2024 UPDATE: Don Shenk passed away in late 2021. It was very kind of him to share a collection of his images with us, not long before he died. Originally published in October 2021, I’ve just updated this post with another five favorite images at the end, along with a few comments of mine. I hope you enjoy.
Don Shenk’s Amish Photography
Don Shenk is an award-winning photographer and Lancaster County resident (not to be confused with frequently-seen-here photo contributor Don Burke).
Don has been photographing Amish scenes for decades, and has kindly shared some Amish-theme photos which I’d like to pass on to you. He also adds some comments to several of these below (along with titles). I’ve numbered these 1-10, though only the ones Don has described have titles here.
Additionally, I’ve compiled 20-some images into a brief video which you’ll find at the bottom of this post, around the theme of “Seasons of Lancaster County”. The following commentary is all from Don.
1. “A Boy and his Cow”
This image was captured in PA’s “Big Valley” in central PA. I like the simplicity of the Amish boy following a lone cow toward the barn.
3. “Three Boys and a Horse”
This was captured at one of Lancaster Counties well known “Mud Sales” during the horse auction.
5. “West Nickel Mines Amish School”
This image is full of emotions and memories to me. It was taken around 1990, before the tragic shooting took place there. The message of forgiveness lingers on.
8. “Just Passing By”
A simple winter day scene of a buggy going by a bare tree in Lancaster County.
9. “Pressing On”
This is one of my top 10 favorites, captured in 2009 shortly after I went digital. I was on a “Photo shoot” with my camera ready to go on my passenger seat. This magical scene appeared before my eyes when it came at me out of a snowy drifting almost blizzard like condition on a country road. I was able to grab the camera and get four shots of which two were usable.
I titled it “Pressing On” based on the scripture passage in Philippians 3:14 that states, “I press on…” An interesting sidelight, when my book was published, I requested this image be used on the cover. The publisher stated that winter images on the cover do not have curb appeal through the year so they suggested it be used on the hard cover and another image be used on the dust cover. Another interesting fact, my favorite season to capture Amish/Scenic images is winter when there is snow.
10. “Lousy Day on the Highway”
A couple travels in an open buggy on a busy highway on a chilly, wet snow day in Lancaster County. I am sure they are thankful for the umbrella!
Update: Here are five more favorites of mine by Don. I added a few of my own comments to each.
Love this photo of Amish men threshing. If you look closely you can see some children observing.
Great photo for this time of year. Look at all those sleds! You’ve got both the classic wood and metal runner sleds, and several plastic ones. I suspect there is a well-used hill not far from here. Just a few more minutes til recess…
Young boy dealing with a horse that’s, what would you say, about 15-20 times his size? And barefoot to boot. Amish children learn a quite different skill set from most American children nowadays.
Volleyball match in a beautiful spring setting. Don captured a great action moment here.
It’s not only children making use of sleighs and sleds. Here’s the horse-drawn variety. Bundled up against the cold. And can you see what he’s hauling? The box says “Ice Cream Freezer”.
A big thanks to Don for sharing his work with us. Here’s the video I’ve compiled featuring two dozen of Don’s images. Runtime 3:20.