Memorable Moments: Moose Family
One of the highlights of my three years living in Anchorage was the ability to photograph moose on a regular basis. Anchorage is quite unique in that moose can be found literally everywhere, including strolling the city streets downtown.
They are impressive animals, with males reaching 6 feet tall and weighing up to 1,600 pounds. Every spring, cows give birth to calves, and when out and about, one must be aware at all times. Cows can become very aggressive in protecting their young, and deserve enormous respect.
I was out photographing at a local park in Anchorage, when out in the distance saw a cow moose with her calves. I was in an open area and stopped to allow plenty of distance in between us. She noticed me, but continued about her business.
After about an hour, they moved closer to me. I was continually looking around, making sure that I had an exit in case she became upset. The calves continued to play with each other, and Mom decided it was time for a nap. About 50 yards in front of me, she laid down and took a short snooze.
A short while later, she stood up and moved closer. I was getting concerned. She definitely knew I was there – they would glance in my direction every couple of minutes. After coming within 25 yards (that felt like 25 feet!), the calves decided they were hungry and nursed. It was a tremendous experience witnessing everything. After the calves had their share, the family wandered off leaving me with wonderful memories.
I have often thought of why she wasn’t bothered with my presence. Perhaps being a busy park, the moose there are used to human encounters and didn’t feel threatened with me. One of the most important things I’ve learned about wildlife photography, along with patience, is to resist the urge to approach your subject. I’ve had much greater success of staying in one spot and let the animal continue with its natural behavior.
Here are a few images from that outing:
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