Sheep Rustling in Manish

manish sheep rustling


This was the first shot of my marathon full moon session that took place over the night and early morning of November 10th/11th, 2011.

While I was shooting this place, a car cruised slowly by, heading towards the dead end at the bottom of the road less than 100 metres away. Ten minutes later it cruised back up the road, this time more slowly and came to a halt directly opposite where I’d set up the camera.

A man got out of the car, clambered over the fence and walked slowly towards me, shining a torch in my face. I could have retaliated with my Lenser T7 but chose not to because he’d have been blinded for a week. Bear in mind this is after 8pm on a November night and despite the full moon, it’s too dark for either of us to make out what the other is doing, or about to do.

I said: “Hello there”. No reply. He kept walking in my direction, waving his torch at me. When he got within a few feet he asked: “What are you doing?”.
(‘ere we go…) “Taking photographs”, I replied.
“It’s a funny time to be taking photographs”, he said, suspiciously.
I showed him some of the pics on the camera LCD and tried explaining how and why I was taking photos in the dark. From the look on his face I reckon he thought I was harmless but a bit odd 😉

Figuring he was local, I asked if he knew how long the place had been empty. Turns out this had been Donald’s family home and had been lived in as recently as 20 years ago. He still has sheep on the land around the house and was concerned a prowler was interfering with the rams he’d recently draughted in to impregnate his ewes. Not guilty, honest guv! 😉

From his point of view, imagine driving down the road and seeing someone walking around your property, shining a light in an erratic fashion. As soon as he realised I wasn’t up to any mischief he was happy enough to let me carry on taking photos of his former home, got back in his car and headed on up the road. I continued taking more photos of the surroundings, a little better informed than I had been 10 minutes earlier.

The same house appears in this shot, which I took around an hour after Donald had left the scene. You can see a couple of his prized sheep standing next to the fence – they remained still enough during the 3 minute exposure to show up in the final image.

manish van

While taking this shot, I took my selection of coloured lighting gels out of the camera bag. I can only assume the rustling of the gels must sound very similar to the noise a plastic sheep feed sack makes because when I exited the back of the van having finished lighting the interior with a blue gel, I found a dozen or so sheep hanging around waiting for a late night meal they hadn’t been expecting. Nope, you ain’t having my flask of coffee or the three Viscount chocolate biscuits that would be my only sustenance for the next 10 hours!

When talking to Donald earlier, I learned that the old building I’d shot the previous month (just a little further along the road), had been his grandfather’s house. It’s laid empty for the past 70 years.

Manish Road End

And to finish off this November’s Manish experience, here’s the view out to sea, taken a few metres to the left of the house in the above photo:

manish seascape

Not a bad little haul for such a small area.

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