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Photos by Scott Bourne

NOTE: This article has been cross-posted at JPG Magazine. Please consider voting for it if you like it. Thanks.

I’ve been photographing wolves on and off for the last five years. Photographing them has helped me deepen my understanding of wolves. I’ve come to understand that we can’t impose human rules on wolves, but as humans, we can learn valuable lessons from them about loyalty and love.

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Wolves are both beautiful and ferocious. Wolf packs have highly organized and complex social systems. There is an alpha and omega hierarchy, and the pack operates as a family. Each member has a role and all band together to help raise the pups. If one member of the pack is injured or sick, the others step in to support and feed it.


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In creating these images I learned that the wolf’s world is simply not fair. The wolf’s destiny is kill or be killed. They have a brutal class system that doesn’t make exceptions. They fight to protect their territory. Yet, I’ve also seen a barren female wolf take on the task of raising an orphan pup with the same tenderness any mother would show to a baby. I’ve watched wolf pups play and have so much fun they wore themselves out and had to stop to take a nap, mid-stride.

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Wolves can weigh as much as 175 pounds and grow to more than six feet in length. They have large feet and 42 razor-sharp teeth. Most wolves weigh less than a pound at birth and are nearly fully-grown at the age of six months. They usually only live to be six or seven years old in the wild. Wolves are generally one of five colors: white, black, brown, gray or tan. Most wolves travel in packs of six or seven animals and can run at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.

So what do all those facts mean? Will these facts cause people to hate or embrace wolves? The facts actually do little to help us fully understand wolves. It’s only through observation and documentation that we can really know them. That’s why photography is so important. Watching a wolf play with a tree limb or nurse its young and then photographing that activity, creates a visual connection to the wolf.

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Wolves are inspiring and I’ve decided these traits are worth sharing through photography. I also decided to photograph wolves because most people know little about them. And the less we know about something, the more likely we are to be afraid of it.

Join the conversation! 18 Comments

  1. Those are magnificients animals !
    I love them but wouldn’t meet a pack in the wild :)

  2. Those are magnificients animals !
    I love them but wouldn’t meet a pack in the wild :)

  3. Wonderful, intimate photographs Scott. What part of the country do you go to find them? It must take weeks to get that close in (and not feel just a tiny bit threatened by them)!

  4. Wonderful, intimate photographs Scott. What part of the country do you go to find them? It must take weeks to get that close in (and not feel just a tiny bit threatened by them)!

  5. @Dave they were shot in Montana, Wyoming, Alaska and Canada.

  6. @Dave they were shot in Montana, Wyoming, Alaska and Canada.

  7. That is an insightful and well written article. Too often we only see the obvious and the prejudged in what is before us, not the intricacies and depth beneath the surface. Thank you for sharing this article with us.

  8. That is an insightful and well written article. Too often we only see the obvious and the prejudged in what is before us, not the intricacies and depth beneath the surface. Thank you for sharing this article with us.

  9. Some great photos Scott. I’ve got a few shots of wolves from Jasper National Park.

    http://www.pbase.com/bahudyma/image/88870380

  10. Some great photos Scott. I’ve got a few shots of wolves from Jasper National Park.

    http://www.pbase.com/bahudyma/image/88870380

  11. Scott,
    Thank you for sharing. There’s no reason to fear a pack of wolves, as one person noted earlier. There’s far greater threat to the urban dogs running loose than a person would every experience with a wolf or a pack. I’ve taken photos at Wolf Haven in Washington state on photo events. They’re beautiful animals and a favorite of mine.
    Steve

  12. Scott,
    Thank you for sharing. There’s no reason to fear a pack of wolves, as one person noted earlier. There’s far greater threat to the urban dogs running loose than a person would every experience with a wolf or a pack. I’ve taken photos at Wolf Haven in Washington state on photo events. They’re beautiful animals and a favorite of mine.
    Steve

  13. Scott,
    Love your podcasts and your photos. But, growing up and living on a farm in Wyoming, I must say I’d love to put them in the back yard of Steve and Dwight, then see how they feel. It is easy to be hundreds of miles away and say such things, it is very different when they are killing your calves and in your own back yard.

  14. Scott,
    Love your podcasts and your photos. But, growing up and living on a farm in Wyoming, I must say I’d love to put them in the back yard of Steve and Dwight, then see how they feel. It is easy to be hundreds of miles away and say such things, it is very different when they are killing your calves and in your own back yard.

  15. @Kyle I am not going to approve any more comments along your lines. This isn’t the place for a political discussion on the wolf population. Cattle ranchers hate wolves. Period. They see it one way, and I understand that. I am not taking a position other than you should at least see the wolves in the light that I have seen them before you make a decision.

    You don’t know what Steve and Dwight’s experience is, so best not to speculate. We’re here to talk photography. Let’s keep it that way please.

    By the way – I’d keep my calves out of my back yard if I lived in Wyoming.

  16. @Kyle I am not going to approve any more comments along your lines. This isn’t the place for a political discussion on the wolf population. Cattle ranchers hate wolves. Period. They see it one way, and I understand that. I am not taking a position other than you should at least see the wolves in the light that I have seen them before you make a decision.

    You don’t know what Steve and Dwight’s experience is, so best not to speculate. We’re here to talk photography. Let’s keep it that way please.

    By the way – I’d keep my calves out of my back yard if I lived in Wyoming.

  17. Thanks for sharing Scott and everyone contribute to this post. I have always loved taking pictures of mammals, but wolfs have been hard to come by in zoos. This post offers a few places for wolfs. I am sensing some vacations potentials.

    Thanks.

  18. Thanks for sharing Scott and everyone contribute to this post. I have always loved taking pictures of mammals, but wolfs have been hard to come by in zoos. This post offers a few places for wolfs. I am sensing some vacations potentials.

    Thanks.

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About scottbourne

Founder of Photofocus.com. Retired traveling and unhooking from the Internet.

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