How I Got The Shots: Amish In the Tree Tunnel


As I’ve grown older, I’ve grown to love my hometown of Clare, Michigan. Of the things which makes this area unique is the high population of Amish. The Amish are a religious sect with their roots in Anabaptist theology dating back to the radical reformation in Europe. The Amish choose to live simple agrarian lifestyles. They have large families, and many abstain from either some or all use of modern technology, including electricity.

When I first took interest in photography I photographed a lot of wildlife and landscape work. As time went on I shifted to portraiture and later weddings. In fall 2016 I decided to get back to my roots and photograph fall colors. I would drive around the various backroads, mostly in Clare county, and photograph the foliage.

On this particular day I ended in “the tree tunnel,” as us locals call it, on Oak Road between Clare and Coleman, Michigan. The tree tunnel always makes for beautiful images especially during the fall. This time an Amish buggy was heading through the tunnel at just the right time to catch him in the middle of the tree tunnel.

Technique wise this image is very simplistic. I pulled off to the side of the road. Got my Nikon D600 and 80-200mm f/2.8 lens out. Yes 80-200mm not 70-200mm. It is cheaper and super sharp. I had my camera in aperture priority set to f/2.8. The shallow depth of field allowed the foreground and background to drift out of focus, bringing more attention to the buggy. I had very little to do in post. I simply added a preset I had made a few years prior, and the image was set.

The reason I love this image is it represents Clare. A place near and dear to me. The fall colors. The amish buggy. The scenic back roads in the woods. This image screams “home.”

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Photographer/Retoucher at Ryan Watkins Photography
Ryan Watkins Photography specializes in portrait and wedding photography catering to Tampa, Florida. Ready to travel.

Graduate from the Hallmark Institute of Photography and Highest Academic Honor recipient. 

Published in several magazines including Shutterbug, Digital Photo, Outdoor Photographer, and PDNedu. 
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