If you’ve ever seen shepherds herding sheep, you know how remarkable their abilities are. And while directing the farm animals looks impressive from the ground, the choreographed movements look even more captivating from above. Haifa, Israel-based drone photographer Lior Patel spent the last seven months capturing a flock of 1,000–1,700 sheep in the Peace Valley region of Yokneam. Shot from above using a flying drone, the aerial timelapse footage shows how the animals move across the rural landscape in fluid unison, like a school of fish or a murmuration of starlings.
The herd has been managed by vegetable farmer Michael Morgan and South Africa-born herder Keith Markov since 1985. Each year, the flock migrates up to 7 kilometers (4.3 miles), from their winter pasture in the valley to their summer pasture in the outskirts of Ramot Menashe. The challenging event also requires the help of shepherds Mustafa Tabash, Mahmoud Kaabiyah, Eyal Morgan, and Dan Goldfinger, as well as a small team of border collies.
“The shepherd dogs are an experience in themselves and everything is directed by Mustafa and his family who welcomed me every visit with open arms,” Patel recalls. “Morning coffee with Mustafa and Keith will give you energy for a whole day.”
Patel captured the sheep from a fixed camera position, allowing the viewer to focus on the mesmerizing flow of movements. From navigating fields to crossing roads, each sped-up shot represents about four to seven minutes of real time. The sheep appear as a mass organism that ebbs and flows according to the shape of the landscape. Patel says, “The first challenge is to understand the elasticity of the herd during the movement, its dispersal during grazing, and how it converges into one tight pack towards exit/return from pasture and crossing roads and paths.”
Watch Patel’s sheep in fast motion video below and find more from his portfolio on his website. When he’s not filming sheep, Patel artfully documents other agricultural practices of Israel.
Drone photographer Lior Patel created an aerial timelapse video showing a flock of 1,000–1,700 sheep being herded across the rural landscape of Yokneam in Israel.
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