Driving eastwards on Hearty Moor on the Somerset Levels, 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.

The Looking at Cars series: looking back through the nine years of the FATman Photos archives (and some new images too), I’m posting pictures of cars in various contexts and styles.  Earlier Looking at Cars posts are here: 1 (with context); 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 .  Each post will open in a separate window.

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. Meanderer says:

    I can feel that unease! The cow looking in through the slightly open window does look a little formidable …… and I like the procession of them through the side mirror going the other way, ha ha.

    I didn’t used to be too worried about cows – we used to quite often walk through fields with cows in them – until a big group came towards us one day and almost circled us. It was around the time when folk seemed to be getting trampled by them.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Cows can simply be curious too, so they come to have a closer look at us, but that makes me uncomfortable – and then of course, you have to smile, I’ve many times seen farmers’ sons, aged maybe 10 or so, walking with a big stick up the road behind a herd, totally fearless, and with a clear command over the animals! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Meanderer says:

        Yes – I’m not sure I would have been as worried about the cows surrounding us if I hadn’t read about all the people being trampled.

        With regard to youngsters at home with these beasts, I agree with you. We’re surrounded by farms and it’s always a joy to see the kids join the adults, rounding up and feeding the animals, and riding the machinery with confidence!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. bluebrightly says:

    That’s a crazy story, about the cow on the loose. The photo made me laugh when I saw it but deep down I know they’re powerful beasts. I drive close to them here sometimes, on quiet roads. Nothing but a flimsy length of barbed wire separates us. I’m going to remember your story.


  3. This story was delightful until you got to the end. What a fabulous capture in the mirror, but a sad ending, for sure.
    Still… your life fascinates me.


    • Adrian Lewis says:

      My life? Well, I’ve been lucky, I guess, Gem. Sorry to sadden you, but that incident materially affected how I felt that day – and of course I’m getting more nervous about risks in general as I get older. ATP xxxXXX!!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. paula graham says:

    Cows can be very dangerous when provoked…or when they have calves not to mention bulls!


  5. krikitarts says:

    I love this. It’s not nearly so much in keeping with your “looking at cars” theme, but rather seems to be a prompt for a new “looking out from cars” one. I’ve seen many a similar expression on sheep during a rural rush hour here, and it’s great that you recorded and brought us this one.


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