Last night I was out and about and had a chance meeting with a lone moose.
He was a two year old bull and was feeding around a turnout and trailhead.
I got out of my truck and carefully approached him as he munched tender buds.
Using a flash attached to the hotshoe on my camera I took a few pics.
This little "button head" (see the nubbin antlers) was completely complacent toward me one on one.
After the last photo a truck rolled up and stopped closer to us than my truck was parked. At this point I felt less comfortable, with my attention split between the people in the truck behind me and the moose.
The bull decided to move out and so did I, since the path he chose had me in it.
No aggression from him but some quick foot work on my part!
One of the organizations I belong to, the Alaska Nature Photographers Network,
has a set of ethics that I am in agreement with.
The following is excerpted from these, and deals with the environmental side of photography in the field.
- Learn patterns of animal behavior–know when not to interfere with animals’ life cycles.
- Respect the routine needs of animals–remember that others will attempt to photograph them, too.
- Use appropriate lenses to photograph wild animals–if an animal shows stress, move back and use a longer lens.
- Acquaint yourself with the fragility of the ecosystem–stay on trails that are intended to lessen impact.
I would say the first one is paramont to safety of the photographer and the wildlife.
I have been around these animals and have studied their behavior for decades, and I don’t rely solely on predictability of their behavior. I always plot an escape strategy before I engage an animal like this. In this case I had 2 safety plans, there was a large steel gait I could hide behind or under, and my truck was close enough for me to retreat to, which is what I chose to do.