Before I get started, I'll just get this out of the way: OH MY GOODNESS, THEY'RE SO CUTE!
Over the Easter weekend we were incredibly fortunate to have good weather across pretty much the whole of the UK, so it was a pleasure to get out for some long walks in the Warwickshire countryside and to take some photos.
Lambing season appears to be in full effect so I knew it was a good opportunity to capture some nice shots. With that in mind I brought my longest lens (214mm in 35mm terms) with 1.4 x tele-converter. For those not up on their focal lengths, this isn't particularly long in the scheme of things, at least not compared to dedicated wildlife lenses.
As such, I knew I'd have to get fairly close to my subjects to get the kind of shots I wanted. Now, I like to think of myself as a bit of a Doctor Dolittle type character, at one with the animals, an animal whisperer if you will, but, sheep are cautious at the best of times, even more-so when they have their young, vulnerable offspring with them.
In fact, it was quite interesting to observe the interactions amongst the herd, with the lambs being a lot more curious and bold than the older sheep, sometimes looking like they might approach you to investigate, before the more cautious mother sheep would bleat out a warning call for their lamb to back away.
My approach therefore was really slow and measured. I spent a good amount of time just standing in one place, letting the flock approach me if they wanted, rather than rushing in and scaring them off. I kept my body language non-threatening by keeping my head down, not staring and feigning indifference to their movements. Over the course of the evening, I was able to gradually move closer and closer. I genuinely believe this softly, softly approach allowed the sheep to feel comfortable in my presence and to perceive no threat from me.
It was a real joy to watch the young lambs play in the setting sun, as well as observing their mothers keeping a watchful eye on them at all times, not to mention the vocal communication. Towards the end of my walk I came across a group of lambs all from different families playing together. They seemed fascinated with a particular dip in the ground and so formed all of their games around this hole, jumping in and out of it, chasing each other round it and generally just having a brilliant time!
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Also, if you are from Solihull, Birmingham, Coventry, Warwickshire or the West Midlands and are interested in hiring me as your wedding photographer, please say hi!