UPDATED: April 7, 2016
Remember how much you loved the zoo as a kid? How much fun it was to see all sorts of animals, up close and personal? In urban areas, the zoo is usually the only way to see wildlife.
Thankfully that’s not the case in Breckenridge. Particularly during the spring, summer and fall, there are all sorts of wildlife. But, how do you take a picture of these animals? It’s not like you can pull the car over and ask that moose, fox, or goose to stop and pose for a picture, can you?
With a little planning and perseverance, you might just get lucky and capture that photo op with a four-legged or feathered friend. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Start with an extra helping of common sense
They’re called wildlife for a reason….drumroll please…..they are WILD animals. They aren’t pets. That means you don’t feed them, get too close to them, try to pet them, or turn your back on them. Please, we don’t want to hear about you on the evening news. Use some common sense and give them some distance. Here’s a blog post with some additional tips and advice.
Timing is everything
Just like us, animals get hungry. But since they’re not going to head to the restaurants on Main Street for a visit at meal time, they go out looking for their meals at about the same times we do, particularly for breakfast and dinner, around dusk and dawn. Depending upon your camera gear and photo skills, it can be difficult to get great shots with fading sunlight. But early morning times can be great. So get up a little earlier and look carefully around, you might be surprised by who or what you find!
Location, location, location
Most wildlife isn’t looking to run into us. So they tend to be in areas that are quiet, with bushes and trees, and shade to hide them. Foxes like to make dens in old deserted barns around town.
- Moose can be spotted in the woody areas on Peak 8.
- Beavers can be found making their dams in some of the ponds and streams at the bottoms of Peaks 7 and 8.
- Chipmunks can be found around the Blue River area in town.
And if you can’t find some of those guys, head over to the Breckenridge Golf Club, and check out the pond behind the clubhouse deck, as you may get lucky and be able to snap a picture of a goose, duck or beaver, if you look closely.
Use your inside voice
Or better yet, none at all. The quieter you can be, the better your chances of not spooking them. Move quietly and slowly as you try to capture that perfect photo. Avoid walking or looking directly at wildlife.
Be extra careful if you’re fortunate enough to see a mother with offspring
Just like all Moms, mothers in the animal kingdom want to protect their children. Leave extra space and distance in these situations.
Have an exit strategy
Hopefully you get lucky and find a great photo op with the animal of your choice. The wild animal of your choice. Remember tip No. 1 about how they are WILD, right? Think in advance about how you can retreat should that cute animal all of a sudden turn into a not-so-cute-animal. With fangs. Or big hooves.
Rinse and Repeat
If you see that fox, moose or beaver, and you don’t have your camera with you, try again the next day. Make note of the location and time of day and return. Some animals are creatures of habit, particularly foxes, and you might just get a second chance at getting that photo.
Keep your eyes open
If you see a bunch of cars pulled over on the side of the road and people getting out, why yes, it could be an incredible yard sale. OR – it could folks looking at something awesome. If they have their cameras and cell phones out….bet on the latter.
Ask a local
While you’re out and about in Town, ask locals that you run into if they happen to know if there has been any recent wildlife sightings. If they’ve seen something, they’ll probably tell you. And if they haven’t, odds are they have a friend on Facebook or Instagram that has, and who’s pictures they were admiring earlier in the day.
So good luck as you embark on your personal Colorado wildlife safari. And if all else fails, take a picture with your friends or family, with the beautiful mountains of Breckenridge in the background. I guarantee that will bring a smile to everyone’s face when you return home.