In the Scottish Borders in late November, a shepherd has put out some supplementary feeding for his sheep and, when they come to feed, he takes the opportunity to check and count his flock.
These are Scottish Blackface Sheep, the commonest breed of sheep in Great Britain: one of the hardiest breeds, their wool is tough and suitable for carpet making and their meat is prized.
It is not uncommon in these parts for farmers to dye the wool of their sheep (particularly Blackface ones) a deep yellow or orange colour, especially before taking them to agricultural shows or presenting them for sale. Less common, however, is dyeing them tartan as in this wonderful picture by Alastair Seagroatt (auldal)!
Shot from a distance in RAW and converted and edited in PSE6.
All comments/critiques/advice welcome!
Critiques | Translate
Corpus (381) 2010-03-20 13:56
Great shot! I love the somewhat contrast rich colour of the sheep against the softer tones of the grass. Gooe dchoice on the DOF and great sharpness. The counting character is simply a must!
romanaa (7644) 2010-03-20 14:35
well, I am not sure I like this. Not the picture, the picture is all right, but the dyed sheep, I would like to see them white (perhaps the black and white version would help :-D ).
On the other hand, great motive, perfect focus and composition.
Helisa (964) 2010-03-20 15:27
I must admit, I don't like the idea of dying sheep either. Irish people colour their houses, maybe Scotts should try it too? ;)
Nice photograph and thanks for the information.
Royaldevon (21485) 2010-03-21 3:27
How interesting, John!
The sheep certainly stand out in the grassland; is there a 'fashionable' colour or does it depend on the preference of the farmer?
I like how you have focussed on the m/g for your sharpness. The sheep create an excellent dividing line for composition and the farmer is nicely positioned in the frame.
Have a good Sunday,
Glint (5911) 2010-03-21 6:08
Oh,this is good!Clever of you to get the focus fixed on the sheep.Composed using the rule of thirds -(Peter will pat you on the head).This leaves a smile on y face.
saxo042 (33930) 2010-03-21 13:18
A beautiful picture of these beautifully dyed animals. The background and foreground are equally beautiful with their limited, but contrasting colour range. I hope you had the shepherd´s permission to take this photo...
PS Thanks for your e-mail, I am still thinking of an answer!
Omorika (538) 2010-03-24 8:35
This is not what one often see, at least not where I am from. We have lots of sheep, but nobody would think of dying them. Since I have seen that practice for the first time in your photo, I am kind of surprised, maybe even confused. And I om of two minds about it. It could be attractive to the eye, but it does look unnatural, if you know what I mean.
I like your photo, you have made the maximum out of what certainly is an interesting photo opportunity. The composition is good, the colour contrast well used, the moment was right with the shepherd being occupied with his flock, the focus is exactly where it should be. Well done.
Ricx (13489) 2010-03-27 5:32
Hi John, Hilarious title!! Congrats. I like the deep FG and yet the focus on the sheep is still clear. good management on the focal length. I tend recently top try for high F stops and forget the power of good focus on the subject. Well done Ricx
macondo (18461) 2010-04-23 21:39
Fantastic shot, John!
The cropping is superbly judicious, leaving so much sloping land above the flock, adding to the depth and spaciousness of the picture, with the furrows all slanting down towards the shepherd. And the grasses leaning his way below. The very shallow DOF, brought about by the long focal length, works a treat, and the sheep and man are so sharp, I'd almost think you'd need a tripod for that - you must have steady hands or found a good rest. The dye looks strange (but not as strange as the tartan ones!) but the shot is made all the more striking because of it.
Didi (51307) 2010-06-12 17:39
What a strange scene with original orange colour on these animals.
Very good frame quality with a selective setting on the subject.
maloutim (9473) 2010-09-01 14:39
Well, I never! Knew about painting colour marks on the sheep to recognise whose they are, but I didn't know about painting them all over for show!
I really like your composition, with the sharp, orange sheep against the blurry, soft vastness of the background!
I also like the gesture of the shepherd, counting his sheep! I am sure it can't be an easy task!
A very good capture and intereting documentary photo!
As for the link to the tartan sheep, I had to look twice to believe it! Very funny indeed!
Thanks for sharing!
- Copyright: John Cannon (tyro) (15717)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2009-11-20
- Categories: Daily Life, Food, Nature, Decisive Moment
- Camera: Canon EOS 20D, Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS USM, HOYA 67mm HMC SUPER UV(0)
- Exposure: f/5.0, 1/100 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Map: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2010-03-20 13:50