Dharma poses for the camera during a photo seminar at Wolf Park

 Going Inside the Fence at Wolf Park

For the last four years I have been visiting Wolf Park. It was there where I first started playing with the idea of shooting through a fence. At the time it blew my mind what you could do with the optics of a lens. Then I started getting greedy, and the through the fence shots were not cutting it for me. I wanted to go inside the fence to shoot. There was one problem. Ever since I was a small child I have not liked big dogs. Our dog at home turned on me one day, and I have shied away from them ever since. I am just not comfortable around them, and will keep my guard up all of the time. I wondered if my nervousness would put the wolves on edge. I finally signed up for the seminar, and the day came. During the presentation of wolf photography by their renowned photographer Monty Sloan I became very inspired. I wanted to make some photos of these wolves. By the time we went in the enclosure I was thinking of nothing else but getting the shot. It is amazing what I will do when my camera is involved. I have gone places that I would never had dared of going in the process of getting the shot. The wolves were fantastic, and as we left the enclosure after the final session I was a bit sad to say goodbye to them. This is a great experience that everyone should try. The wolves are very gentle with the people, and they are beautiful to photograph. The photos really start to make themselves. You just have to see the photo and make it. I have not even gone through the majority of the photos that I made yesterday yet. These that are included below were probably taken in the first twenty minutes of the first session with the wolves. I am sure over the course of the next few days you will see more and more show up.
Dharma catches a piece of cheese during a photo seminar at Wolf Park

How They Get the Wolves To Cooperate

How do they get the wolves to pose for the photographers? The answer is the same way that you get things moved when you are going from one house to another. You bribe them with food. The wolves were fed a steady diet of lunch meat and cheese throughout the photo shoots. I think that they knew what was coming when they saw our group so they started to pose before we even got into the enclosure. As you can see above some photos could be made just of the eating process.

 

Dharma greets a photographer during a photo seminar at Wolf Park

Interacting with the Wolves at Wolf Park

The wolves really are awesome to be around. From square one Dharma came up to me and licked my face. That was when I knew that this would be a great day. Throughout the day Dharma would stop posing to take a quick break to greet a couple of the photographers. Wotan would as well, but Dharma really seemed to love the extra attention from the new people. There were a couple of times that I was photographing Wotan when I would feel a lick from Dharma on my cheek. This really is a great experience that you should try at least once if you love wildlife and photography. Heck you really don’t even need to make photos during the day to have a good time. I saw quite a few point and shoots, and even one person didn’t bring anything but a phone. They were there to experience the wolves.

Help Support Wolf Park

As usual I give my proceeds from the sale of any of my wolf photos back to Wolf Park. You can view some of my wolf images from this last trip to the park by clicking here. You can also view some of my past wolf posts by clicking here.

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About Pinola Photo

I am a sports and lifestyle photographer based in West Lafayette, IN home of Purdue University. I cover sports for Big Ten teams as well as other colleges. You can follow me on twitter @pinolaphoto. You can also view my website at www.davewegielphoto.net

2 responses »

  1. A. L. Kaplan says:

    Nice photos. I’m looking forward to seeing more. Really wish Wolf Park was closer to home. (I’m in Maryland) I dragged my husband to Ely, Minnesota to visit the International Wolf Center. Don’t know if I can convince him to do another wolf-centric trip. What else is there to do in the surrounding area?

    • Pinola Photo says:

      Well in West Lafayette we have Purdue University where depending on the time many different things can be happening. An hour south is Indianapolis which brings in a lot of cool shows and events. Of course just a little under an hour and a half north is Chicago and all that comes with that.

      If you can come to one of the photo seminars I would highly recommend it. I have only gone through a small portion of photos from the day, and I can’t believe what a great time that I had. I will be going back in with the wolves for sure.

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