Amish Country – Lancaster County, PA
Today we drove about 4 hours east to Lancaster, PA. The point being to visit Covered Bridges, Farms and the Amish people who reside there. I grew up in the Amish community of Lexington, Ohio and have a good knowledge of the people and their customs and was very excited to visit an area where they reside!
I didn’t expect to see any grist mills today and didn’t really look. In truth, there are about 30 of them in Lancaster! But, they are all ugly boxy white buildings with no external water wheel assembly. They are common on the larger farms but not really worth seeking out.
I have always enjoyed seeing covered bridges. They like grist mills are a reminder of times past. But I didn’t realize how fast I would grow bored with them! That may sound terrible, but to me here in Lancaster, they just all look the same. The only real differences were the surrounding trees, their length and the walls, fences or guard rail leading up the their entrances! Plus we arrived mid afternoon with a BRIGHT white sky and color photography was very difficult. I even had some issues with them in Infrared! This is not to say that I didn’t walk away with some nice images, but I could have done much better in the early morning.
The other difficulty in photographing these bridges is that they are hard to find. All of the web sites direct you to them via a convoluted series of turns and roads. Not ONE gives an address OR a GPS Lat/Long string which would make it much easier to find them!
All told, we visited 7 bridges here. They were interesting but most were impossible to get a side angle on for a good photograph. I still think that they are a worthwhile subject, but one that will require much more research. They also are a little more interesting when shot in COLOR. I am not going to talk about the Infrared Post Processing since these images are basically the same as the ones in Day 1! But, the color images while simple really need a small discussion:
Basic Color PP Recipe
Photoshop CS5 with NIK Viveza and Color EFX Pro
- Delete marginal, duplicates and bad images!
- Convert from RAW to TIFF using Capture One V6
- Open in CS5
- Crop to standard storage size: 8.5 x 12.5 (the extra .5 is for underlay with the mat.
- Run NIK Define 2.0 on images with skies.
- Run NIK C0lor EFX Pro color contrast range preset and adjust as necessary.
- Run NIK Viveza to adjust various image component brightness (tress and such).
- Save as a PSD file.
That is it. Each image only takes about 1 min from start to finish. You really will like the ease that the NIK plugins give you in processing. Plus the NIK tools work equally as well in Photoshop Elements! What more could you ask for?
Take a look at these images and try to decide if you like the Color or Infrared versions better. For me I almost always will pick the IR version but in the case of the Covered Bridges I like the Color versions a little better!
Have you noticed a pattern with my Infrared photography? I seem to be spending much more time shooting with the 630nm (B+W 091) filter all of the time. I do like the 590nm (B+W090) and a 665nm (more pinks and reds) as well as the R72 720nm Hoya filter. But for most of my work I am getting stunning Faux and nice contrasty B&W from the 630nm. I like the post processing from this filter as well because it gives me the ability to generate different hues in the tree leaves depending upon the type of tree!
All of the bridges were within a 10 mile square and still difficult to locate. I do feel them to be worth the effort and hope that if you get the chance to see them that you give them a chance!
OK, on to Amish Farm Country!
They are a very interesting group of people and I admire their fortitude in sticking to their beliefs. I saw hundreds of horse and carriages on the roads. I saw small red wagons being drawn by a small pony. Lots of field equipment behind teams of horses.
The farms were beautiful but small (as you would think being worked by horse power). Kids were out playing and riding a bicycle like device with no seat and peddles. It did have a front turn able wheel and handle bars with full size tires but they stood on it and pushed with their feet!
We didn’t stay more than a few hours as I was very tired and wanted to get closer to my next main destination which meant another 4 hours of driving east thru Philly and then finding a hotel for the night so that I could be there early in the morning. Yes, I actually did plan on this stop for early AM!
So the next post for Day 3 Is Cutalossa Farm East of Phili about 10 miles. I can tell you that this stop will turn out to be the best stop of the entire trip!