This week in the 52 week pet photography project our topic is Road Warrior. Last weekend I took a short road trip and met some alpacas. If you follow me on Instagram, you saw my post about the Carolina Alpaca Celebration and me debating whether or not I should go.

The forecast called for a cold rain. I thought the alpacas would be outside and I’d have to drive about an hour to Concord NC to see them.

I decided to go and I am so glad I did. Dogs are my favorite animals but alpacas might be my 2nd favorite now.

I’d never met an alpaca before. And I totally fell in love. I mean just look at them.

To be totally honest, before going I googled alpaca vs llama. I didn’t know the difference. I’m sure there are many differences but the most recognizable ones are that llamas are taller and have longer ears.

There are two types of alpacas: huacaya and suri. The ones with the shaggy “fur” over their eyes are suris. The others are huacaya.

I had no idea what this event really was. First of all it was indoors. The alpacas were all in fenced areas in the arena. (The lighting for photography was a challenge.) I only have photos of the lighter colored ones because trying to photograph the black or dark brown ones was really hard without using flash.

I learned that the “fur” of an alpaca isn’t called fur it’s called fiber. They are shaved in April and their fiber is used to create yarn. I bought some socks at the event and they are warm. There were lots of vendors there selling items like beanies (I found one I wanted but I didn’t get it), sweaters and scarves.

I also learned that alpacas typically don’t like to be touched on the top of their heads. At the event, many of them acted as though they didn’t want to be touched at all. I’m sure being inside with all of the activity was a different experience for them. When I did meet one that seemed to like the attention, his fiber was so soft.

Based upon what I witnessed, they like to eat and they eat hay. As you can see in some of these photos, they had hay all over them and since they don’t like to be touched on their heads, it stays there.

I also didn’t realize that the Carolina Alpaca Celebration is really an event where the alpacas are judged, much like a dog show. They entered a ring and were lined up. I don’t know much about this but I watched them and the judge had a flashlight and looked deep into the fiber. Ribbons were awarded to the winners.

I am so glad I went. I love alpacas and cross your fingers for me. I may have the chance to photograph more of them this spring… in fields of red clover!! How awesome would that be!

This is the 52 week pet photography blog circle and next up is Tracy Allard of Penny Whistle Photography fetching portraits in Coppell and surrounding communities in the Dallas - Fort Worth metroplex. If you click the link at the bottom of each post, you’ll see the next photographer’s blog about Road Warrior. I’m guessing no one else will have photos of alpacas. LOL!!