How I Got That Shot: Moose calf at the East Gate to Yellowstone

A moose calf wades through a marshy meadow near the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park.

A moose calf wades through a marshy meadow near the East Gate of Yellowstone National Park.

Sometimes, when you spend as much time in Yellowstone National Park as I do, you tend to have blinders on as you drive to get there. That’s a mistake on my part, as I know others have found a lot of great images along the river corridor outside the East Gate and the Sunlight/Crandall area outside the Northeast Gate.

It’s usually dark when I come through the gate, but not always. One thing the valley along the North Fork of the Shoshone River offers that it is harder and harder to find in Yellowstone is moose. Particularly in the spring, when the budding willows are young and tender, I have seen as many as nine moose along that corridor in a single pass.

This particular calf was one of a set of two who were frequently seen with their mother for a week or so near the Pahaska Tepee Resort, located in the Shoshone National Forest, just outside Yellowstone’s East Gate.

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Moose Calf was shot with a Canon EOS 20D using a 500mm lens at f/10, 1/350 sec. and ISO 1600 .

The meadow where a campground used to be, across the road from the restaurant, must be close to moose heaven, because you see them there frequently.

This particular afternoon I waited patiently for the two calves to line so they would be together in the same frame. With my movement limited by the location, I had to wait for them to do it on their own.

They never did, but the light did turn golden as I waited, and the sweet light added depth and interest to this image, not to mention the backlit water dripping from its mouth. It was well worth the wait, even though I never got what I thought I was waiting for!

Meg Sommers is a wildlife and nature photographer who also works as a Yellowstone Park tour guide based in Cody, Wyo. She teaches a wildlife photography course in Yellowstone Park for the Yellowstone Association Institute.

How I Got That Shot takes you behind the scenes to learn how a top Yellowstone or Grand Teton photographer captured a terrific image. If you have a great shot you’d like to share, please send it to [email protected]

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