The harvest moon is one of my least favorite full moons, it means that the warm weather is coming to an end. But with the nice weather I still went out and did some pictures of it last night. I first planned my shoot using The Photographer’s Ephemeris to see where the moon would rise. For some reason it was way off and I ended up in an area that did not work. Not a big deal as the clouds were covering the first part of the rise so I relocated to get the moon as it was coming out of the low clouds.
I have shot a lot of full moons and I get bored with the same old shots. So I knew that I wanted to play with this moon in a different way.
The first shot that I wanted to do would not work without some help from editing. I wanted to do a shot of the moon rising over a local grain terminal. I also wanted it to be a grainy shot, more like a painting then a photograph. So I shot the elevators 10 minutes before the moon rise. Then I shot the moon as it came up and put them together. I use to do this type of shot years ago with film and it was a pain!! With digital it is so much easier.
The next set of shots I did not plan out. I wanted something out of the ordinary with the moon. After relocating to a second location I found what I wanted. I call these shots building a full moon as the moon was not completely full at this time. Plus it looks like a construction site.
I was in Waterton on the hunt for some birds. So far the day was pretty productive but there was still a lot of daylight remaining and I wanted to get some more pictures. I decided that I would stop at one of my favorite spots. Maskinonge is located just outside the Waterton Park gates and I find a lot of birds pass through here. I parked my van the White Turtle II in my favorite spot. I came across the usual birds as soon as I arrived, a mix of song birds, a Heron, a couple Trumpeter swans and a number of ducks.
The hunter becomes the hunted
I was enjoying taking their pictures but the birds seemed nervous. I spotted a couple hawks and an eagle across the lake and even they seemed nervous. Then the hair on the back of my neck stood up. I heard a noise a ways away, but close enough that I turned towards the noise. It was like I was being watched. I reached down to make sure that the pepper spray was still on my belt and wondered if I needed it if it would still work. I looked around but could not see anything but I felt it, then I spotted it.
Hidden on the ground behind some trees it could survey the entire lake. It was not close enough to pounce on me but it wasn’t that far away. I tried to get a better angle to get a picture but it was well hidden in the trees. I did not want to approach to close as the closer I got the worse the angle would be to get a picture. Also the closer I got the more chance that I would get injured should it get spooked.
A good perch for the hunt!
I finally found a spot that I was in the open but a ways away. I watched it for a while but it did not seem like it was in any hurry. By its size I could only imagine what it was like when dinosaurs roamed this area. It was HUGE!!!! I also realized what it must have been like to be hunted by a Pterodactyl.
After watching it for several minutes I figured that it must be asleep as it had not moved since i spotted it. I then took some pictures of the birds in the area that were also confused by this massive invader in their wetlands. They would go about their routine but they were keeping a close eye on it.
After about 20 minutes of photographing the birds I heard another noise. It was getting ready to move. Before I could turn my body it was starting to rise behind the trees. Then without warning it put it’s nose down and started coming towards me. I had fortunately left enough space so that I had time to react. I swung my camera around and grabbed a few shots, not even thinking about the bear spay on my belt.
Before I knew it it was looming over me. As it went past I noticed that all the birds in the area were taking off and seeking cover. It headed west towards the river then it turned to the north. As fast as all that happened it was again quiet. The lake was now empty of birds but it would only be a short time till they came out from hiding and flew back from their hiding places.
Well they say that any time you survive an adventure it is a good one. I had survived!! I realized that I was now getting hungry and it was getting late so I decided that I would head to the campground for supper. A good day it was, a number of great images and an experience that I have not had in Waterton before!!
What you see when you slow down!! I was out for a walk the other night at Belly River Campground in Waterton Lakes National Park. I have to walk slowly with my lung condition and this night was no different with the heat and humidity. As I stopped to catch my breath I could hear something in the tree beside me. It was a gentle noise like a light breeze but I could hear something in the tree. I stood still for a minute then this little guy appeared in front of my face, He had been checking me out as I stood there and had decided that I was no danger. Probably because of my wheezing he figured he could outrun me 🙂 🙂 . So he continued with his feeding. I was able to shoot a pile of images, the only thing that caused me to stop shooting was the horde of mosquitoes that showed up and the fact I left the bug spray in the van.
So the next time you are out shooting, don’t be in a rush. Slow down and see all the things that you would miss if you were rushing past.
I like the scenery in Waterton but I like Waterton wildlife even more!! There are so many animals to photograph!!
Some days it can be frustrating as you can search and wait and nothing appears. Other days you cannot turn around without finding something to photograph.
The last couple of trips there has been a lot of animals to photograph. Waterton wildlife has been out in force this spring!!!
Early this spring I saw more moose in three days then I have seen in Waterton the entire 40 years I have been going there. It seemed that the moose decided all at once to venture out and about.
The birds have also been out in abundance. Many I did not even photograph as I was enjoying watching them. Cranes up around Belly river and a pair down along the entrance road.
Hawks and eagles like crazy all over the park.
Lots of song birds and even birds that just wanted to have a conversation with you like a Grey Jay up at Belly River that was having a good conversation with me.
I have also seen a couple foxes this spring. They were in a two different parts of the park. I have never seen foxes in these areas before. Since the fire animals have ventured out from their familiar surroundings and the foxes were a long way from the usual places I see them. I think this may be due to the fact that their prey have been able to expand their range as well.
Bears are also out in force. In one area I saw four bears. They seemed comfortable with each other and with the people around. Years ago I heard a talk from Andy Russel about bears. He said when the food supply is abundant bears will hang out with each other with no issues. So if that is true the food supply must be abundant this year.
Even insects can make good subjects, especially when they are busy eating.
I love Waterton Park!!! Get me started on the management of the park and you will not be able to stop me as I truly want Waterton protected for the future!. I think Waterton is perfect in so many ways. Now ask me what I think in the dead of winter when the wind will not stop blowing and the snow keeps drifting and I may say something else but that is all part of Waterton.
On amazing days there is no place any better than Waterton! Saturday morning was one of those times. I was suppose to teach a class in Waterton on Saturday morning. Just before they confirmed the class I agreed to head out to Yoho for a shoot. Then the Yoho shoot got postponed as the parkway was not open yet. So I headed to Waterton on Saturday to see what was out and about. It started raining sometime in the early morning on Sunday and got harder and harder all night. Sometime around 4 I got up for a drink and I realized that I had a window open and the rain had been hitting that window. Closed the window and went back to sleep and listened to the rain on the roof. Around 6 I woke up to still more rain. I thought if it was raining I may as well stay in bed. Woke up again at 7 and the rain had stopped and some sun had started to peak out. Got up and headed out to shoot! WOW what a morning!!! No wind, the clouds were breaking up and the sun was starting to poke through.
Where to go???
The only problem with a morning like this is where to go, there are SOOOOO many places that you want to go to when it is perfect out. After a drive up to the lookout just before the border on Chief Mountain Highway I headed back towards the town site. I passed a number of good photo opportunities as I had some ideas in my mind what I wanted to shoot. As I got closer to the town site I made up my mind. I turned off the road to a lookout over the valley that I have always wanted to use. Today was that day!!! Got up to the lookout only to run into a couple bears. So much for getting out here. A few pictures of them then to location two, Driftwood beach.
The weather was still perfect so I got a amazing shot of the POW. Some days it is just a perfect place to work at!!!
When I am trying to do some work on the van and a Goldfinch shows up I have to take a break and take some pictures. I have seen Goldfinches in the river bottom in Lethbridge. This one must have heard about the amazing food that we have and decided to do a road trip for lunch. Of course I had to sneak into the house to take some pictures. I always have the 150 – 600 Sigma ready to go on the 70D body. So I grabbed that set-up and shot off a few pictures before I had to get back to work.
He was a very cooperative subject and I got some great images. One question that I am asked about shooting birds in your backyard is how do I do it?
Do I have windows without screens on them?
Do I open windows to shoot?
Well it is yes and no. I try and remove the screen from the window and quietly open the window. But many times if I do that I scare the birds away. If they are at the back of the yard I will try and open the window. If they are close to the window I will shoot through the window. All these pictures are shot through the closed window. I do not shoot through the screen part of the window. Fortunately for me half of the window is screen. The rest is glass. So I can shoot from any window and use the non glass part.