An Amish Oat Harvest

In the county I reside, we are fortunate to have the Amish recently move in. I was given permission to photograph their oats harvest with the understanding that I wasn’t to photograph any people. It was quite the experience.

There is a seven to ten drying period between cutting and threshing. During the drying period, I visited the field each evening hoping to get enough cloud cover to a good sunset photo. I didn’t get the clouds I was hoping for but I was able to make this photo. I find the curving of clouds near the sun interesting. In the foreground your are looking the oats field where sheaves of oats are stacked into shocks for drying.

When you farm with horses, the fields aren’t large. This field is under 20 acres, but the slight slop allowed me to make it appear larger. A three horse team was used to pull the equipment to bundle the sheaves.

Specific Feedback Requested

All comments are welcomed. I’m primarily interested in your thoughts on the subject and composition.

Technical Details

Canon 5D Mark IV | EF70-200 @ 70mm | f22 | 1/15 | ISO 100
Post process using ACR and Photoshop
Photo is a three shot HDR and a two shot panorama

I like this quite a bit. This motif seemed to be very popular for European painters in the 19th century and you can see why. The light playing off the straw is beautiful. I suppose it was something people in an agrarian society cherished. I’m not that enthusiastic at the partial haystack in the right corner and would do a crop at it’s left edge. Perhaps the V shaped order of the stacks could be utilized in a composition. The detail in the grass in wonderful though. That color and detail brings to mind Andrew Wyeth’s work in the same area I believe. Wonderful image. And fairly unique for NPN.

Hi David, Great work here. I love the warm tones and that sky is wonderful. I agree with @Igor_Doncov that the stack in the lower right should be cropped or cloned out; makes for a cleaner pano. I think there might be a touch of a halo on the far trees, but kinda hard to tell for sure.

All in all a terrific scene.

Very unique image. Lovely colors and the reverse shaped s curve coming out of the sun is rather nice. Looks like a beautiful location for all kinds of images. I also agree with both @Igor_Doncov and @David_Bostock about the corner shrub intruding into the frame. Cropping that out would also take care of the tree on the very right edge poking into the frame. I also agree that there is quite a halo running along the tops of the trees perhaps from bringing up the shadows too much but easily taken care of if you can go back in your history to see where it occurred. Great image.


Love the scene you’ve seen and captured. The colors and light are wonderful and the subject matter is somewhat unique - given your description of how you were able to photograph. A lovely image and those haystacks are indeed unique! Awesome sky!

I would concur with the other comments about the haloing and the cut-off stack in the LRC. The good news is that there is a very clean crop line that at least for me, does not alter the impact of the image, but I think tightens it up nicely. The remaining stacks are still plentiful and nicely arranged if you crop the right side.

Not sure what to do about the halo without understanding how it was created, but I would try to mitigate that if you can.


A lovely scene that would be a rare sight in Europe as well, these days. Beautiful capture! You have been rewarded for returning every evening, although you didn’t get the clouds that you hoped for. The image is very valuable anyway.
I can understand the comments about the stack in the lower right corner, but maybe you included it to emphasize the diagonal lines of the stacks. You can crop, but maybe the whole stack is in the original 2 panorama files?
I don’t mind the faint halo above the distant tree line. It is hardly noticeable in normal view, only in 1:1, and if you want to make a print it is no problem either. You usually need a bit of oversharpening to get the best print (depending on the printing technique).

Thank you for your feedback on my photo.

After some thought, I decide to clone out the oat shock in the bottom right corner and the tree on the edge right edge. Cropping would have cut into the oat shocks on the right of the frame and it was important for me to have these shocks in the photo in their entirety.

There is some haloing from about the sun and left at the tree line. I fixed some of this, but it’s going to take more work to clean it all up. To the right of the sun, there is a haze over the trees. I don’t know why that is, but it’s in the RAW files. I’m assuming that it’s from a combination of light and atmospheric conditions. Trees that are closer, like the one on the right edge didn’t have the haze.

Below is a photo with the shock and tree cloned out.

I think this looks much better. However, when I blow it up to its maximum one can see the signs of the clone tool having been used. The hay is tack sharp throughout the image but this area has blurry sections. This will only be noticeable in a print I believe.