Thursday, October 6, 2011

Moose pair in the sagebrush, Grand Teton National Park

The moose pair emerges - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

Our moose encounters in Grand Teton National Park were one of the highlights of our entire road trip. It was amazing to see these huge animals up close, and I'm really excited that we were able to find them feeding in the sagebrush on a few occasions. This post is a series of four photos of a pair of moose that we watched on our final morning in the park. We started the day by finding them off in the middle of the sagebrush at dawn, but they slowly worked their way closer to us in the morning light.

Pair of moose in the morning - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

We were there just before the start of the rutting season, so most of the bulls we saw still had velvet on their antlers. However, on our last morning there we caught this bull with mostly clean antlers (you can see a bit of velvet still hanging down by his face in these shots). He was clearly still a bit itchy, and he spent a fair amount of time scratching on any solid object he could find. I was so amazed at how large these animals really are, and they really are a sight to behold. I know it looks like he's aggressively coming at me in the frame below, but he was just interested in feeding in that brighter patch of vegetation.

Moose coming my way - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

Unfortunately, for a lot of the shots on this trip (including many of the shots from our encounter with this pair) I really had to jack up the ISO, which introduced quite a bit of noise. It was a tricky trip in that regard, with a lot of shooting right near dawn and before the sun had made it over the mountains. It's a delicate balance with my gear, confounded by the fact that the low-light conditions challenges the autofocus on my lens (f/6.3 at 500mm), but I decided that I'd rather have a chance for sharp shots with noise instead of blurry shots due to slower shutter speeds with less sensor noise. Overall it seemed to work out ok, but the amount of shots that I've culled due to technical quality does speak volumes to what having a faster long-lens would allow you to do.

Moose feeding in sagebrush - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

View more photos of these impressive animals in my new Moose Gallery.

7 comments:

  1. these are gorgeous! LOVE the sagebrush tones to all of these!

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  3. Where is that 10,000$ lens when ya need it! I Feel ya pain, but we make the beast of it and you sure did! Isn't that place just magical?? What a specimin. I tell ya those antlers look familiar :-)

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  4. Your pictures are wonderful. They remind me of getting way to close, foolishly so, to photograph a large female moose while in Yellowstone 35 some years ago. But I was just in my 20's then so I can't be faulted for doing stupid things at that time.

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  5. What lovely atmosphere you captured, its a beast of a bully

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  6. Absolutely stunning photography and beautiful animals!

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  7. What an impressive animal, the last shot is wonderfull ;)

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