Get lost to find photographic treasures

April 10, 1993|By Wayne Hardin

Sometimes, the best way to get good pictures is to not know where you're going, Middleton Evans says.

"I always recommend to people that they go out driving and get lost," he says. "Go out on little back roads and see what you can find."

The advice worked for him in March 1987 "when I got lost on purpose in Garrett County."

In the outback of Maryland's westernmost county, he found an Amish farming family harvesting sap from giant maple trees. "I was 100 years back in time. I wasn't even aware of Amish farms in the area. It seemed like a painting."

Many Amish don't like to be photographed, but this farmer allowed Mr. Evans to take photographs as long as there were no close-up facial views.

Two main pictures came out of it. One, covering two full pages in "Maryland in Focus," shows the farmer standing on a barrel-shaped, iron-wheeled maple sap wagon being pulled through the woods by two red draft horses. In the background, smoke rises from the chimney of a maple shed where more sap is being cooked into syrup.

The other, also in the book, hangs on the wall in Mr. Evans' home. It shows the family collecting buckets of sap off the trees to put in the wagon.

"It was three or four hours getting off the main road, out of the way," he says, "and these are two of the best pictures I'll ever take in my lifetime."

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