(click to enlarge)

These two pretty girls confronted me, as I entered their field near the hamlet of Foolow in Derbyshire one recent afternoon, to photograph the picturesque tree in the background.

They seemed to think I was there to feed them, as they immediately stood directly in front of me, staring  at me fixedly. Within a few minutes, I was surrounded by a herd of about twenty cattle: all immobile, all staring.

As I was raised in rural Ireland, I am accustomed to being around cattle, so I was not cowed (terrible pun intended) by their behaviour.

The least I could do was take their photo. However, as I had only my infrared camera with me, it turned into this rather otherworldly-looking image.

After about five minutes of our standing staring at each other like this, I pushed past them to get to the tree in the background, which was the real object of my attention.

As I kneeled down to get a low angle from which to shoot the tree, the cattle made a close circle around me, standing no more than five or six feet from me, as I set up my gear.

It was unnerving to feel their presence encircling me, their hot breath against the back of my neck as I worked. I had to shoo a few of them away repeatedly to get them out of the frame.

After about fifteen minutes, probably when they realized that I wasn’t going to feed them, they lost interest in me, which allowed me to get an unobstructed view of the tree and to capture the second image.

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