiful blue bonnets are so lovely,and the middle girl is wearing the biggest safety-pin I have seen in a while. The three girls are actually the trio that I posted earlier this week, but I had no idea till I worked on the image.
A few days ago I mentioned wanting to share an image of some Amish girls that I photographed at the mud sale, and todays post includes three of several from a series including these young ladies. Let me start by explaining how these images came to be and why I chose the title. I had been wandering the auction grounds looking for possible photos when I noticed that there were some Amish teens starting to play volleyball in the field adjoining the auction, so I walked in the general direction to check it out. Upon getting closer, I noticed guys playing volleyball and girls in multi colored dresses nearby watching the boys. As I stood there taking in the culture, I noticed four old tractors at the end of the field that were going to be auctioned later in the day. I thought to myself, it would be so cool if one or two of these Amish teens would venture over to the tractors and check them out.
Well no sooner did I think that, when I notice a small group of Amish girls get up and head in that general direction. I immediately began moving behind a row of parked cars in the direction of the tractors in the hopes of getting one good shot before they noticed me. I stayed below the radar for a few minutes watching to see where they were going and to my delight,it was the tractors. As the group reached the tractors, two by two,they paired up on their own tractor and began goofing around, and having a good time with each other. They acted like they were plowing, driving, racing and even made putt putt sounds at one point. I quickly snapped a shot, and thought to myself, this is one of those moments that I cherish as a photographer and was so grateful to be there in that moment.
I figured I would snap a few shots and they would stop doing what they were doing after they saw me, but to my surprise they seemed to be totally unfazed by my snapping photos, and it almost seemed as if they were savoring the moment in front of the camera in a way, because as each moment ticked by, the image got better and better as they moved together onto one tractor to make small talk and have fun. Granted I was using a 400mm at a distance, but we made eye contact multiple times as we each laughed to ourselves in the moment. Experiences like this are forever etched in my mind, and provide me with memories of a culture and lifestyle that I find very special and worthy of respect. One thing I have seen countless times with the Amish,is the fact that they are more satisfied with simplicity than we are with every gimmicky gadget that occupies our time. After I left the spot, I kept thinking I would have loved to talk with them, listened to their perspective on things and even offer them prints, but I realize we come from two different worlds and even though they tolerated me, that was only because we were in a public venue that day.
The crescendo part of my title is because I literally felt like the time with these girls kept building to a visual peak as I snapped away. The multi colored dresses, the pleasant atmosphere, and a great group of Amish friends, all came together is this brief moment in time, which I was lucky enough to be witness too. It is definitely one moment on my photographic journey that I will not soon forget.These images are totally un-choreographed and ones I could not have planned out any better if I was given the chance.
This past weekend, I did a short stint shooting at a local mud sale. Sunny skies proved to be a real challenge in this situation, because using fill flash is not something I feel comfortable using with such conservative subjects. I used longer lenses from 300mm-400mm range for most shots,so I need not be right in their face to get a few images of this culture. I must say I did see some rather unique haircuts throughout the day. It would take me twenty years to grow a beard this thick, and I commented to my buddy that I have never seen an Amish man or woman bundled up for really cold weather. Perhaps they use layers or are just tougher than the average joe. Looking at these shots,you can see they are not wearing heavy coats, while I was wearing 2 sweatshirts and a coat,long underwear,gloves with hand warmers and a wool hat. The man in the bottom photo was very serious most of the time, except this light-hearted moment, and something about his look reminded me of Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter.
Spring is rapidly approaching, and in Amish country, that means it is mud sale season. For those who have never heard of the mud sale, it is basically an auction held by numerous fire companies in the spring, and is held in the farm fields, which are usually a sloppy mess from spring rains. This weekend I hope to attend one to shoot a few Amish images, as they attend in large numbers and come with the understanding that cameras will be around, and tend to not be particularly irritated by that. I still try to stay low-key, shooting with longer lenses , and tend to snap a shot and move on, as to not over stay my welcome, so to speak. Each weekend or so in the coming weeks, a different fire co holds their own sale across the region, and items range from buggies to bird houses to horses and everything in between.I have included 3 shots from last years mud sale season. The two boys shown were truly stuck in the mud and were giving it their all to get loose during an extremely muddy sale.