Woollies galore…

Masham Sheep Fair. A well known event on a lot of photographers agendas. Every year, it seems as if more photographers show up, there are almost as much cameras as there are sheep. And since only that much sheep are present, we have to make sure to find new angles and viewpoints to shoot the woollies. That is why I also dare focus on farmers, their expressions and their fashion styles… And it has to be said, I thought that the farmer with the hoggs was ready for the catwalk. There is no time for elegance on the farm, the work needs to get done, and that’s it. And you dress to get the work done. Basta!


Lots going on, judging in full swing, there are 3 or four places where judges listen, feel and make up their minds about what sheep is the best in its class.
There is a part in the judging about carcass, I refuse to think further on that one. Of course, even I know that the woollies are only in our world very temporary.
Wanting to keep them all would be a hard task…


Andrew has a bit of a struggle with his heavy pawed one, I like it. It’s more fun when the sheep are not behaving. Makes it a bit more fun to watch and snap.
Although it is serious business for the farmers, no jokes please… And I do understand this. A price winning sheep brings in more money, and sheep are kept to make a living.


The Jacobs judging is on, this one left in the pen seems to say : “I see you but you don’t see me…”.
I know he will be a price winner later on in the day. And he belongs to Stroma, the lady where I snapped the baby Jacobs earlier on this year.


We are also extremely blessed with the weather. A gorgeous crisp blue sky over the Market place, what more can one ask for?
O, I know, I could be the only photographer, that would be nice to ask for, but it ain’t going to happen. Better get used to the idea that there are snappers in abundance, more every year…


And another high featured event to attend is the sheep race. Two of them, one with sticks and one without. The old trick of the bucket with some snacks for the sheep, the only thing they run for. Apart from a working collie.


Mister Wonderful stands where all the people stand, on the outside of the running pen, I again am IN the pen. Where I like it the most.
There is no better spot to be at the sheep race then in the starting pen. Together with the four woollies ready to run.


They have their running attributes already, a pink, blue, teal and white scarf. Now lets see who will win.
My vote goes to the only white faced one, has a bit of Oxford Down in it, but it’s probably a mule… Mixed with another breed.


Representing teal… The bets are on… One of the black faced animals asks me if I will run too. No sweetie, I am staying put here, my job is to snap you all, so you will live on for posterity. Famous and having run or won the Masham Sheep Races edition 2009.


I can see that this one impresses him. The pink beastie pops his nose in too.
A bit more shy then the others, it stays a bit behind and is careful in approaching me. Gosh, I love sheep. If only they would not have that strong desire to die…
If people don’t kill them, they often drop dead with this urge to change this life for the next one. A perfectly healthy sheep can kick the bucket on any time in the timeline of a sheep life… No predicting.


For now, they are not interested in kicking buckets, they want what’s IN the bucket. FOOD!!!!


The farmer running with the sheep holding the bucket has his little son in the starting pen, and he is enjoying his candy. City moms would freak out.
There is no wet wipe in sight, and I can see the microbes run on his face with my naked eye. Yet farmers kids do not quickly get sick. They learned how to build resistence against evil doers. It’s often the town babies who suffer and get sick… , with the first sign of a bug in the house, town babies take it on and get fever as the wet wipe crazyness has reached us. I do shivver when I see the boys hands with earth on it, I know what it feels like to eat sandy candy and sandy sandwiches. In earlier days, we went picknicking to the seaside and often had sand between our teeth whilst eating our lunch on the beach. We did not care too much, the sea breeze makes you hungry and you would probably eat just sand if you had to.


The bucket is ratled to announce the beginning of the race, the woollies are as ready as they can get.


Off they go, to the other side of the running pen. Bucket with food leading the group, a guy forming the red lantarn so the sheep can not turn around before the finish.
They do sometimes, if they see a fraction of a dog on the sideline, within the watching and cheering public, they startle and want to get back to the staring pen.


It’s tight, they are all running more or less at the same speed, we will need a photo finish…


Blue takes a bit of advance over the others, his stomach calls the loudest. He wants food, now and immediately. So he runs for it.


The finish has been reached, it is the metal feeding gutter in the left bottom, they had two races, so I had a bit of time to run to the arrival line, waiting on them to get to it.


Amongst the photographers is Paul Harris (right), one of my guru photographers. I have to thank him for my nice kitchen table I have now as he wanted a change.
I wanted a pine kitchentable so the deal was quickly set. All I had to do was go and pick it up at his house. Went smoothly.
He was teaching a workshop at Masham, must be fun, to be at such an event and take a workshop…


Geese stuff coming up in the next entry! Same time, same place… this blog spot!

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4 thoughts on “Woollies galore…

  1. Ok, I’m sheep ignorant :) Why in the first photo, are the sheep’s knees hairless? I assume it must be from kneeling to lie down? Funny creatures! Their faces seem very much like a goat’s, especially the black and white ones.

  2. Any reference to “carcass” is why I don’t have livestock. No way could I feed and tend animals and then send them to the knackers. I’m so tender-hearted that I worry about our bees when it’s time to take the honey. :^)

  3. héél mooie schapenfoto’s, cat! vooral die kopjes van dichtbij zijn schitterend.
    liefs, M

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