Driving eastwards on Hearty Moor, driving towards the rising sun.  A farmer in a huge 4×4 stopped, looked down at my little car and me, and announced that his cows were on their way down the road towards me, but “just pull over to the side and you’ll be fine!”.

Well, a narrow – in fact single track – road, there was nowhere else to go.  And so to really large, living things moving slowly down the road past me, to huge faces brushing up against the car windows and, catching sight of me within, shying away in panic; and in one unnerving instance, one of their significant bulks trying to squeeze through the little gap between the car and the hedge …

Well, you say, they were only cows, but I have two takes on this.

First, and on the positive side, I used to take paying guests on safari in Kenya, and often used to stop my vehicle in front of an advancing column of elephants, telling everyone to be very quiet and to keep still, and to let the elephants bear down upon us and flow around the vehicle like water around an island in a stream – once, one took even some greenery that had become entangled in our front bumper and ate it.   These were truly wonderful experiences, the great beasts moving slowly past us, the noises, the smells – it was said that an elephant can smell each individual occupant of a vehicle and remember the smell too!  BUT I was younger and less sensible then >>> although my hand was always on the vehicle’s ignition key, and I was in a larger, safari vehicle rather than my little car!  And having been studied for many years, the elephants of Amboseli Game Reserve were very used to people.  Although, even then, getting too near a big bull was really not a good idea.

But second, on the negative side – and much nearer home too – a cow broke out of its field near Bristol a few years back, panicked and ran off down the road.  And when confronted by a small car like mine, it ran up over the bonnet and roof in its panic, killing the driver.  And so to moments of unease on Hearty Moor, though still managing to fire off a few frames.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 10-25 Fujinon lens at 36mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Provia/Standard profile; Hearty Moor, east of Glastonbury on the Somerset Levels; 24 May 2019.

About Adrian Lewis
Photographer - using mono, colour and combinations of the two - many types of subject, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous, trying new ideas, working in multiple genres. And I've a weakness for Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.


  1. Adrian, I love this! Can only second what everyone else has already said.


  2. Meanderer says:

    I like the way (despite knowing the story of the cow running up and over the bonnet) you still clicked a few! Good capture of coming face to face with the cow.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Yes, I have to say that I was more nervous than I have been for some while – this was actually my second time in this situation on this road, the first time I only used the telephoto when they were further away and later regretted that, so this time I screwed up my courage – tho whether if it happens again as it might, whether I’ll have the window down for better pics is another matter! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great shot – I know the feeling, as a kid there was a road we quite often used where the cows walked to the milking sheds. It is unnerving especially as they are so curious and had to look in the windows – the family car was a mini at the time!!


  4. bluebrightly says:

    That’s quite a story! I would never imagine that happening, but then, life is full of the unimaginable. Your photo is interesting not only for the rear view mirror image, but also because the dark shapes of the car and high contrast mimic the cow’s markings.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. paula graham says:

    Brilliant picture, and thoughtful writings.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Thank you, Paula – I’ve had this experience twice on the same narrow road now, and it was only on the second occasion that I managed close-in photos – still, all a part of what the Levels are! I’d feel safer in a Land Rover!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hannah Keene says:

    This is marvelous, Adrian. Both the story and the photo.


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