Monday 12 August 2013

Day 12 - August Challenge

Challenge - "Zwartbles sheep. A breed,which I photograph every day. Would be interesting to see someone else take
                     a few beautiful artistic shots. As I take images of them everyday my challenge would be for you take
                     a photo that has me seeing them as I've not seen them before"

Suggested by - Zwartbles Ireland via Twitter

When I was set this challenge I felt I might be up against it when trying to locate a flock of the rare Dutch breed of Zwartbles sheep. Where to start?
Why not the British Zwartbles Sheep Association! (Thank goodness for the internet) It took an email and a phone call to Christina to gain the information I required, and was I pleased? You bet!

"We don't have anyone listed around Cambridge who has a flock" She told me.
"How about, Norfolk, Suffolk or Essex?" I asked.
"Hmmm, a couple in Norfolk. Nothing in Suffolk and... one in Essex in a place called Saffron Walden"
I suddenly had a smug smile on my face.
"Perfect!" I said

Who would have thought that there was a breeder of these sheep, right on my doorstep! A couple of emails later, and I was all set for a shoot on the glorious 12th (no grouse involved!) Next came another tricky bit, how to photograph them in a way that the challenger had not seen them before.
I had another trick up my sleeve. Himself has a thermal camera which takes low-res (sadly) infra-red spectrum images and which he uses in his business. No email required to organise this, just a quick bit of buttering-up over the dinner table.

...Et voilà! or should that be En hier! An image of Zwartbles sheep like you've probably never seen before, and if you have, it isn't a regular way of viewing a Zwartbles flock!

The flock included Linton the ram, who was more than friendly and kept right up close to me the whole time I was on the shoot. And just so no one thinks I was getting away with using a different breed, here is a conventional photograph of one of the flock to prove that I was being eyed up by Zwartbles sheep.

The grab shots

My thanks to:
Zwartbles Ireland for the suggestion
Christina at the British Zwartbles Sheep Association for the contact
Mick and Hazel for letting me photograph their Zwartbles sheep
Gay and Vyvyan for organising the sheep in the field
Himself for the loan of the camera

Tomorrow, Day 13

"Galloping horse"

As an addition to this post, I would like to provide a background to some of the work taking place at Stonebridge Farm.
As well as the flock of Zwartbles sheep, they also have Highland cattle and are planning to increase the horticultural sector on the farm. There is an old Essex barn on site which is earmarked for renovation. In partnership with Walden in Transition, it is the hope to run this farm as CSA - Community Supported Agriculture. For those with an interest email for more information.
On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Accuro, the Community Gardening Project, which supports people with a disability also work on the farm.


  1. Good detective work! And an intriguing image.

    Zwartbles - what a lovely word! And beautiful looking sheep too.

  2. I have never seen Zwartbles Sheep or if I have I didn't what breed they were! Amazing Shot indeed!

    1. Thanks!
      It's great, as I'm learning things from doing these challenges too

  3. I am so enjoying following your challenges. This is brilliant! Will miss the next few days while we are sailing but will catch up after the weekend.

  4. A tweet from Zwartbles Ireland said:
    "Excellent!! I have yet to photo my flock in inferred!!(sic) Well done:)"

  5. I don't have any direct experience of Zwartbles, but this post brings back memories for me of sheep in our kitchen during the lambing season... Very original idea regarding the infrared, and your more traditional portrait is stunning. He just knows he's photogenic.


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