"Spring Ice under the Milky Way"
TUESDAY, MAY 8, 2018
Grand Portage State Forest, MN
MILKY WAY 4239
So I had this super interesting (and slightly scary) encounter the other night while photographing this scene. I was standing at the end of the short dock on Chester Lake under the glow of the Milky Way in Grand Portage State Forest, MN. As you can see from the photo, it was an incredibly calm night. So calm the stars were reflecting almost perfectly in the water. This meant that I could hear every little noise in the forest.
When I arrived at this location there were a couple of rabbits that were running around in the brush near the shoreline. I saw them in my car headlights when I first pulled up to the boat landing. As I absorbed the scene and planned out my composition I could hear them chasing each other back and forth in the woods. After a while they either got tired or left the area as there was no longer any sound. By then I was making my first exposures and getting my composition dialed in.
By the time I had everything just right, I could once again hear rustling in the woods behind me. Only this time it sounded different. This time it sounded like a much larger animal. I turned and faced the shoreline but it was much too dark to see anything. The noises kept coming closer. I heard a couple of twigs snap, then I could hear the animal breathing. I turned on the soft red light of my headlamp and there was a moose standing there near the edge of the lake, about 30 feet away.
All of a sudden I got very nervous, but I stood still and tried not to make a sound. I turned off my headlamp and the moose turned and started to walk through the brush along the water's edge. It walked right past the end of the dock and through the brush for about another 50 feet along the lakeshore then turned and headed back inland. Once I could hear that the moose was quite a ways away, I let out a sigh of relief and went back to photographing the scene. I never saw or heard it again that night. A little while later when I left to visit another location, I could see its tracks on the gravel road as I drove away from the boat landing. Standing under the glow of the Milky Way in such a beautiful location is special enough, but having a wildlife encounter such as this makes the night even more memorable!
Camera: Nikon D750
Lens: Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
Focal Length: 14mm
Exposure Time: 30 seconds