The third day of the trip held many more positive experiences. While we spent some time cleaning the camp and went to pick up Sam from the Jackson Hole airport, on our way back, we saw a female moose grazing near the entrance of the campground.
Joey and I grabbed our gear and ran over to the entrance to grab some photographs of the beast. She was calm and kept her distance. Thankfully, she didn’t seem to be a mother, which meant that there were no cubs to protect and no male to attack. She was just doing her thing eating some leaves.
I shot an excessive number of images of the moose. It’s quite funny to me how a landscape photographer who only shoots two or three photos of one scene and call it a day can end up shooting hundreds of photographs of one animal within twenty minutes.
I was using my 70-200 with a 2x extender on it, bringing the f-stop down to f/8 at its largest. While that may seem non-ideal for wildlife photography, f/8 is actually quite suitable for daylight wildlife photography. The depth of field is quite pleasing at the distance I was from my subject, and kept all of her face in focus while blurring out the background nicely.
While I have this extremely positive experience shooting this beautiful moose, I can’t help but feel that this doesn’t represent me. I’m not a wildlife photographer, and I don’t think I ever will be. I enjoyed every second of this experience, and those later wildlife encounters to come in the trip. I just can’t see myself represented in these images, and that’s why this particular photograph didn’t make the cut.
The lesson I learned from this image wasn’t technical or formal. It was more personal.
Take the opportunities to photograph what you aren’t used to. You will always get something out of it, even if you don’t end up using the images. But after the shoot is done, and you’ve edited the images, really consider what the images say about you as an artist, and if they resonate with your artistic philosophy, present them to the world proudly.