Montgomery County: Apple of My Eye
Posted on October 25, 2023 by Author
William Bernhardt III, a fourth-grade student at Hoover Elementary in Crawfordsville, was inspired by a project assigned by his teacher, Mrs. Danforth. The topic was Johnny Appleseed, and the assignment was to create something “apple related.” The timing aligned with Johnny Appleseed’s birthday, and the students had one week to complete their projects.
Combining his photography talents with the love of his hometown, William decided to photograph sites around Montgomery County, Indiana, incorporating a lovingly selected apple “with a leaf” in his shots. Just look at that perfect leaf on its stem! At the age of 9, William took his Nikon camera, a Christmas gift received the previous year, to eleven attractions around Montgomery County. Each was artistically showcased including the apple “with a leaf” prominently placed in the foreground. He titled his project, Montgomery County: The Apple of My Eye.
When asked about his favorite photo, William (family and close friends call him Liam) said without hesitation, the Linden Depot Museum shot. This museum is a fully restored 1908 junction depot, exhibiting railroad memorabilia. As you can see here, he placed the apple, leaf forward, on the railroad track, yet was still able to get the entire train car in the shot. What an angle!
Honorable mention for favorite photo went to the Speed Cabin on the grounds of Lane Place. Speed Cabin was a safe haven on the underground railroad. In this shot, the ever-important leaf was situated on the right side of the apple, then placed right of center to the cabin door. Lovely!
Young Bernhardt shared that one the most difficult shots was of the Carnegie Museum. This structure is Indiana’s first Carnegie Library, constructed using Indiana limestone. For this photo, he stood on a stool and placed the apple on a post, just so, in order to capture the imposing columns and limestone carvings. Stunning!
Another challenging shot, according to William, was of the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum. A National Historic Landmark, this is the actual place where author, General Lew Wallace wrote most of his masterpiece, Ben-Hur, A Tale of the Christ. Shooting on a Sunday, the museum was closed, and the gates were locked. Trying several angles, the perfect photo was shot placing the apple, leaf forward, on the ground with the study in the background beyond the gates. This photo angle required William to get his shirt dirty laying on the ground. It was worth it!
After a day of shooting, William and his mother were off to CVS to get the pictures printed. From there, he mounted his favorites on black presentation board using red photo mats. Apple red, naturally.
When asked what he learned about Johnny Appleseed, William recounted that the pioneer nurseryman was born in Massachusetts. He learned that Appleseed traveled through Pennsylvania into Indiana to spread apple seeds, growing some of the first apple orchards. Johnny Appleseed died in Fort Wayne, forever tying him to Indiana.
You might be wondering about what grade William earned on his project. To no one’s surprise, he earned a 100%! Young William, you have made us proud. You, sir, are the apple of OUR eyes!
About the photographer
William Bernhardt was born in Buffalo, New York. Shortly thereafter, he moved with his family to Springfield, Ohio. In 2018, his family moved to Crawfordsville, Indiana where his father is Head Swimming Coach and Aquatics Director at Wabash College. At nine years old, Williams is a fourth-grade student at Hoover Elementary School. Young Bernhardt is a recent photography blue ribbon winner at the Indiana State Fair. While taking pictures is his passion, he is comfortable on both sides of the camera. His future plans include becoming an inventor while pursuing professional photography.
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