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Winter Romance

Canadian Rocky Mountains

I had spent many days in the Kananaskis area of Alberta, known for its many moose. I had been in a meadow photographing this bull moose and another one as well. This meadow has a natural salt lick which attracts the moose. Cows had been hanging around there and it was rutting season, so it drew in the bulls as well. The rest of the year, the bulls tend to be more reclusive. It was great for photography, with lots of interesting behaviours and interactions, but the setting had been rather brown, which didn't allow the moose to stand out. It was lacking something. As I left, I wished for snow to create the perfect backdrop. I woke up the next morning and it was raining and sleeting in Canmore. I was pretty sure that would mean snow at higher elevations, so I raced back to this meadow. I found snow, but no moose. They obviously didn't get the memo that the conditions were now perfect and that the photography would be amazing! I sat on the edge of the meadow and waited. I was getting a little worried that the snow would melt before the moose showed up. Then, in the distance, I heard a cow call. I suspected something would happen, and sure enough, within five minutes I could hear a bull approaching in the trees behind me, answering with his deeper call. Bull moose can be quite dangerous, and as he emerged from the trees about 20 metres away, I felt a little nervous, so I talked to him softly. However, he was focused on the female and it became a true love story. She'd walk a hundred metres closer, back and forth, until they met in the middle of this idyllic winter scene. I wasn't sure what the bull's next move would be, but he got behind her and they walked off into the forest together, where he would defend her from other competing males. 

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