Disorderly Content


The Hills Have Cow Eyes

So I'm driving along a backroad near Gilroy this afternoon, enjoying the weather and looking for something to photograph. This particular road's kind of narrow and winding, and there's no place to stop. But the scenery's pretty, with the brown hills and the green trees. I spot a big field with a big hill behind it, and a herd of cows standing around looking photogenic. So I wish for a place to stop, and I find one a couple of hundred feet beyond. I park, grab my camera and walk back up the road, hoping I'll hear any oncoming traffic in time to get out of the way. My luck holds; no oncoming traffic, and the cows are right where I left them.

But not for long. They're on the move, having been disturbed by a loud and clumsy photographer. I get a few pictures before a ridge gets between me and them. And then I head back to my car. I had the wrong lens for the distance, and wanted to get something longer. I swap the lens and then head back down the road a little way, figuring I could at least shoot the flora, what with the fauna having given me the slip.

Except... they hadn't. Quite the opposite, in fact. Because the moment I looked over the barbed wire fence, I discovered where the herd had gone. They'd gathered by the gate in the fence, just across from my parking spot. And they were all looking at me. With interest, or at least as much interest as a cow is capable of showing. I wondered if they were used to someone coming to feed them, and if I'd acted sufficiently farmerlike to fire the synapses in their little bovine brains. But I got a few shots before they lost interest or had another thought. Not that that was all that likely. And I never did get a model release. Are hoof prints legally binding?