I have a long time friend that follows my photography, and she challenged me, last year  in June, to take a moose picture. This is the first moose picture I have taken with the Canon 5D III. The exact story for this photo goes like this:
I knew I had to get a moose picture, and I know where people usually report seeing moose and/or I have seen moose before. I got up early in the morning and drove to one of the moose sighting areas – Brainard Lake Recreation Area. Keep in mind that it is hit or miss as to whether the moose are actually there or not. I had prepared my camera the night before, making sure that I had the right lens on, the batteries were charged, etc. It is about an hour drive down from the house, which gave some time to ponder and become anxious as to if the moose were there that morning. I took my mom along just for the company. I kept getting more and more excited the closer we got. The feeling was that we would see moose that morning. We were teasing that since we had seen a few squirrels run across the road that it surely meant we would see at least one moose!
We stopped at the entrance station to get our day pass, and then drove the last two miles to the lake. Our eyes were scanning for any signs of moose. My anxiety was growing the closer we got to the lake without seeing a moose. Right before the lake, there is a campground. I noticed a gentleman, with a camera, walking along the road from the campground. My eyes scanned through the willows and I shouted with joy – “There they are!” Two moose were walking through the brush toward the road. I do not think the other photographer knew they were there, yet. He had not reached that point. Just after spotting the moose, the sign for the day use parking lot appeared on the right. I quickly turned in and found a spot. It was windy. My mom almost stayed in the car, but I convinced her to come as I got my camera out of the pack and grabbed a few accessories.
We walked the short distance from the parking spot back to where I spotted the moose. The other photographer had spotted them and was already down taking pictures. He held up his hand with four fingers indicating four moose were in the area. I never saw more than two. My anxiety went from – will we see moose? to here they are; it is time to get a photo. I was also cautious because moose are wild animals with a reputation for being somewhat cantankerous. Here I was walking toward them with nothing more than a camera. I went down to the same spot the other photographer was standing, figuring that the moose had already become aware of him standing there, and were still acting calm. If I needed to, I could always stop and backup. I got one picture of the first moose. Then moved over slightly and started observing the second moose. Both of them were more focused on eating and had their heads down in the brush most of the time.
Every so often, his head would pop up, as if he was under water and needed to come up for air. I had my camera ready – snap, snap. Then the head went back down. I looked at the back of my camera to see if I had the magic shot. Not quite. Okay, come on moose, stick your head up again. There it is – snap … snap.
The sun was getting higher and brighter over the horizon. Moose are usually most active during the morning or later in the day. After the second time he popped his head up, both moose started moving back into the trees. I readied my camera, but the moment had already come and gone. They disappeared for the day leaving me with just five pictures.
It is nice to be able to see the pictures on the back of the camera as soon as they are taken. However, the full impact still does not come until they are on the computer with the big screen. I knew the first few pictures were going to be hit or miss, and they were. Then I got to that last picture. YES! That is the photo of the day! The lighting was perfect on the antlers and there is the eye! Look at all the detail in the fur. “It looks like you could reach out and pet it” my mom said. Of course, that really is not a good idea in the real world, but the photo lets the imagination play! ***DO NOT ACTUALLY ATTEMPT TO PET ANY WILD ANIMAL!!!***
That is the story of the above moose picture. I intend to attempt a few more moose pictures to hopefully get a different angle of the head, etc.. Of course, that also means different backgrounds and locations.
I also have a list of a few other photo ideas that I would like to attempt, and will list those now.
In general, I would like to increase my winter scenes. I started working on this in 2012 after I got the 5D III. I need to stick with it! This means more snowshoeing and/or just getting out in the snow.
Some people have said that I am crazy, but I think it would be neat to photograph a mountain lion. I have not seen one in the wild, which is probably a good thing. If the opportunity ever comes up, I hope I have my camera ready for it. Again, they are wild animals and need to be respected.
I have two specific ideas for astrophotography shots. One involves star trails and a popular landmark near Estes Park. The other involves a two mile hike to a location above Estes. The second location has several views that may make interesting astrophotography shots. It is also a goal to increase the number of my astrophotography pictures, in general. Fortunately, Rocky Mountain National Park offers a lot of locations where light pollution does not spill over as much as other locations in the country. The requirement is to have decent weather, not much moonlight, and, of course time to sleep in the next day after spending the night out!
I am always looking for the wildlife and landscape shots.
That is probably enough of an update for now! Keep checking back to see what the next interesting photo may be!