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Lairg Lamb Sale is an event I’ve mentioned before on duckrabbit. No apologies for posting some more images. I love it.

If you like ‘atmosphere’ Lairg is hard to beat. The smell of sheep predominates, and their incessant bleating competing with the non-stop calling of the auctioneers, mixed with the buzz of conversation between the hill-farmers is a heady concoction.

It starts at dawn, and ends at dusk. It is the largest single-day sheep sale in Europe and on occasion up to 30,000 animals may pass through the ring. It is about sheep, and it also about people. About meeting old friends and acquaintances and swapping tales of the year past.

Fancy going? Well just fetch up, walk in and enjoy!

 

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

 

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

 

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

 

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

 

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

 

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

 

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

 

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

 

 

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

 

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

 

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

 

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

 

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

 

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

Lairg Lamb Sale, Sutherland © John MacPherson

 

 

More articles from John Macpherson

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If you’d like to take your first steps in photofilm production then our acclaimed  3-day digital storytelling workshop in London is coming up! Join us from the 4th to the 6th of February 2015.

The course is designed for photographers, journalists, communications and PR professionals wanting to develop their skills in digital storytelling. If you’re looking to produce photofilms for yourself or your organisation to tell your story in a compelling and powerful way, this training is for you!

You don’t need to have photographic or audio recording experience – the training will include both these elements. Each group of up to three people will shoot and record a story on location and produce a draft version of a short photofilm during the workshop. We will give you the practical knowledge and skills you need to produce your own high quality productions.

To book your place, contact us by email at [email protected]

  • “It’s a real testimony to the quality of the training that I’m able to produce something to BBC standard only a few months after attending a duckrabbit workshop”  Ralph Hodgson, photographer.
  • “The guys at duckrabbit not only helped me gain skills in audio capture, interviewing and photofilm production, but also increased my confidence in getting closer to people, and hearing their stories.  I recommend this training to anybody with an interest in people, their stories and how they are represented.” Phil Lang, photographer
  • “Thanks for a wonderful course. I feel re-energised, re-enthused and raring to go. The MSF digital storytelling team is going to take Clerkenwell by storm and tell their stories – no one will be safe from our enquiring microphones.” Natasha Lewer, Editor, Medecins Sans Frontieres
  • “I loved this course by duckrabbit. I left full of enthusiasm and confidence. It must have worked because only my second attempt at gathering content for a photofilm made the front page of the Guardian website.”  Emma Wigley, Interactive Media Officer, Christian Aid

More articles from Jodie Thomas

The magic of the wet cow

Take one cow, on a cold day, and liberally sprinkle with sleety rain. Wait until rain soaks the outer layer of hair and starts to make it slightly curly. Photograph. Magic!

 

A wet cow © John MacPherson

A wet cow © John MacPherson

More articles from John Macpherson

Phenomenon: non, non, non.

'Phantom' © Peter Lik

‘Phantom’ © Peter Lik

 

Jonathan Jones is at it again. He loves to stir it. Writing in The Guardian about Peter Lik’s very expensive canyon photograph, he makes some grand pronouncements. I’ll let others take issue with Jones’ nonsensical “Photography is not an art. It is a technology.” comment. What I’ll take issue with is Jones’ description of the image as being of  “a grand phenomenon of nature”. Sorry Jonathan – but that’s a grand phenomenon of ignorance you display.

If it’s the canyon you refer to, then yes I’d agree, if it’s the shaft of light, well yes indeed, but if it’s the ‘phantom’ of the title, which is all that differentiates it from a host of other similar shots, then I hate to disillusion you but it’s artifice.

The ‘effect’ is obtained by tossing a handful of dirt from the canyon floor into the air in the shaft of sunlight. More organized photographers get a companion to lob the stuff down from above. Those with even less scruples lob a handful of talcum powder into the air, which more is uniform in size and lighter than dirt and floats just a little bit longer, making it easier to get a few frames; however that latter technique is also environmentally unsustainable and grossly polluting. Those with no scruples whatsoever set something on fire and send smoke up the shaft of light. Smoke is very light and floats better, but is less controllable. It can also leave soot residues and other toxins depending on what was burned.

Is it worth $6.5m as a piece of art? Well yes the buyer thought so. So I guess that’s that part of the debate settled then.

But I have to say, when I look at it, I just see something that is at best some careful artifice, or at worst crass environmental vandalism. I have no idea what method was used, and make no pronouncements about the author’s environmental credentials. It is what it is, and what it is, is most likely not natural.

Why am I concerned about this? Well the success of this image will no doubt prompt a rash of copycats. Some will take the unscrupulous route I’m quite sure. And the environmental consequences of that could be considerable. Art, I’d like to think, whether good or bad, should not destroy or pollute that which it celebrates. Time will tell, and I hope I am proved wrong.

Maybe a hint of sour grapes on my part? If you say so.

But…..do you want to see my own ‘phantom’?

Here you go then: Isle of Rum, a long hard climb through thick mist and misery to emerge on the summit ridge. In the distance the Skye Cuillin mountains rise up from the Atlantic, and closer to, a momentary glimpse of a swirling ‘phantom’ which swelled up out of the corrie opposite, outspread it’s arms and dived across the ridge, soaring off into nothingness.

$6.5m for a print of this? Aye, aye that’ll do nicely thanks, if you want to have it to grace your wall. I’ll even sign it.

But the reality – the experience of climbing hard, breathless, and being there to see something like this unfold before me, a true phenomenon of nature…….priceless. And you cannot purchase that.

 

Mystical image of mist shaped like a man spilling over ridge on

Mist phantom dives across a ridge, Isle of Rum © John MacPherson

More articles from John Macpherson

Yellowstone

My recent post that focused on trees in Yellowstone and my being accosted by frustrated American wildlife watchers raised a few chuckles: Where’s the Effing Bear Man?

So here’s a few more pictures that are less reliant on the tree content, and have more wildlife. Should please @timangerphoto then!

But seriously, Yellowstone (and the nearby Grand Teton NP) is a fantastic area with amazing landscapes and wildlife. Well worth a visit.

 

Elk cow in housing estate, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Elk bull in housing estate, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

Family at Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Family at Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

Tourist overcome with the experience, and saluting the geyser, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Tourist overcome with the experience, and saluting the geyser, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

Geyser erupting, trees behind, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Geyser erupting, trees behind, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

Sunrise behind Castle Geyser, light refracting and shadows cast on steam, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Sunrise behind Castle Geyser, light refracting and shadows cast on steam, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

Geyser in late evening dim, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Geyser in late evening dim, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

Geyser in late evening dim, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Geyser in late evening dim, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

Landscape around geyser in late evening dim, sunset light from clouds reflected, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Landscape around geyser in late evening dim, sunset light from clouds reflected, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

Bison, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Bison, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

Bison portrait, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Bison portrait, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

Grass and water, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Grass and water, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

Mule deer beside river, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Mule deer beside river, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

Mule deer portrait, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Mule deer portrait, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

Elk cow resting in long grass in a meadow, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Elk cow resting in long grass in a meadow, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

Soft light on hills, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Soft light on hills, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

 

Tree silhouette, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Tree silhouette, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

Tourist's shadow on coyote's face, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Tourist’s shadow on coyote’s face, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

Coyote running, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Coyote running, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

Grand Tetons © John MacPherson

Grand Tetons © John MacPherson

 

 

Dragonfly on beaver pond, evening, Grand Teton NP © John MacPherson

Dragonfly on beaver pond, evening, Grand Teton NP © John MacPherson

 

 

Moose crossing river in pre-dawn light, Grand Teton NP © John MacPherson

Moose crossing river in pre-dawn light, Grand Teton NP © John MacPherson

 

 

Grand Teton reflection in beaver pond © John MacPherson

Grand Teton reflection in beaver pond © John MacPherson

 

 

Wild light on Grand Tetons © John MacPherson

Wild light on Grand Tetons © John MacPherson

 

 

 

More articles from John Macpherson

Tangle Creek, dawn light and mist, and a face full of gravel. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Dead trees, dawn light and mist, and a face full of gravel. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

(Warning: this article contains pictures of trees)

“Ya bunch of fu**ing limeys!” he shouted and spinning his tyres with an angry pedal-to-metal burst of acceleration, sprayed a sheet of gravel up into the air right beside me.

‘He’ was an Angry American On Vacation in Yellowstone, out at dawn in the autumn to capture ‘something wild’.

‘We’ were a group of UK tourists being led by me and my colleague Pete, visiting Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, and doing exactly the same thing.  Angry A.O.V. had spotted us standing by the roadside in the early light as the first pink glow of dawn began to tinge the swirling morning mist.

Our lenses, some short, others large white and very obvious Canon 500mm f4’s a couple of feet long, were trained into an area of dead trees and marshy ground.

“What ya got there, a bear? A bison? A wolf?” he’d asked as his electric window revealed his eager face.

Tangle Creek, dawn light and mist, and a face full of gravel. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Dead trees, dawn light and mist, and a face full of gravel. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

“Trees” I replied, and adding for politeness:   “….and a good morning to you too. It’s a lovely one isn’t it!”

“Gotta be a bear man, where is it?” he replied

“No, only trees” I reassured him “…..just getting them in the early light.”

“Man it’s gotta be a wolf, its a wolf, isn’t it, is it in that thicket?” he asked with a growing sense of frustration.

“No, its just trees, we couldn’t find anything else. We’ve been looking for bison since before dawn with no luck, so we thought we’d just capture some of the nice light on the trees. Here look at my camera…”

But sadly before I could pull my dslr off my large tripod, he offered me a choice mouthful of curses and roared off into the distance. The next car arrived minutes later….

“What ya got man, is it a wolf, a bear?” asked the eager driver.

 

Tangle Creek, dawn light and mist, and a face full of gravel. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Dead trees, dawn light and mist, and a face full of gravel. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

“Er um no only trees” I tentatively replied.

“What, trees? Ya think I’m stupid man, do ya? Well do ya?”

“Well if you don’t get out to look and enjoy the trees, I’ll have to assume you might be.” I replied gently.

“Might be what?” he responded more curiously.

“Oh you work it out for yourself, you look quite bright, I’m going back to the trees, have a good day.”

Engine revs, more curses, more spinning tyres. And more gravel. This happened again, and again. Same routine every time. But to be fair many people just smiled at me, sympathetically and with a mildly concerned look, no doubt wondering if I was being well-looked after by my nurse.

So, if you’re one of the many folks who stopped to see what we were photographing, because you thought we had spotted something absolutely wonderful. You were right. We had. And here’s the evidence: trees.

Just trees, trees and a few more trees. Glorious.

It’s a well-worn saying, but as I’ve slowly come to realize, it’s so true: sometime people just can’t see the wood for the trees.

 

Tree reflections in small pond, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Tree reflections in small pond, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

Aspen abstract. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Aspen tree branch abstract. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

Bald eagle and trees, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Two small trees and a Bald eagle, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

Light through mist and steam, Mammoth Hot Springs. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Trees appear out of morning mist and steam, Mammoth Hot Springs. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

Dead tree beside geyser, Yellowstone  John MacPherson

Dead tree beside geyser, Yellowstone John MacPherson

 

Dead tree beside geyser, Yellowstone  John MacPherson

Dead tree beside geyser, Yellowstone John MacPherson

 

Trees in regenerating fire-damaged landscape, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Trees in regenerating fire-damaged landscape, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

Layered landscape of live and dead trees. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Layered landscape of live and dead trees. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

Might not look like much but these burnt weathered trees make fantastic abstract subjects. Unfortunately simply stopping and getting out our tripods caused one car to stop, then anoer, then another, and soon we had a traffic jam and many many frustrated people, a few of whom cursed me "for not explaining where the wolf as". It's trees man, just trees. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Might not look like much but these burnt weathered trees make fantastic abstract subjects (see image directly below). Unfortunately simply stopping and getting out our tripods caused one car to stop, then another, then another, and soon we had a traffic jam and many many frustrated people, a few of whom roundly cursed me “for not explaining where the wolf is”. It’s trees man, just trees. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

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Abstract burnt trees that caused another traffic jam. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

Woodland abstract, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Woodland abstract, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

Trees, alive and dead, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Trees, alive and dead, Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

Elk and trees, Mammoth Hot Springs. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Trees attract a hungry elk cow, Mammoth Hot Springs. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

 

Tree and mountains, Tangle Creek, dawn light and mist, and a face full of gravel. Grand Tetons © John MacPherson

Tree and mountains, twilight. Grand Tetons © John MacPherson

 

Geysers, people and trees. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Geysers, people and yes you guessed it, more trees. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

Burnt trees on the skyline, and clouds Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Burnt trees on the skyline, and clouds Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

Soft trees at dawn. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Soft trees at dawn. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

USA1758

Trees on scree slope. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

Elk and tree at twilight, Mammoth Hot Springs. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

Tree at twilight, with a hungry elk cow. Mammoth Hot Springs. Yellowstone © John MacPherson

 

More articles from John Macpherson