Close Encounters and Field Practise

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.

IMGP9838 a

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!
IMGP9842 ac
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.

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14 Responses to Close Encounters and Field Practise

  1. Michele says:

    Wow..good thinking! always heard a moose was nuttin to mess with.. =) Cool Shots!

  2. Beth says:

    Good escape plan and excellent photos.

  3. Sheila says:

    hence…the need for a bazooka! ha!

  4. Rambling says:

    ah, you know what I\’m thinking I\’m sure…wish I was there. And by the way, glad you belong to the Alaska Nature Photographers Network.  I am not in the least surprised that you do.

  5. Cat says:

    re ethics – which is not only why you are still alive but continue to grace us with yr photos – btw SEEPOD crashed my  browser – will have to search out Muskrat Love elsewhere – pooh! (and just realized how perverted that sounds – LOL!!

  6. Cindy says:

    Is that your reflection I see in his eye?  Great encounter, thanks for sharing the pics.  Moose are one of my favorite big game animals.

  7. Barb says:

    Great photos again Steve.  I\’m surprised the moose didn\’t object to the flash.  I guess he thought it was lighting!
    I appreciate that you\’ve documented here your list of ethics for other photographers to read and consider.  Sometimes we get caught up in the moment and forget, not only our personal safety, but the safety and comfort of the creatures we are trying to capture.  I still cringe every time we are driving in Jasper or Banff and see people get out of their vehicles to photograph wild bears along the highway.  It boggles the mind.
    Hope you had a great day.  We are literally blowing away here again today and what isn\’t moving in the wind is burning.  We\’ve had two wild grass fires, one that is now totally out of control north east of the city.  It\’s heartbreaking to see what you know is a habitat for animals and birds going up in flames.
    Hug hugs from the windy city!

  8. Dianne says:

    Hi Steve, Great photos. It is interesting that the flash didn\’t cause a response from the moose. He must have really liked those buds on the trees and just tolerated you being there. The way to a moose is by  his stomach, lol.
     Good Advice for all of us. I see moose up in Algonquin Park from time to time.They are are magnificant animals and to be respected at all times. Take care! Dianne

  9. Nae says:

    Great photo — great thought process — great ethics.  Thank you for sharing!
    I guess I don\’t think about it much — I tend to think the way that Grandma taught me — respect nature — be one with it.  Ask them permission.  It is the Tlingit way.
    Hope you had a beautiful day!
    God bless you and keep you,
    Nae  :o)

  10. Lyn says:

    There are a lot of idiots that could use your philosophy on animals and environment. Nice pictures and glad you know what you are doing and have some common sense. Stay safe and we all sure love the pictures, but would hate for anything to happen to you, so keep up the good work. Lyn

  11. Ann says:

    You are a wise and considerate man. I admire you for that. Great shots.

  12. Arctic says:

    I am not suprised why your photos are alwasy so great now. and i also impressed by the bleaching behavor of some other photographers.

  13. Jacque says:

    Hi Steve,
    It is always so uplifting to come here and see your amazing photos.  Thank you for stopping by,too.  I look forward to your writing about your father.
    I\’m glad you have integrity with nature.
    Wishing you a great day…

  14. REDEEMER WORD says:


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