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Working with one of my Favorite Critters, the Grey Wolf

Yes folks that’s right, you’re seeing Wolves on my site again. It has been far too long since I have photographed these great critters but I was very fortunate a couple weeks ago to get to spend a couple of hours with this one group of 9 individuals, 8 black and one grey wolf. One thing I have learned from my time chasing these guys is that they are a rather rude species. They always show up at the worse time or the worse lighting. They did both. I was literally leaving the morning I was going to the Reno Air Races and was 50mins from my house when I saw them playing on the edge of Yellowstone Park going through the canyon route to West Yellowstone. I couldn’t believe it at first but sure enough I saw one and soon found a whole bunch more.

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Just that night the temperature had dropped dramatically and it was below 32 degrees that morning so everything was covered in hoarfrost and that great steam was coming off of the rivers. This wouldn’t have been a problem except for one thing, I had packed for a warm weather trip to Reno and at the time was wearing shorts, sandals and a T-shirt. Needless to say I was cold. As I watched the Wolves do there thing, I’m of course standing behind my truck with the 600f4 on a tripod and a teleconverter on, I periodically kept grabbing cloths out of my suitcase to stay warm. It doesn’t help to be shaking when you’re trying to keep a lens steady with a black subject, no light and at 1/8th of a second. Despite the cold, It was great watching these guys again. It was interesting to watch their group behavior. The alpha male appeared to be a black wolf with a grey face and the alpha female was the lone grey wolf that would always disappear. The rest acted like kids and just played with one another.

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Now I had assumed that the pack had brought down something earlier that morning and that’s what kept them in that area. With the amount of ravens around it made sense but the one drawback to the area is that there are a number of sloughs they can hide in and that’s exactly what they did. I spent 2 hours watching and shooting their behavior as they went back forth along the stream bed. Sometime they perked up and looked my way but mostly they just did their thing. Eventually, as the light began to light up their side of the mountain they retreated back into the forest until this one lone wolf wandered off to say hi. He kept creeping towards me and ended up in a great patch of light and hoarfrost. It was a great!

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In the Camera Bag:
Nikon D3, 600f4, TC-17e, TC-20e, on Lexar UDMA Digital Film

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