Guided Moose photography workshops as well as guided moose tours are becoming more popular each year. This post attempts to help potential guided moose photography workshop and guided moose tour participants determine the type of experience that best meets their needs and individual goals.
First, it is important to differentiate between the two. A guided Moose Tour can be a three hour tour by van or an all day adventure that focuses on as many Moose sightings as possible and does not include any photography instruction. A guided Moose Photography Workshop on the other hand, generally lasts several days, focuses on photographing Moose and other wildlife at close distances, includes instruction, and may, or may not include local transportation, meals, and lodging in the package price. Some guided Moose Photography Workshops also take advantage of accessing Moose habitats via kayak or pontoon boat. Prices vary considerably between the two.
The time of year to participate in a guided Moose Photography Workshop or Moose Tour should be your first consideration. Moose are most visible in June and early July when they frequent ponds and waterways to feed heavily on aquatic vegetation. Bull Moose are in velvet with their antlers growing as much as an inch a day. Cow Moose give birth in May and June and there is nothing cuter than a cinnamon colored new-born calf.
Fall Moose Photography Workshops and Moose Tours coincide with the annual Moose Rut and while Moose are much more difficult to locate that time of year, it is the only time of the year to observe and photograph Moose displaying courtship behavior. Moose are often elusive in the fall and generally no guarantees are made about sightings for either guided Moose Photography Workshops or Moose Tours at this time of year. However, when you do observe Moose during the moose rut, the Moose interaction can be both fascinating and thrilling.
If you have a few days, we suggest that you participate in a guided Moose Photography Workshop that focuses not only on Moose but also the landscapes and other wildlife that are indigenous to the region. That way, given a few days, you will have a greater chance of success photographing Moose and also have time to photograph other subjects of interest in between Moose sightings.
A well conducted Moose Photography Workshop should offer plenty of instruction and focus on each participant’s individual skill level and their respective goals. A Moose Photography Workshop’s group size should be small to ensure individual instruction and a “front row seat” so to speak, when photographing. An experienced professional Moose Photography Workshop leader, who preferably lives in the area, should be your first choice when differentiating between offerings. They will help you save time and frustration by taking you to the most productive Moose habitats which can change from year to year depending on the availability and quality of the food Moose eat. A local Moose Photography Workshop leader and guide will also be aware of the rules associated with visiting a particular location, have the required permits to conduct business in a particular park, and have permission to access private lands that you may visit.
An experienced Moose Photography Workshop leader will also know their subjects well which will help immensely with the participants success rate. Moose sightings are often time-of-day and weather dependant. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to view Moose as well as most other wildlife. Moose, regardless of the time of year, heat stress at temperatures you and I typically might find a little chilly. If the region experiences a heat wave Moose sightings go way down. Prolonged rains can force Moose out of the ponds and streams due to high water levels. Windy conditions will also have an adverse effect on Moose sightings as high winds impair a Moose’s most important senses needed for survival – hearing and smelling approaching predators. In the fall, Moose are in the woods, generally not in the ponds, and coaxing them out (much like a hunter would do) requires skill.
With 40 plus years of combined experience photographing and observing Moose it has become abundantly clear that like people, Moose each have their own personalities. Some Moose have been habituated to people, are pretty laid-back, and happy to hang about allowing ample time for even the beginner photographer to capture amazing Moose images. Some Moose are even a little gregarious, coming closer to the photographer out of curiosity – almost appearing to pose for the photographer. Other Moose will have no part of a photographer’s presence, or anyone else’s for that matter, and quickly exits the scene.
For those less cooperative Moose, it is important for each Moose photography workshop participant to be able to quickly, confidently, and quietly adjust camera settings and composition. That’s where good instruction comes in. Spending adequate time with each Moose workshop participant ensures they get the most out of the workshop and are prepared to capture a fast moving wildlife subject with ease. For this reason workshop leaders who are not photographing for themselves during a workshop are better able to help participants take their current skills to the next level regardless of the participant’s current expertise.
Unlike a petting zoo, Wildlife Park or even a wildlife safari, a Moose Photography Workshop is different. The biggest difference is that some of the Moose you encounter during a Moose Photography Workshop may have never seen a human. Expect to travel to some remote wildlife habitats. A good tour leader will scout extensively for Moose and animal sign prior to the Moose Photography Workshop start date and will be happy to share the not so well known “secret spots” the area has to offer.
Finally, check out the testimonials associated with the Moose Photography Workshop or Moose Tour you are interested in. Often times they can be helpful in determining if past participants were happy with the experience. If the workshop includes meals or lodging in the pricing, dig a little deeper and read the respective establishments reviews on Trip Advisor. Often times it will quickly become evident that differences in quality exist.
We hope this information was helpful and that you consider joining one of our professionally guided Moose Photography Workshops, now in their 11th year! Our 4-day, all-inclusive Moose Photography Workshops are like mini vacations and include expert photography instruction, transportation (once you arrive at our location), kayak rental, pontoon boat reservation, Registered Maine Guide, as well as upscale lodging and meals. Be prepared to be pampered! With spectacular views of Katahdin, Maine’s tallest mountain, our host resort boast luxury North Woods style shared cabins and wonderful food in quantities that mirror the appetites of log driver’s from a bye gone era.
We hope to see you in the woods, Mark and Anita