Fifteen Favorite Amish Country Images

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.

2.

3. “Three Boys and a Horse”

This was captured at one of Lancaster Counties well known “Mud Sales” during the horse auction.

4.

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.

6.

7.

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.

11.

Love this photo of Amish men threshing. If you look closely you can see some children observing.

12.

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…

13.

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.

14.

Volleyball match in a beautiful spring setting. Don captured a great action moment here.

15.

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.

And if you enjoyed these images, you might want to check out Don’s Amish photo books here and here.

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    19 Comments

    1. Karen Newman

      Photos

      Are you given permission to photograph these Amish? I thought they did not allow photos of themselves

    2. Well, from one Don Amish-photographer to another, you have some very impressive work there. And if I’m totally honest, I’ll have to admit to no small amount of photo-envy on my part as I looked through your shots. (ha) And while I don’t think I have anything to quite compare to your buggy plowing through the snow picture you shared, I will certainly agree that Amish-in-the-snow has long been and remains a favorite theme for me.

      Thanks for sharing some inspiring work.

    3. Loretta Shumpert

      Beautiful

      Such beautiful photos. I agree, Pressing On is particularly special. It is, indeed, cover-worthy. Rain and snow scenes always seem to tug at my heart the most. I will be ordering your book, looking forward to recieving it.

    4. Loretta Shumpert

      Question

      Which of your books contain Pressing On?
      Thanks!

      1. I passed this on to Don Loretta – hopefully we’ll have an answer for you!

    5. Larry Clarence Lewis

      Amish Images by Don Shenk

      Dear Erik,
      Thank you for carrying these superb images of Amish life by Don Shenk. They are inspired and make the heart glad. By extension, I convey my thanks to Don Shenk for sharing these images with the followers of Amish America. Beautiful work. This is the kind of posting which brings me back to Amish America regularly. Lastly, I see that Don Shenk is very respectful of what photographs are suitable. I appreciate this care very much. Sincerely, Larry Clarence Lewis, Canada.

      1. Gladly Larry. Happy to hear that!

    6. Great postcard photos

      I have been going to Holmes County Ohio for 25 years and I do believe I am seeing the same postcards by Doyle Yoder that I have seen every year since I began vacationing there. Nothing against Doyle’s lovely photography, but time for new postcards and new photos.

    7. Linda Bly Hoad

      Don Shenk Photos

      Don Shenk, Congratulations! I am an Amish lover. I love everything about them. I like that your photos are up close and not taken from a distance. Your work is impeccable and I thank you for sharing them with us all.
      Sincerely, Linda Hoad

    8. Pressing On!

      Erik, thanks for sharing the beautiful photos. Easy pick for my favorite: Pressing On.

    9. Joe

      One-strap suspender

      I notice in photo 13 that the boy has a one-strap suspender. Do you know what group he belongs to? As an aside, at times I have worn suspenders of the two-strap variety. That was fortunate when one metal fastener broke off, as I could still get by with the one remaining usable strap!

      1. Erik Wesner

        One suspender

        The one-suspender would likely either be the Renno or Byler Amish, two of the three main groups in Big Valley (PA), the other being Nebraska Amish, who don’t use suspenders.

    10. Mike Locus

      #15 4 hoofs in the air - almost

      Before the advent of photography, it was debated weather or not all 4 hooves left the ground. Photo #15 almost captured the fact that this does indeed happen. If the photo was taken a nano second later, I believed Don would have had this shot, a rare shot indeed!!! Keep up the good work Don!

    11. Erick Amthor

      Thanks Erik

      I’ll have to admit that though I decided long ago NOT to photograph the plain people out of respect for their privacy and desire to not be objects of curiosity, I enjoyed the photos.
      I would enjoy them even more if I knew at least part of the profits from their sale was given back to help them in some way.

    12. Terry Ball

      Photo #11

      Thanks for sharing your photo’s with all of us! In photo #11 they are not making hay, they are threshing oats, and the machine is not a baler, but a threshing machine.
      Just sayin…

      Where are the photo’s from our Wisconsin Amish settlements? Erik, I’m not going to stop until you get your butt in gear and come and visit!

      Safe in Christ,
      Terry

      1. Erik Wesner

        Thanks Terry, got that updated, d’oh. And you are right, haven’t had much Wisconsin up here lately. And yes if I don’t get any reader contributions I will need to come get some photos/info myself!

    13. Sandy

      Picture 11

      The Amish are thrashing wheat not baking hay.

    14. Terry Berger

      FYI

      Erik,

      Number 11 is actually a threshing scene, not baling hay. That is definitely a threshing machine that the little ones are watching.

      Terry Berger

      1. Erik Wesner

        Facepalm

        Thanks to you and others who pointed this out – you can tell I grew up in the city. Updated