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.

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.

Mud Sale Delivery Crew

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Amish boys bring their wagons to the mud sales and offer assistance to buyers who need to get purchases to their cars from the auction site.The popularity of the mud sales means parking is hard to come by and walking a half mile or more is not unheard of. For me,I get there around 530 in the morning,get the best parking available and then sleep till the sun comes up. The boys make a few dollars off each patron and the english as they are referred too, love to have the boys help, and for many it is their closest interaction with the Amish. Each worker tries to stand out, and customizing their wagons with signs is all part of the fun as shown in the middle image.The bottom photo shows how muddy it usually is and shows the boys hauling practically anything.

Fleeting Moment Missed

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Yesterday I posted the six boys looking the same direction and after reviewing my images from that day,I realized I had another image of them earlier in the day. This shot stands out in my memory because of the shot I missed right after this one. Whenever I attend events like this were Amish will be attending, I try and lay low below the radar and I try to capture spontaneous moments using long lenses. I snapped this image and immediately looked away to not draw attention to myself but as I glanced back at them I saw the smallest boy had both his thumbs against his cheeks with his hands stretched open and his tongue out as he made the funny face at whoever they were looking at.I no sooner started to lift my camera and he was finished with the show,and I can only imagine the unique shot I would have gotten. The Amish are generally conservative but I do occasionally see glimpses of things that reflect what the rest of the world does and these were just boys being boys.

Are You Pulling?

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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.

Patience Rewarded

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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.

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 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?

Days End

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This image was the only one I got this evening after heading out in search of storms. Wicked weather had just left a trail of destruction about a half hour before I came into this area,so I just drove around watching thunderheads forming. I saw the setting sun lighting these clouds and this farm came to mind as being in the right position in the foreground,so I made a bee line to get here and just made it before the light faded.

Amish Mafia?

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The rumored Amish Mafia might have been caught on camera by me as they prepared to launch a sneak attack on an unsuspecting tourist buggy. Tourists love to take these buggy rides through the countryside here, and I can’t blame them,but now that discovery channel has the show Amish mafia, folks are worried they might run into this gang of outlaws. Here they have what I can only guess is some sort of explosive device,and I believe they are trying to get close enough to take out a dozen tourists at once. If you read the above info and are stupid enough to believe any of it, please watch Amish Mafia for your fill of the most idiotic program on TV. Oh,by the way,they are really headed for a propane refill but if you live in a fantasy world and insist on believing there really is such a thing as an Amish mafia,that’s your choice.

No Place Like Home

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This local home is one I have always considered to be a true masterpiece. It was built in 1905 by Benjamin Gonder and the architectural detailing is magnificent. I was driving by recently and noticed this patch of flowers along the driveway entrance. The blooms were calling out to me,so I bravely knocked at the door and was met by the owner who graciously allowed me on the property. I said I wanted to snap a few flower pictures and as usual I spent more than an hour at it.

Whenever you meet someone new like this,there is always a bit of uncertainty on their part about who this person is and are they legit. The owner came out after an hour because they wondered how long a snapshot takes? I reassured her that with me,it can be pretty involved to get it all right. She then offered to allow me to go take a peek out back and possibly shoot the rose garden,which was absolutely stunning and that will be a post for another day. For this image,I waited till dusk for the interior light to show,and then lit the plants with flash. As I recall, the owners referred to themselves as the caretakers,which I took to meaning that some homes are so special that they are really something unto themselves and are not owned but cared for, but I might have that all wrong too.

My Hero

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I am not sure exactly why the girl is crying,but seconds before, the horse-drawn cart behind them had stopped and it had a wagon behind it and a blanket covering it. Maybe it had a pet or something she wanted,but when it left,she started wailing. Just like that, big brother pulled up on his tricycle and took her hand.This all took about 10 seconds from start to finish.I was lucky enough to capture it. shot with an 80-400mm.

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.