Friday, September 17, 2010

Sis Stream (Near Alagash Lake)

Photographing moose from a boat gives a photographer a unique perspective and can allow you to get original
photographs of these often photographed subjects. I have a few stages of moose photography.

1. Brain dead! A Moose - get a shot! These never come out but you have the shot for a record.
2. Where is the light and what is the background? In a boat I can move the boat for both questions.
3. How close or far away do I want to be? My goal used to be only to get close. Now the goal is to show the moose in her environment. This is difficult when shooting a moose in the road. A boat allows you to have a good background.

Some types of watercraft are better suited for photography than others, but just about any boat can work. My favorite boat for on the water photography is a 8 foot kayak. Kayaks ride low in the water and have a low center of gravity, making them ideal for photographing a moose and using heavy, somewhat awkward telephoto lenses. Since they are self propelled, they allow you to sneak up on shy and skittish wildlife slowly and quietly, as well as adjust your
position in the water for the best angle. Canoes are also good for photography, but are larger and are hard to hold steady. They don’t allow low angles but if a moose is on a bank they do allow a higher angle. They also have more room. I keep thinking I need an electric motor. I will let you know how it works when Santa gives it to me.

Your camera will also need some protection as well. If traveling in a smaller boat that can possibly tip or flood,you will definitely want a waterproof case for all your gear. I usually keep my photo gear in a roll top dry bag from Beans. I leave the dry bag open when photographing on calm water, but seal the top whenever I am getting in or out of my boat, or when the splash from the paddle might get on the cameras.

Often I wear my fishing waders so I can get out of the boat. I bring my tripod. I always use the tripod in a canoe. Sometimes in the kayak. Often if the bottom is not too mucky I take record shots in stage 1 and then get out of the boat with my tripod for stage 2. I have sat on the outside of my kayak in shallow water with the tripod in the pond and blood suckers swimming at my feet. (Why I now use fishing waders) Moose are skittish but when they are feeding they watch and continue to feed. Move easy and you will get your shot.

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