Photographing Wolves

What a great trip to the Anglian Wolf Society today. I loved the opportunity to see these animals close up and to get to know thier characters a little. It was a lovely experience to be able to take such close up photos of them too.

I think this little expedition improved my animal portraiture skills. We were forced to shoot close-in to the animals so that the backgrounds were controlled. This did restrict the wider compositional opportunities. However, the chance to get right into the shot allowed me to capture some really intimate moments. Working that close I felt that the day to day drama of  their lives came out in the shots. It was also quite facinating to see their faces. Seeing the expressions and interplay between the animals really enlightened me. I already knew a little about the very intense and rule-governed social lives of wolves. I did not realise what that meant until today. You really could see the dominance and relationships coming out in thier behaviour. As Caroline, our guide, made plain at the start – what you see with wolves is what you get! Capturing these characteristics of the animals is what animal portraiture is all about.

We were lucky with the weather too. Nice even light and the rain held off. A little sun would have been nice. However, I really got some great shots without that. I was concentrating too hard on the shots to notice the weather much. I know a lot of the group felt the cold quite badly. However, everyone seemed to have got stuck in and really worked at the shots. Judging from what people have said to me today I think that most people found it a great experience.

Everyone was great company. Our guide made a point of saying what a lovely group we were. Thank you to everyone for making it a really friendly event. Thanks to the staff at the site too. They made us feel welcome and provided lots of interesting information.

It would be nice to hear the thoughts of others. So feel free to let us know what was good for you on the trip today. Please leave a comment here for others to read and think about.

By Damon Guy
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Photographing Wolves — 12 Comments

  1. Damon, thank you for arranging the trip to the Anglian Wolf Society today. I thoughly enjoyed the whole event especially as it was the first time I had used my new camera ‘in anger’. Trying to remember all that you have told us ‘in school’ about ISO, shutter speed and the ‘F’ word when in a live situation, really made my head ache. Unfortunately, the pain is still not over, as I now have over 100 images to grapple with in RAW and JPEG. Only joking. I had a great time and it was also nice to be able to chat with others and share experiences/camera settings. Thank you.

  2. I would like to echo what has been said, photographing wolves, despite a chill in the air, with refreshments provided and a warm welcome by our on site guides, set the atmosphere for an enjoyable day.

    The wolves were active, constantly providing the opportunity to experiment with camera settings.

    Having now downloaded 279 shoots taken, my initial view I am happy with the overall results.

    Thank you Damon for a well organised enjoyable day.

  3. Damon,thank you for arranging the trip and the Transport to photograph the Wolves.I enjoyed every second of the time i spent there,it was great to chat with the other club members about camera settings and equipment.
    Every one was great company especially the Guides, the chat about the Wolves at the start was very informative and the Coffee and Tea was realy welcome.
    I have some great images from the trip and that was the objective,so thanks again Damon and fellow members of a great club for a great day.


  4. A big thank you to Damon for organising the Wolf trip. I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought all the members interacted and helped each other with shots and camera settings. I hadn’t realised how the Wolves’ actions mirrored my own 4 dogs so well.
    Especially when the Alpha Male was scenting the ground after a ‘wee’, with his back legs and paddling with the front legs, to make the scent glands work in his webbed feet. My German Shorthaired Pointers also have front webbed feet and one of the bitches performs the very same action. We always wondered why she did it. Now we know!
    I especially enjoyed it when the rabbits were introduced for feeding. Amazing to see how strong the wolves’ jaws are, cracking right through the bones and chewing the fur to help with their digestion. I also have 2 photos very similar to Rays which he has on the forum. However, I bow to his superior photography!
    The holes cut in the fence were a good idea for our lenses, however, being dwarf like, the guides very kindly brought me various lumps of wood or stones to stand on, which made a huge difference.
    I think we should make a Topic Book of our Camera Club visits, with members showing off their photos. The Topic Book could be on display for all those who were unable to visit and for new Members to see what we actually do outside Tuesday meetings.
    Thank you again for a very enjoyable day and also a big thank you to John Newth for driving 3 ladies there.

  5. Well done Damon on organising a very successful trip.It was a great day out and a chance for some of the boys to show off their toys (what big lenses you have!).I was initially disappointed by the amount of concrete and wire etc in the enclosures but I found that just added to the challenge really,as even in natural surroundings you can have problems with the background. The wolves were active so we had lots of opportunity for clean shots and access round both enclosures helped with that. The staff at the centre were really helpful and friendly.
    Many thanks to John Newth for the lift.
    Thanks again to Damon and everyone on the trip for making it so enjoyable.
    Looking forward to our next away-day photographing hawks…… could you make it a bit warmer!

  6. What an amazing experience. Thank you to Damon for arranging this day out. I ditto all comments above but must add the amusing experience of the Alpha Male stalking Trevor! Please ask him! A fun day had by all and many thanks to our navigator Ray and Damon for giving me a lift. I wholeheartdly agree with Margaret’s suggestion on the topic book for future new members (and those members that missed out on this brilliant day)!

  7. An amazing one off life experience to be so close to nature in the wild!This wonderful opportunity to photograph wolves in the raw (excuse the pun) was not to be missed and provided us all with some stunning original image material.
    A big thank you to Damon for arranging and organising an unforgettable day out!

  8. Just wanted to thank you Damon for organising Friday’s Wolf event. A very worthwhile photo opportunity, and I think exceptional value for money.
    Both my Mum (invited guest) and myself thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I actually took over 280 photos with some pleasing results. I even made a concerted effort and took all my photos on newly learn’t manual setting….not an auto setting in sight!!
    I actually found it very challenging trying to capture shots of the wolves, with them constantly moving you only had a split second to capture some shots, and in some instances the second pen I thought gave more interest than the main pen….if anyone managed to capture shots of the pair almost fighting I’d love to see them….the tension between the pair was most palpable.
    I agree with Margaret a topic book would be a great idea.

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