I took this photograph at Schwabacher Landing, which is located on the east shore of the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park.
The campground where I was staying is 40 km. north of Schwabacher, and because I was aware that my chances of seeing large mammals were greater in the earliest hours of the day, I got up at 4:00 a.m. in order to arrive before day break.
When I got there I walked along the river looking for the right place to set up my tripod. I was mesmerized by the mountain range and its reflection in the calm water as the early morning light began to illuminate it.
Seemingly out of nowhere a moose appeared with her calf. As she descended to cross the river, the calf hesitated on the bank, then reluctantly followed.
I was excited, my heart pounding, knowing I had only a few seconds to capture the scene before they reached the other shore. I kept as still as possible to avoid disturbing them, and because I knew that a mother moose can become very aggressive if she feels her calf is in danger. As fast and quietly as I could I set the exposure in manual mode and framed my composition to showcase these majestic animals before they left the water. This was a breathtaking moment I will never forget.
Moose are the largest members of the deer family, but unlike other species they are usually seen alone, except for the time when the mothers are with their calves. A male calf stays with his mother for about eighteen months, until she’s ready to mate again, at which time the young bull is chased away. Female calves are not chased away by their mothers and stay for years until they finally wander away.
Only male moose have antlers, which they lose every winter and begin to grow again in spring. They will later use them during the mating season in autumn, when they compete for females, sometimes engaging in fierce fights. Unlike deer, moose are not afraid of people and and will defend their territory if they feel threatened. Although they seem calm and slow, they can run up to 50km/h.
Location: Schwabacher Landing, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA. On the east shore of the Snake River, 5 miles North from the park's main headquarters.
Nikon D800 + 50mm f1.8 lens; 1/50 sec at f8; ISO100. Gitzo tripod + RRS ballhead.