Encouters With Not-So-Scary Beasts-by Chip Phillips
While every photographer knows that he or she must take precautions to avoid dangerous animals in the wild, many animals encounters are not so much threatening as they are humorous. Animals sometimes get in the way and can be frightening, but for the most part they can really enhance the experience.
There have been numerous times when I have been startled by very non-threatening animals. Like the one time I was snowshoeing in the Palouse, and this furry, spiny creature comes running out of the bushes right at me. At first I gasped, then took a second look, and saw that it was a giant porcupine. And, it was NOT scared of me. It just stood there, a few feet away from me, and turned around with his back to me. Or, the time when I was standing up on Steptoe Butte in the middle of winter, listening to my Ipod, waiting for the light to change, and this gigantic moose, from out of nowhere, walks right be me, about 10 feet away. It was as if he wasn’t fazed at all be my presence. My heart skipped a beat, and all I said was “holy $#!+!!”. One time I was driving in Glacier in the fall on a wooded area of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and this huge black bear comes charging out of the bushes, runs right in front of my car, and then starts running directly in front of the car for a good mile or so, at about 15-20 MPH. It was as if the bear was desperately trying to escape me, but it had never occurred to it to veer off into the brush on the left or the right. Same thing happened with a moose in the Tetons. I was driving along at dawn, and came up to a moose in the middle of the road. I came to a stop, and the moose started slowly running, but not off to the side, directly in front of me, for a good 10 min. or so. I followed patiently behind, leaving a respectful distance, until the creature finally realized that by changing course, it could lose the giant metal beast following it. While these encounters later made me laugh, it bears mentioning that a moose can actually be quite dangerous–particularly a mother protecting her baby.
Well, that’s it for now. I’ll leave you with an image that’s an example of the fact that while wildlife couldn’t care less about the shot your composing, sometimes it all works out.
Can you find it? (I think you can see it better in this vertical)