One of the best ways to experience a place is through its small festivals. Every September, the locals of the small town of Furi host a beauty contest for the best looking blacknose sheep. Since it was a beautiful day and I had found myself with a spare hour, I decided to take the gondola up from Zermatt and have a look at these sheep. Unfortunately, the festival didn’t start until later in the day, but that gave me an opportunity to mill about with the early arrivals and have the sheep pen all to myself.
This gentleman turned out to be one of the oldest residents of Zermatt, and although he spoke no English, he did speak German, Italian, and French, which isn’t common in this area any longer. Since I can communicate in French, we were able to have a very nice conversation, and he quickly agreed to pose for a quick portrait. I couldn’t resist because of his character, defined by his beard, pipe, sunglasses, and traditional shepherd’s crook complete with a genuine bone handle. I offered to email him a picture, but he didn’t have email, nor did he have a phone. I’ll have to send him a copy via old-fashioned snail mail.
In the background, you can see the very tip of the Matterhorn poking into the scene. I placed him off center in the frame so the viewer could see the valley we were in, as well as the sheep milling about in the near background.
Photo Tip: Don’t be afraid to ask people for an opportunity to take their portrait. Get close, engage in conversation, and always offer to send a picture back as a thank-you.
Photographed with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a Canon EF 24-105mm, f/4 IS USM lens. Camera settings: 1/3200; f/4 ; ISO400.
See more photos by Susan Seubert on Instagram at @susanseubert.