As I was packing my gear for this trip, Iceman asked me the same question he always does when we set out on an adventure- what do you hope to capture? My immediate answer? A wolf and a bear. A wolf was my dream shot, the bear would be icing on the cake.
I am emotionally attached to my photos because of all the thought and planning that often goes into them. The photo is not only capturing what is in front of my lens, but it’s the process and the experience behind it, too. I hoped to capture a wolf, was driving cross country to do so, but knew it was not up to me. I can plan and sometimes it works. Sometimes, I just have to keep trying till is does.
Three hours after we had set out before sunrise for the Lamar Valley, we had given up on seeing a wolf. Wolves are most active dawn and dusk. Golden Hour, the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset, when light is soft and golden, was fading fast and with it my hope of capturing the wolf.
We were approaching another pullout to stop and look out over the valley, when the unexpected happened.
We spotted him coming down off the hill to the left. He was approaching the road right in front of our truck. I could not believe my eyes! He was big, larger than our German Shepherd, tall, and laser focused, loping across the road in beautiful golden light.
At the same time I said, “Is that a wolf?!” Iceman said, “That’s a wolf!” In the 2 seconds it took me to pick up my camera, check my light settings, and lower my window, I also asked Iceman, “You will be stopping the truck, right? Right?!” He stopped. Bless him.
The wolf had crossed the road and was headed off to the right. I turned in my seat and began shooting the wolf’s photo out of the window. He was pretty intent on his destination, not paying any attention to us. Didn’t care, I just kept taking photos, 7 frames per second. Then, Iceman whistled softly, and that wolf turned around and looked right at me!
Then, he was gone.
I could not believe it! Iceman, and the car behind us, pulled into the pullout together. Iceman got out of the truck and they were all practically high fiving each other in celebration about seeing the wolf. For my part, I was content to sit and marvel I’d gotten a chance at the “bucket shot” for the trip. Whether or not the photo turned out at all, I was thrilled, thankful, and just overwhelmed to even have had the opportunity to have the experience. I sat right there, camera cradled in my lap, and said a prayer of thanks, that my Father in heaven granted a desire of my heart.
So, here he is! Four days in the park- numerous Elk and Bison, one wolf, and one bear.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”–James, the brother of Jesus Christ, James 1:17 (NIV)