Shooting for Success: Mooses

Castle Mountain Moose

Moose in the Bow River at Castle Mountain. Image Copyright Tim Reynolds.

Like 90% of my best/favourite images, this one was a case of the right place at the right time.

My friend Linda and I were driving from Lake Louise to Castle Junction, down the Bow Valley Parkway to try and photograph the fresh snowfall on Castle Mountain with the clear blue sky. We had all our camera gear with us, ready, willing and able.

Linda was driving (she owned the car) and as we turned west over the bridge over the Bow River back toward the Trans Canada Highway, I looked north and there they were… a  moose cow and her calf standing in the river.

I was so stunned at our luck all I could do was shout “Moose! Moose! Moose!” Without question, Linda pulled over as soon as we cleared the bridge. We grabbed all our gear and ran, knowing that at any second the opportunity could be lost. As soon as they were within sight, we stopped and shot. Handheld at first and then on tripods when we could reach level-ish ground.

But our luck held. Instead of trundling off into the woods, mama moose simple interposed herself between us and her calf. I should add that we did remember to employ two of the most basic wildlife-stalking techniques used by both hunters and photographers:

  1. Don’t face directly at your prey, avoiding obvious eye contact.
  2. Don’t walk directly at your target, moving in at a variety of angles, so as to look casual and unconcerned.

By doing this, we were able to get right down on the gravel/stone river bank and set up our tripods. We shot carefully and quietly, knowing we had limited film and limited time until someone else wandered along and spooked her.

So, a million-in-one shot, with a rare-for-the-area wildlife, combined with the perfect sky, the dusting of snow and exactly where to get to for the mountain images. It was an easy sell to The Postcard Factory, especially since my first postcard sale was to them.

So, there are many ways to shoot this image, depending on the use.

  1. Shoot wide, getting the famous landmark mountain and moose so that it can sell to the tourist market (what I did).
  2. Shoot tight on the two moose, from river level for possible sale simply as a wildlife shot.
  3. Shoot tight from above, on the bridge, to get a better angle of the calf.
  4. Shoot vertically, with some blue sky on top for the title of the magazine/book. If you crowd the mountain to the top of the image then it could be too cluttered for any print.

Yes, Photoshop & other software can do wonders with images, but if you think it through before you take the shot, you can create opportunities and save yourself some work later on.

Until next week… (SUNSETS, SELF-PORTRAIT, SOMETHING SPIRITUAL)

Ciao for now.

Tim.

Words and Images are Copyright 2009 Tim Reynolds.

You could discover the cure for cancer or the secret of time travel, but if you don’t follow through and do something about it — write it down, record it, put it into action — you’re no closer to Success than you were the day before your ‘discovery’Words.
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