A Mesmerizing Aerial Timelapse of Sheep Herding in Israel

Haifa, Israel-based aerial photographer Lior Patel shot this mesmerizing timelapse video showing a bird’s-eye view of sheep being herded in his country. From this perspective, the flock looks almost fluid-like, flowing through the green pastures, through gates, and around objects.

Patel says he has spent the past seven months following this large herd of sheep in the Peace Valley region of Yokneam, documenting the journey from their winter pasture to their move and arrival at the summer pasture (an annual trek of up to 4.3mi/7km). The flock has been managed by the same farmer and herder since 1985, Colossal reports, and it comprises anywhere between 1000 to 1,700 sheep at any given time.

The images in the timelapse were shot using a DJI Mavic Pro 2 drone that was mostly kept in a fixed position in the sky. Each shot in the video represents about 4 to 7 minutes of real-time as the sheep are directed by shepherds and sheepdogs to where they need to go — the border collies can be seen in the timelapse running around the flock and making sure the sheep stay together.

“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,” Patel tells Colossal.

The movement patterns of the sheep are reminiscent of starling murmurations in which giant flocks of small birds form undulating patterns in the sky due to their tight formations and synchronized movements.

Patel specializes in shooting aerial photos and videos for a range of industries, including television commercials, editorial, journalism, agriculture, and insurance claim documentation. He has won both domestic and international awards for his work.

You can find more of Patel’s beautiful work on his website, Facebook, and Instagram.