Ever since I started cycling, my bike has taken me into the rural countryside. Growing up and living in Pennsylvania I rode over many a paved farm road. Then when I moved to Michigan in 2010 I was given the gift of miles and miles of unpaved dirt and gravel roads to traverse on my bike. As you can imagine, rural roads mean farms, and farms mean farm animals: pigs, cows, sheep, horses, chickens, and more cows.
These days the scent of manure in the air has an almost relaxing effect on me. I find the scent an odorous–yet welcomed–reminder to let go of the tight grip I now get when riding paved roads filled with speeding cars and inattentive drivers; to loosen up, relax and take in my surroundings as my tires roll over the dirt and gravel of rural Michigan.
Over the years the animals have been patient, although be it captive, models for me and my camera. I sometimes think that I might be accruing more photos of cows on my hard drive than my own son! If you look at my Instagram feed (and I hope you do), you might think I was curating a farm and agriculture gallery rather sharing the photos from my life or that which I take while riding, hiking, and shooting sports. That’s OK, the farm animals are part of it too.
I love when I stop to take a photo of a cow, pig, or horse and all that I hear is the wind blowing and the various grunts and snorts coming from my four-legged friends. Even better is when I stop, pull out my camera and the animals make their way over to me to check out the human type person dressed like an idiot.
Some days I really have to talk myself out of stopping, remind myself that I can’t take pics of every animal I ride by or a 30 mile ride would last 5 hours.
As much as I enjoy the animals I find it strange that I never have any strong desire to become a vegetarian or vegan. I often go days at a time without meat but that’s usually for health reasons or just plain coincidence.
While I haven’t become a card carrying member of P.E.T.A. or anything I think my time out amongst the animals has given me an odd respect for them in a strange, but useless, way. I supposed it could be hollow statements like that which had Snowball the pig in Animal Farm thinking “the only good human being is a dead one.”
Regardless of my thoughts of them, or the imagined thoughts they may have of me, I do enjoy taking photos of them and I doubt this will be the last time you’ll have a collection farm animal photos forced on you. Sorry, not sorry. Just be glad I didn’t go back too far back for this first collection or your page load time would have been measured in hours.