Friday, December 19, 2008

Photofriday: My Best Nature Photo Moment of 2008

For this weeks Photofriday challenge the subject is "Best of 2008". At first I thought that this would be a tough choice, considering that I had a great year photographing nature. There were so many great moments to choose from, like photographing endangered whooping cranes at Necedah, burring owls in South Dakota, the harlequin duck at Prescott, WI, The endangered Karner blue butterfly at Necedah, calico pennant dragonfly at Sax Zim Bog, just to name a few. But in the end the choice was simple.
In 2008 we had our first opportunity to photograph wolves in the wild and it was the thrill of the year.
This was our 8th trip to Yellowstone, in 8 years, and we had photographed almost everything that you can usually find in Yellowstone.
But the wolves had alluded us, at least until our 2008 trip in May.
I was afraid that we had missed our opportunity again when we heard through the Yellowstone grape vine that 3 wolves had taken down an elk near the Lamar Valley while we were on the other side of the park. When we got to the Lamar area we found a group of photographers camped out by the remains of the kill. We decided to stay and see if the wolves would return. Several hours later, at almost dusk, this one wolf returned to work a bit more on the carcass.
We were thrilled to have our first wolf pics. In other years we had seen wolves in Yellowstone but only through scopes and way to far to get any descent pictures.
Two days later we heard about a small group of wolves that had been spotted running near the road over by Swan Lake Flatts. Unfortunately that was the day that a tree fell, almost hitting our car, and was blocking the road. By the time the tree was cleared from the road the wolves had vanished.
As we drove through the Swan Lake Flatts area the following evening, on our way back to our hotel in West Yellowstone, Michelle spotted this lone black wolf running parallel to the road.
We pulled into the nearest pull off and I got out to see if I could get some pics. Just about then the wolf emerged from a row of small pines and to the edge of the road only about 8 feet away from me. He was so close that I had to take off my converter to be able to get ahead shot. He looked at me with a little curiosity and I looked at him with a great respect and I know that this was a very special moment in my life.


Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

That series of the black wolf is my favorite of your photos. I get goosebumps thinking of making eye contact with a wild wolf. It must have been a thrill.

Anonymous said...

Wow...amazing shots! I don't know if I could keeping shooting!

Rottlady of the Ozarks said...

I see why you picked the wolf pictures, they are just great. I agree that having a chance for such close-ups would be a thrill.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow..This must have so exciting and awe inspiring..Certainly one of the best moments anyone could have..

ivars krafts said...

You made the right choice with the wolf. Great photography!

Anonymous said...

It must have been exhilerating to feel the wildness of the moment.

Arija said...

I fully empathise with you, I know how meeting a wolf feels. One came up to me in Kicking Horse Pass in the Rockies. Never before nor since have I had such a wonderful feeling. He came within 3'.

Shelley said...

Beautiful series of wolves - loved that dark one in the snow! They are a creature that fascinate me and i hope to photograph one day.