Behind the lens: The queue

This photo by David Jacks won the expert vote in our 'farm animals' contest. Here David tells us what it took to get the shot...

"This photograph was taken in Hawarden, Flintshire, North Wales in March 2013 after a heavy snowfall.

I had left my best camera gear at home but had an Olympus EPL-3 in my coat pocket. I saw these sheep in a field and was surprised to see how they seemed to be queuing in an orderly line. I couldn't see what was getting their attention but assumed it must be food of some kind. As no grass was available to them because of the conditions this seems likely. It also makes their behaviour more strange. Surely hungry, impatient animals would crowd around food in a random manner? I could see that the line was forming a diagonal from bottom right to top left which was perfect for composition. However, when I leaned over the fence to take the shot all I saw was a load of backsides. I knew I had to get the last sheep (but none of the others) to look at me. This resulted in lots of clicking, whistling and snapping of fingers until, finally, she turned and gazed at me for a moment. I used a shutter speed of 1/320 as the animals were all moving and an aperture of f/9 to get the furthest sheep in focus.

Back at home, I cropped out hedges and cloned out some poo in CS5 until I was left with a line of dirty sheep against a pure white background. The snow wasn't overexposed and the details on the animals were clear. The Olympus had done the job. The image was virtually black and white as it was but I completed the conversion with Silver Efex."

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