Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Saturday, September 25, 2010

In Search Of The Elusive Perfect Picture


They're something of an ungainly beast, in the eyes of some. Not so much to me. They're the symbol of the great northern woods, a noble animal, a powerful animal, and (for the most part) a fairly easy animal to get along with.

I've taken many a picture of them, and I've been close to them. In the paradise otherwise known as Algonquin Park, seeing moose near the road is practically guaranteed in April and May, when they're often found near the roads simply for the road salt that might be found after a winter's snow has gone. They need the salt, and with their usual source not growing until June, that's their alternative.

So as you're driving through the Park, you're likely to see them, even at other times of the year. If you see a car at the side of the road, slow down, because odds are there's a moose in a clearing or a marsh, and you might get a good view of them. In addition, these animals seem used to people parking along the road, pointing and taking pictures. When they've had enough, they simply head off into the woods, but as long as you give them their space, they're surprisingly patient with the tourists.

Now before this turns into an ad for Algonquin (I'm expecting the residuals anytime soon, in case the Park is reading), let me come to my point. As I said, I've taken many pictures of moose during visits to the family homestead. Some years ago, I had myself quite a memorable time doing so once again.

There they were, in a grove of trees along the road. A mother and a yearling. It was April, and they were serenely foraging the ground. Me being me, I had to take pictures. With a trusty film camera, at that. I moved into the grove, very carefully, very quietly. The mother knew I was there, of course. I took great care to give them their space, and to always make sure the mother was between the yearling and myself. I took pictures. Choosing angles, moving about quietly, doing my best not to disturb them. I like being choosy as to photography: selecting lighting conditions, considering possibilities, wondering how the final shot will look. I was doing all of that while I slowly moved, taking pictures of the pair, painstakingly capturing their image for posterity. In the end, I shot a whole roll of film, over a period of about a half hour, before the mother and the yearling moved on.

I was immensely pleased with myself. I knew these shots would be outstanding. I had gotten as close to a mother moose and her young one as I'd ever get. I returned to the waiting car, thinking of getting the film developed....

...and then I got a close look at the camera. It was empty. There was no film inside.

Damn. Double damn!
Note to self: never leave home without film.

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