The Moose Chronicles – Sunrise Surprise

Bulls in a Lake at Sunrise.

Today’s photo is a rewind to July 28th, 2014 at 6:55 am while hosting a workshop.

By late July, the bull’s antlers are beginning to develop nicely. They will have another month or so to continue growing before they shed their velvet, normally around the first week of September, which is also when hunting season starts in Colorado. I have to knock off taking folks into the moose habitat when the hunting begins, as I don’t want to make things any more dangerous than it already is. Moose hormones begin stewing in August and pre-rut behavior is already manifesting itself in the moose population.

Even though there are normally quite a few moose in the vicinity of my cabin in Red Feathers, when I’m taking others out to photograph moose it normally requires an hour of driving to get to the good stuff. That means we have to get up early, well before sunrise in order to be on the moose at first light, which is normally the best time to find them. The early bird gets the worm so it’s said. Over the years, I could usually get two group trips on the schedule each year. They are busy weeks, and tiring.

This particular morning was memorable for the fact that we had at least 7 moose in this lake at sunrise. Some near us, some on the far side of the lake. A photographic moose bonanza. This type of luck doesn’t happen often.

I recall us walking down a steep hillside littered with dead-fall in the dark this particular morning. As we neared the bank of the lake, there was a large bull standing in the trees just to our left. We walked right by him in the dark. He grunted at us but was otherwise not too bothered by our presence. We set up our gear and he eventually strolled out into the water in front of us. We had a lake full of moose that morning.

One of the interesting things about this particular trip was the fact that there was a logging operation going on along the road near this lake. Lots of heavy machinery, noise and dust, but the moose didn’t seem to mind.

Today’s photograph was made with a Canon EOS 7D and a EF 400mm f/5.6L lens. These particular moose were at least 100 yards from us on the far side of the lake.

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve taken groups out into the Northern Colorado wilderness, but this particular trip was memorable for the good company, great moose action and great weather. It set a standard for all my future group outings.