Moose

Forest portraits of a Bragg Creek moose

Moose profile - © Christopher Martin-7302

When the mother and calf had retreated into the woods, this moose remained in the meadow and kept grazing.

On the down low - © Christopher Martin-7657-2

When she moved into a stand of brambles, I used larger apertures to minimize the depth of field to separate her head from the branches in the foreground and background.

Winter moose - © Christopher Martin-7580

The shallow plane of focus and a black and white conversion worked well for this image below.

In the brambles - © Christopher Martin-7372


It’s cold and the moose are out

Running around - © Christopher Martin-7167

The moose around Bragg Creek, and elsewhere I would imagine, like the cold.  When the thermometer drops below zero, they seem to come out.  The colder, the better.  This weekend we have stayed below -20°C and I found moose in a few different places around West Bragg Creek.

Breakfast together - © Christopher Martin-7150

I got to spend an hour with a small herd of three cows and one calf.  They were pretty docile, grazing on slender, red branches for much of the morning.  They moved together and apart between stands of these branches and more open meadow.  The young one played a little bit, running between mother and minders a couple of times.

Winter moose - © Christopher Martin-6857

Winter moose calf - © Christopher Martin-7128-2

In the thick of it - © Christopher Martin-7194

What's that? - © Christopher Martin-7215


Moose Travels

These two moose crossed a farm field moving towards the heavier woods of Kananaskis, west of Bragg Creek.  The mother kept up a brisk trot but the calf seemed untroubled by the pace.    She came towards me across the field and then joined a path that crossed a low point in the fence a hundred feet in front of me.  On the road they paused for a second and then hiked up into the forest.


Moose Crossing

(please click on the image for a more detailed version)

A young moose surprised me when I was out looking for owls along the fence posts in West Bragg Creek.  It slipped under some barbed wire which was the commotion that caught my eye and then jumped up onto the road.  Here it was trotting to the other side and disappeared a couple of seconds later.  I saw its mother through the bushes looking back towards the road.  After a few more seconds, the little one drew up alongside and the two walked deeper into the woods.


Wildlife in Bragg Creek this spring

I put together a portfolio of wildlife that I have photographed in Bragg Creek so far this spring and just published it to my Portfolios page.

(Click on the image to go to the slide show directly)

This was for a client’s review of local wildlife images for some prints they are interested in and I thought I would put it up on my website as well.  Reviewing the images from the past couple of months has served as a reminder of what a great season it has been to date.  There are a couple of weeks left in some areas around so I’m excited to see what else let’s me take its photograph.


Sharing spring with the moose

 

The last few mornings I have been driving the backroads in West Bragg Creek looking for moose.  With the days warming up, their winter coats are being shed and I like the parallels between these sleek summer hides being revealed and the rapidly growing buds and leaves.  The energetic growth of spring has my attention firmly in its grasp.  I have had a few really nice encounters where we watched each other for a few minutes and I was able to photograph them in interesting spots.  The moose above took a shortcut between two paths which gave me an opportunity to photograph him surrounded by the branches.

The antlers of the bull above are just starting to push out and you can see the dark coat where the shaggy winter hair has worn away.  I hope I can photograph this moose later in the year when he’s at his most impressive.

This is the same moose as in the first image.  I liked how all his hooves are in the air and he seems to be skipping across the road.  Definitely my imagination taking a flight of fancy but still nice.  I was disappointed to see his ears back as that likely meant I had made him uncomfortable.  It happens but I try hard to avoid that.

 

 


Kananaskis Wildlife: Moose on the edge

After following the deer around for a little while, I walked back to the car and continued driving along the back roads that skirt between West Bragg Creek and Kananaskis.  I went by a thicket beside a pasture thinking I would photograph the horses there for a few minutes.  Instead, I found a moose stripping branches near the road.

She watched me for a minute, then continued moving through the meadow snacking along the way.

She wandered towards the frozen creek and then turned west and leapt over a fence before crossing the road and meandering into the edge of the forest where I lost sight of her.


Bragg Creek Wildlife – Moose Run

Last weekend I was touring around Bragg Creek’s back roads in the morning looking for wildlife.  I did not have any close encounters but had this great moment where I watched this moose dash across the meadow and into the dormant forest.  Moose have a grace of movement that you wouldn’t expect from a huge animal.  With the mild winter so far, the grass hasn’t been blanketed by snow which allowed this bull to keep a fast pace and he was gone in a few seconds up a slope that would have taken me a few minutes.


Kananaskis Wildlife: Two Bull Moose

Hiking west of Bragg Creek last weekend I ended up in a meadow that was a mix of evergreen trees and waist-high wild grasses.  Navigating this open field is much easier in the winter with the frozen ground and there are all manner of animals trails to follow.  It was one of these that led me to this incredible bull moose who was grazing beside a large stand of trees.  I noticed him from a distance and then slowly moved closer under his occasional glance.

I was quite surprised when, as I moved around the trees to get a better view of the whole animal, I saw a second bull.  I often see female moose and calves in groups of 2-10 but I can’t think of a time outside of the rut when I’ve seen two bulls together.

As I watched them, they seemed very comfortable and were not intimidating one another.  I was fascinated and really enjoyed studying them interacting.  I stayed with them for about half an hour and I came away with the impression that they acted like brothers.  One, the first one I saw, had the larger rack and acted like the big brother.  Both were beautiful creatures.  I’m always happy to see healthy bulls as it means good things for the local population in general.

This encounter came about an hour after photographing a mother and baby moose a few miles away so it was a great morning in K-Country.  Much more for me to learn about these beautiful animals.  I love the opportunities I have to do that with them in their natural surroundings.  I rarely forget how lucky I am.

 


Kananaskis Wildlife: Mother and young moose grazing near Bragg Creek

Before the sun rose yesterday, I was driving in West Bragg Creek on one of the dirt roads that skirts Kananaskis.  Looking for wildlife, I noticed a moose in the trees.

I stopped and after a few minutes she walked towards me and into the clearing, then I noticed the calf come out of the forest as well.

There were some branches that she had her eye on and they both stared at me for a minute and then wandered towards the stand for breakfast.  They both appeared to be in good health, the late winter has helped the grazing animals with a little more time to store food.


Kananaskis Moose: Cow and Calf

I was in Kananaskis for the sunrise on Mount Kidd above Wedge Pond on the weekend.  I finished the landscape photography by 7:30 and then headed along Highway 40 up towards the Highwood Pass to enjoy the beautiful drive and keep an eye out for wildlife.  Just after  the summit this cow and her calf were grazing on the edge of the forest.

I pulled over and stayed with them for about half an hour.  One of the beautiful things of Kananaskis is that it has nowhere near the volume of traffic as Alberta’s neighbouring National Parks.  There are rarely bear jams on the road and when you find wildlife, there isn’t the frenzy of crowds agitating the animals.  So, with these two beautiful moose, I was able to share time and enjoy watching them.

Earlier at Wedge Pond, I met a fellow photographer, Chuck Kling, visiting from Montreal with his wife.  We met again at these moose and it was fun to share that moment.  They come to photograph wildlife in Alberta frequently, a good reminder how nice it is to live in these parts.


Spending the morning with moose

On Sunday morning I went into West Bragg to look or wildlife along the backroads and a few trails.  When I got to Wild Rose, there was a moose cow halfway up a driveway.  I didn’t have a good angle but it was nice to watch it eating branches for a few minutes.  While I was waiting to see if she would walk into a better position, another moose walked into another stand of branches that was much closer to me.  About 20 meters away!  She didn’t seem bothered by me so I set about photographing my new friend.

After about half an hour, her curiosity got the best of her as she walked out of the bushes, onto the driveway and walked towards me.  I stepped back towards the rear of my car and she walked around the front.

She snacked on a small group of brambles right beside where I had parked my car for a couple of minutes and then retraced her path back up the driveway.

She stopped at a few branches as she walked up the rise and then laid down on the lawn in the snow. 

I took this last picture before I left her to relax.  I hope spring comes soon so that all of the wildlife get to forage on some greenery.  I think this winter’s early start, cold spells and deep snow have taken a toll on their reserves.