I am not a wildlife photographer


Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy nature and all of her bounty, but when it comes to making photographs of wild animals, I just don’t have much experience (or the gear). So when a young moose cow wandered out from the woods while we were enjoying a gorgeous afternoon picnic at Sandy Stream Pond in Baxter State Park, I felt a little out of my depth.

Luckily I had my 70-200mm f4 lens with me, but if ever I was going to have the need for a longer lens, then this would have been the day. I bumped my iso up and opened up the aperture so that I could get a decently quick shutter speed – it wasn’t that the moose was moving fast – quite the contrary – but rather because I was hand holding a relatively heavy camera and longish lens, and I wanted to be able to get a decently sharp photograph without camera shake.

We watched this beauty sunning herself on the edge of the pond for about 10 minutes before she deemed it safe to venture out into the cooler water. There were huge numbers of flies buzzing around her, and I cannot imagine the relief she must have felt when she first dunked her head under the water.

She would stay underwater for about 20 seconds at a time, surfacing with a mouthful of some kind of weed that she obviously enjoyed eating. The local ranger newsletter said that moose can eat up to 100lbs of food per day, and as we marveled at how our moose foraged on the pond floor, it wasn’t hard to see how she might meet that target. Isn’t she a beauty?


How to beat the heat


Just ask the Dallas Mavericks… ba-boom!

Seriously, the weather lately has been absolutely stifling, and although here in Maine we aren’t dealing with the ridiculously high temperatures that seem to be spread all across the rest of the country, it is still hot… especially since air conditioning is somewhat of an after-thought in these parts.

We decided to head north to Baxter State Park and the home of Katahdin, the tallest mountain in Maine, to see if we could beat the heat. The number of vehicles allowed to enter the park is limited, but we were lucky enough to snag one of the last 3-hour “Moose” permits, and before long we were in the shadow of Katahdin exploring the bogwalks along the edge of Sandy Stream Pond.

The temperatures were definitely more civilized than back home, and a picnic lunch with a cool lake breeze made for the perfect afternoon relaxing on “the big rock” on the western end of the pond. I was doing my photographer thing facing the wrong direction when Jack got all excited and hurried over to tell me that a moose had just wandered out of the woods and was standing on the edge of the pond behind me. Judging by how hot she looked, and by the huge number of flies chomping on her, she was obviously there for the same reason we were!

More of this beauty tomorrow…