What would be the radical experiences to capture morning photos of the sunrise at a place called Silver Lake at Brighton Utah, 8000 feet above sea level?
I never thought the term wildlife and landscape photographer would describe me but after an encounter with a young bull moose. I can say it applies.
As I stood with a jacket, cap, long pants, hiking boots and no gloves holding on to my monopod attached to my 35 mm camera, my first radical dilemma was overcoming the 31-degrees temperature, my hands had not experienced in five or more years.
The beauty of the surrounding mountains was incredible as the sun began to shine on the mountain tops. Luckily I was able to photograph a young bull moose and its mate, a young cow.
I took the trail around Silver Lake to get a better photo since I was about a tenth of a mile away. As I began along the trail, I could see the cow starting to swim across the lake.
I stopped at a floating dock when the young bull moose started following across also. In my excitement to capture photos and video, I captured the following photos from a floating dock in the lake twenty yards from shore.
The young bull moose swimming across the lake was thirty yards from the dock.
Because of my years of tactical training, I was aware my photo opportunity location was not secure if the moose exited the water and began walking along the trail in my direction and my only escape path away, was from the floating dock back to the hiking path.
I walk out to the path to a more secure location behind a tree, to capture the moose walk across the hiking trail.
The assumption, of the moose crossing over the path, was the fatal flaw in my decision as I stood behind cover and concealment, a tree large enough to stop his advance with his large antlers.
However, as the moose emerged from the water, he stepped onto the trail and began walking towards me.
Now, my adventurous spirit to capture the photo was quickly overridden by the tactical wisdom of a mature adult to get to a location, anywhere other than the twenty yards separating us.
I took two photos because I thought three would be like a strike out if he closed the distance on me as I walked away quickly, quietly in hurried steps.
Walking away, I looked for large trees to hide behind if he began to follow. Every tree along the trail was, too small in diameter, and the largest tree was laying on the ground dead.
Now the thought “dead” crossed my mind causing me to hurry even more when I came across mature women walking in the opposite direction.
I told her of my encounter, and she explained she lived in the area and was aware of the young moose and his mate. As I walked away, my thoughts of knowing she wore tennis shoes and seemed fit enough to dodge the young moose if he came at her made me feel slightly better as continued.
I also considered her as a barrier between the moose and me if he was walking along the trail. I quickly thought I need only to outrun her, with fear in my hiking boots, I was confident, I could.
I came across another morning photographer who witnessed me from his position and was happy to know I was ok.
After we had talked, I became concerned for the woman, and I wanted to know where the young moose went? So, hoping to get some more photos. Yes, I started back along the trail when I came upon the woman standing off to the side of the trail in the trees attempting to see the moose herself.
As we talked, she explained she had seen the couple many times before, and the location we were standing was where they sometimes laid during the night. Now, her last statement caused me to reconsider my place and move to another.
I thought of how radical my thoughts were to capture the photo of a young bull moose standing less than twenty yards from me on my first morning at Silver Lake.