Photographing Moose in Winter
Photographing moose in winter is the most challenging of all the four seasons. Moose are masters of their environment and can easily navigate any rugged terrain, including tree blow downs and even snow three or four feet deep. They seem to thrive in frigid conditions- unlike wildlife photographers trying to photograph them! Winter cold and deep snow forces moose to find new feeding areas, usually on the Southeast side of hills and mountains, instead of lowland aquatic areas where they tend to stay in summer. Winter moose photo opportunities, particularly in the Northeastern states, are extremely limited.
Photographing moose in the winter months requires a great deal of preparation and hard work. The photographer must do his/her homework concerning moose behaviors and be familiar with moose track and sign as well. Proper attire and gear in the winter months are always issues, and to quote a famous L.L. Bean saying; "There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing!" Snowshoes, a camera backpack, and a sturdy tripod are all a must. Combine all these elements with a healthy dose of good luck, and you just might come home with great moose images!
I photographed this young bull in Western Massachusetts only a few miles from my home during a snowstorm. While it was snowing quite hard, there was little ground accumulation, making it much easier for me to keep up with him in the woods.
I was amazed at how the snow collected on his body (and even his eyelashes!) without melting. Mother Nature had him well equipped for cold weather! However, it was difficult for me to keep the blowing snow off my telephoto lens. One handy piece of homemade equipment I use in these conditions is a tripod mounted umbrella which helps protect my camera body and lens from the elements.
This is the bullmoose of "A Moose for Jessica" fame. A young bull, with confused hormones, fell in love with one particular Hereford cow on a farm in Shrewsbury, Vermont and courted her for several weeks. His exploits were legendary, earning him appearances on CNN and Good Morning America.
Although I did not have to trudge through snowdrifts to photograph this guy, I did have to drive 106 miles, one way, every day. This photo was taken in a snowstorm with a 400mm lens; the temperature was about zero Fahrenheit.
I'm fond of this close up image because it gives the viewer the opportunity to study all the details of the face from the dusting of snow to the reflection in his eye.
While cruising along Rte. 3 near the Canadian border in New Hampshire looking for moose, I spotted fresh moose tracks in the freshly fallen snow on the side of the road. After following the tracks for a couple hundred yards, I came across this adult cow moose. I was able to open the door of my vehicle and grab a couple of frames before she bounded off into the woods. I made a feeble attempt to follow her to get more photographs, but I sank waist deep in the snow while the moose nimbly moved deeper into the woods and disappeared.
This cow moose was photographed during an early winter snow squall in Baxter State Park in Maine. The pond had not yet frozen over, so the moose could still feed on the sweet grasses covering the bottom of the pond.
Written exclusively for Mooseworld by Mark Picard. Copyright © 2007 by Mark Picard. Used with permission.
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