The results of our second online show are in!

The response to this has again been great and the standard is fantastic, thanks to everyone who sent in photos. You can see first and second places in the slider below, click here to go to the individual class pages and browse all the photos. Below the slider is some details on our judges as well as their feedback on the entries, it certainly makes for an interesting read having the perspective of people not directly involved with the breed but with vast experience in their field.

Judges’ Comments

Ewe Class:

1st: Westshield – Brachmont Ari. A strong ewe, lovely wide pelvis, well-sprung rib and a broad chest, nice broad muzzle.
2nd: Westshield – Brachmont Andrea. Another lovely ewe with good breadth and confirmation, broad head and a dense fleece.
3rd: Escrigg Phiggy. I liked this young ewe for her front and rear shots, showing a well-sprung rib and nice broad chest and pelvis. She nearly missed out on 3rd place as the side photo doesn’t show her topline to best advantage but on balance she was a worthy placing.

Ram Class:

1st: Westshield – Loanhead Alfaðir. This tup has real presence – strength and compactness, with a good topline, full, dense fleece, nice reach of chest and a broad head. I would have liked to have seen a shot from the rear.
2nd: Escrigg Uhtred. A very decent tup lamb with good breadth, nice legs and feet and a lovely head.
3rd: Croft Hill Magnus. I liked this lamb for his nice chest, broad head, and dense fleece but he almost wasn’t placed as the photo isn’t really enough to show him off fairly.

Some comments from Ruth:

Thank you very much for asking me to judge the Icelandic sheep online show, I really enjoyed scrutinising your lovely sheep, and was only wishing I could get my hands on them in person!

One request to help your future judges out would be to send 4 photos of each animal – front, rear, and both sides. Taken from “sheep height” on level ground without too much vegetation so that the legs and feet can be assessed. I know how hard it is (I’ve chased around after my cattle for hours to get entries in for the Society show!) but it really is worth it, and ensures that the judging is as fair as it can be in such a format.

Thank you all and keep up the good work with this breed – they certainly deserve a wider following.

Breed Judge – Ruth Dalton

Ruth is a native livestock specialist, she spent a decade working for the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, and now advises farmers, land managers and breed societies throughout the UK. She is passionate about native breeds and their place in sustainable farming systems.

At home, Ruth farms pedigree native cattle and sheep in the Lake District with her partner. They carefully manage their land and livestock to increase biodiversity and produce high-welfare, healthy food.

Click here to visit Ruth’s website.

Photo Class

1st – Westshield, Photo 11

Wowza this one really stood out for me. That range of beautiful texture & colour was already perfect. But the way the horn emerges from the top left corner of the frame sets this image apart. Sometimes a photograph is about what you choose not to show in your composition as opposed to what you do & this beautiful photograph is a perfect example of that. Great stuff!

2nd – Pinware, Iceys at Dawn

I just keep coming back to this image. There’s some beautiful symmetry in this photograph & it’s composed really well. With the composition following the rule of thirds, framing the bottom grass & sheep in the lower portion of the photograph really pleases the eye. Those dramatic skies & frosty morning/evening feel really brings you into the moment. You can almost see the chill in the breath as you soak in the scene. Lastly those sheep are perfectly choreographed. It’s almost like an elaborate well directed group shot. Top work!

3rd – Escrigg, Perfect Pair

I love the symmetry captured here. These two little sheep were photographed at such a great moment providing an almost mirror image. Even though there might be some photos which are sharper & more technically superior. Sometimes it’s about the luck of the moment that pleases the eye. Well done!

Some comments from Ryan:

It was tough a tough decision as there was some great entries but I’ve got three varied & fantastic winners.

Thinking about taking photos of your sheep in the future I’d focus on tightening in those compositions. There were a lot of fabulous entries that fell short of the win because the focus was too wide. It’s difficult to get close but a longer lens or a simple crop after the fact would have improved a lot of photos tenfold. Using a smaller aperture (for those using cameras) would also be beneficial. A few shots were taken seemingly wide open which means focusing on the eyes was a bit more tricky. Allowing yourself a bit more room for error by sticking at an aperture like f5.6 or even f8 would have been better while bumping that ISO to make sure your shutter speed is higher in order to freeze that action.

Compositionally, think about what story you want your image to tell too. Wider shots showing more of the environment can help emphasise narrative whereas tighter, more abstract images can give an alternative take on your subject. Sometimes thinking outside of the box can be way more exciting & serve to only enhance your photos.

Congrats to the three winners!

Photo Judge – Ryan Learoyd

Ryan Learoyd is a Sheffield-based wedding photographer, specialising in taking photos that are a little bit different from your regular wedding photos. Here’s what he has to say:

At the age of 6 I achieved my first recognition when I was awarded the prestigious Blue Peter Badge in a photography competition. It was only later in life that my very own Dad confessed to taking the winning image. From that moment on I would embark in a quest to redeem my artistic integrity.

Weddings for me are about family, they’re about those brief moments of interaction. After all, everyone wants that image of their 90 year old Nan smoking a celebratory Cuban cigar like Fidel Castro. Beyond the Megapixel lies a memory framed & beyond the image lies a story. Narrative within the image is as powerful as the written word & it’s this I try to convey within my art.

I’d like to think that somewhere down the line a negative developed in my noggin & blessed me with the ability to make the world look beautiful. Though the reality is that with just a couple of love struck strangers the beauty is already there. Together we can make art, we can create, we can be bold, we can laugh, Hell we can even be strange. Together we can tell your story how it deserves to be told.

Click here to visit Ryan’s website.

Icelandic Sheep Breeders Of the British Isles