I don’t know about you, but when I think of cows, I generally picture them as pretty static creatures with not much personality – the type of placid beasts known to tip over when you give them a good shove. Well, a recent visit to a local cattle ranch made me realize that I couldn’t have been more mistaken.
Take the case of the red cow in the above image. We’ll call her Millie, for the sake of reference. When I first approached the herd, most of the cows were skittish and kept their distance, so I knelt down and started shooting frames from about twenty yards away. While focused in the viewfinder, I heard a loud snort in my right ear, accompanied by a waft of hot breath. Trying not to act startled, I looked over the top of my camera to see a ton of lean beef staring me right in the eye. It was the bull, apparently coming over to let me know who was in charge. As ominous as he looked, he turned out to be more curious than concerned, so I seized the opportunity to shoot some close-ups of his eyes. The eye image above was my favorite of the sequence.
However, the winning frame of the day came completely by surprise when Millie walked over and rested her chin on the bull’s back. Her expressions were priceless, and I was fortunate to have been ready for the fleeting moment when it occurred. I fired off four frames – the one of her shown here being the prize of the day. Seconds later, the bull spun around, mounted her in a flurry of galloping hooves, and my session was done.
Who would have thought that photographing cattle could be so rewarding? Needless to say, I’ll be back for more.