Winter Moose

_N5A7026-4I set off yesterday for Algonquin Provincial Park for yet another attempt to add some winter birds to my library.  The local birds here in Orillia have been largely absent with just a few of the regulars showing up and the snow levels are so high that the squirrels have easy access to my ‘squirrel proof’ feeders with just a simple jump.  If we get any more snow they will soon be able to just step onto the platforms!

I have driven along Highway 60, the main arterial road of Algonquin, dozens of times over the past few years.  I had noticed that many of the branches and twigs of the Algonquin trees were encased in hoar frost making everything look like it was set in a fairy tale and I was already thinking that the frost would be a good photo opportunity given the right composition.  As you probably are aware, as one becomes familiar with routes, you become acutely aware of any changes or out of place objects that require a second look.  This happened yesterday as I passed Cache Lake which is on the south side of the highway.  I thought I saw the silhouette of a moose out of the corner of my eye so I turned around and to my amazement there were 4 moose standing on the old railway bed munching on the lower branches and twigs that were covered in hoar frost.  The only downside of this rare opportunity was that the sun was right behind the moose which was not the best lighting scenario since I wouldn’t get all the detail of the moose that I was able to get last June as illustrated in a previous post.  Nonetheless, I enjoyed watching and photographing the 4 moose for the next 30 minutes as they foraged away and then wandered down to the frozen wetland in between the highway and the railway bed.  One of the moose stayed by itself happily feeding on a small shrub while the other 3 seemed happy to frolic on the ice.  It appeared to me that 2 males were testing each other pawing at the snow and making false rushes or minor head butts while the cow made some vocalizations.  In the end, the two males ending up eating more shrubbery side by side before heading off into the forest presumably to join the others.  One other issue that looked great in real-time but may not be illustrated so well through the photographs was the falling hoar frost that was releasing from all the trees creating a snowy effect.  I took quite a few images and had time to try a number of different exposure settings.  Despite the poor lighting conditions, I was able to enhance the images in post-processing which I hope will give you an idea of the moose activity.

Algonquin Winter Moose 1Algonquin Winter Moose 2Algonquin Winter Moose 3Algonquin Winter Moose 4Algonquin Winter Moose 5Algonquin Winter Moose 6Algonquin Winter Moose 7Algonquin Winter Moose 8Algonquin Winter Moose 9Algonquin Winter Moose 10Algonquin Winter Moose 11Algonquin Winter Moose 12Algonquin Winter Moose 13Algonquin Winter Moose 14Algonquin Winter Bull Moose 1 Algonquin Winter Bull Moose 2Algonquin Winter Bull Moose single

In the end, yet another successful trip and thanks for stopping by!  I am always interested in your comments so feel free to leave one or two here or on my Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/ArniWorksPhotography

This entry was posted in Birds.

4 Comments

  1. Scott Martin February 5, 2014 at 12:47 am #

    What a treat it must have been to spend so much time with these moose Arni. I really like the rim lighting and everything else about this series and although they are all excellent, I’ve gone back to look at #17 several times.

    • Arni February 5, 2014 at 11:49 am #

      It was a big surprise to see the 4 together and then watch them interact with each other. I’m glad you like the end results, I was wondering how they would turn out given the shooting conditions. Maybe they would look even better processed in Photoshop!

  2. Rob Smith February 5, 2014 at 5:49 am #

    Great shots Mate! Looks like there was a fair bit of animation with these guys and you certainly got some fantastic images considering the light

    • Arni February 5, 2014 at 11:51 am #

      Thanks Rob. It was great to put the camera down for a time and just watch them interact with each other.