On this date 54

I know, I’m cheating, and trying to shamelessly increase the photo count for the year, but we all know about me and shame by now (“we all” meaning, of course, me, because who the hell else is reading this?) But I promise, this is the last ‘On This Date’ post of the year – no sneaking in a ’54-A’ or anything like that. Other posts with photos, I make no guarantees…

And this one largely came about from a minor curiosity, because I noticed when reviewing my handy-dandy date spreadsheet (that made all of these posts possible) that we had entries in the ‘Mammals & Carnivores’ sorting category on different years, back-to-back. This category is woefully underpopulated in my stock, oddly enough, mostly because the mammals available around here are largely nocturnal, unless you count grey squirrels, and in December, that’s what I was expecting to find when I checked the photos listed. But no, I found the exact same thing for both.

up the nostril shot of a belted galloway cow at Fearrington Village, NC
I mentioned in the previous post that we would hear more about Fearrington Village, and here we are. One of the village’s claims to fame (or at least its signature aspect) is being home to a bunch of Belted Galloway cattle, sometimes know as “Oreo cows” because they’re a blatant ripoff of Hydrox. No, it appears, as I do a bare modicum of research, that it’s instead because Belted Galloways are black cows with a thick white band in the middle, something that my photo here from 2005 shows very poorly, though if you ever wanted to gaze deep within the nostrils of a curious cow, I’m your man. (I mean, I’ll provide the pics, not the nostrils.) Overcast days are actually good times to tackle animals that are black and white (preferably without including quite so much of the sky,) because the lessened contrast makes the opposing colors more visible and controlled in the images, as opposed to sunny, high-contrast days when either the black portions or the white (sometimes both) will fall outside of the range that the camera can capture. Which I demonstrated six years later in 2011, when I visited again on this date.

Belted Galloways at Fearrington Village
Not so much with this photo, I mean, because I purposefully shot these cows lying in the shade to control it, but another frame that I have from the day is in regular use with my students to show what happens when you tackle high-contrast subjects in high-contrast lighting.

[As a silly note, I cropped and sized these photos a day ahead of starting this post, and just now as I was proofing a draft, I stared at the above image and wondered how it uploaded corruptly, before remembering that I’d left a portion of the fence in the bottom of the frame – those aren’t neutral-grey and white rendering errors, but a white fence.]

Now, I have visited Fearrington Village perhaps a total of seven or eight times during my entire tenure in North Carolina (presently about 27 years,) and somehow two of those visits were on the same date. That’s crazy, right? Well, okay, it’s a trivial coincidence, falling at roughly a 2% chance, but one that serves as a partial post topic anyway. Continuing the trivia now as I’m typing about it, I’ve spent a decade more time living in NC than I have in NY, but I still kind of self-identify more as a (central, “upstate”) New Yorker than as a Carolinian – and yet, I was born in Jersey. That’s crazy.

There was an explanation for the second visit featured here though, and that was because a friend of ours (also from NY) was visiting, and she’s got this serious obsession with cows – don’t ask me, I’m not making this up. So of course we had to take her to see the Belted Galloways nearby – partially because it was her birthday, too. Still is, or at least the anniversary of such, so we’re slipping in another aspect of this post. That’s her down below (the one on the left,) so if you recognize her, wish her a happy birthday and tell her to find some new obsession that makes a little more sense. I mean, cows

Belted Galloways at Fearrington Village with overexcited tourist in background

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