Hope you and yours are well. I just got back into town from a trip to see family,
Thought I would share with you the most amazing experience of my July 19 trip to Cascade River State Park.
click on the "Workshop" for the other image .. this one really shows him for what he is .. the worskhop is technically better.
This is a wild Gray Wolf (also known as a Timber Wolf) one of the true treasures of Minnesota .. There are about 2,500 wild wolves in Northern Minnesota. Their main range along the North Shore of Superior begins about 20 miles from Duluth near the resort town of Two Harbors. As I was researching my encounter I found several stories of people coming to the Lutsen ski resort (near this encounter) and listening to the howling at night from their hot tubs. ...
Here is the story of our encounter:
We had driven up the coast of Superior to this park .. the water falls have long been on my to do list .. after finishing hiking around the park and photographing the falls (see me last two posts) we packed up for the 90 minute drive back down the shore to home.
We decided to create a picnic .. but were having trouble finding a suitable grocery store .. we had just passed the tiny resort town of Lutsen ... We had thought Lutsen was bigger than it actually was .. so we turned down a small road to see if you could find "more town" ..
Loping down the side of the road was a large animal .. my wife said "is that a deer" .. for a moment I thought it was a young moose ...
as we neared him .. it was very evident it was the wild Minnesota resident I have most longed to see .. We drove by him at 10 mph .. my daughters plastered against the car window staring out at "Wolfie" as the quickly dubbed him.
I was furious at myself for putting my camera in the trunk .. with our abundant wildlife I most often drive around with my 400mm resting next to me .. but of course this one time I had put it in the trunk ..
A couple hundred yards ahead there was a pull off into a field on the opposite side of the road from Wolfie .. we pulled over .. I hopped out of the car .. ran around to the trunk .. got my camera out and set ..
Our friend here seemed like he was on a mission .. he paid me little notice as I stood by my car door shooting as he came down the road and passed just across from me ...
Then a car came by at high speed and Wolfie decided that was enough and headed down a smaller gravel path into the forest ...
We spent the rest of our drive debating on whether we had truly seen a wolf or just a giant dog .. This post is the one that settled it for me .. the workshop is the technically better image .. but it doesn't show the "nature of the beast" as well as the
The wolf compared to a dog has longer legs, large front paws, longer snout, and a narrow body ... (wolf dog comparison: http://www.dogsled.net/wolfdog_comparison.htm )
from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:
Among the lower 48 states, Minnesota is unique because it supports a large number of timber wolves. A full grown timber wolf weighs from 70 to 100 pounds. Powerfully built with steel-strong jaws, muscular legs, and large feet, the wolf is an efficient predator. A typical Minnesota wolf is mixed gray in color with yellowish sides and darker gray on the back. However, individuals vary from almost solid black to buff-white.
In Minnesota, wolves eat a variety of large and small animals, but white-tailed deer make up about 80 percent of their diet. Beaver are often taken in the spring and summer, while deer, and a few moose, are taken more frequently in winter. In areas of mixed farms and forest, domestic livestock are sometimes preyed upon. However, wolves prefer the large, extensive forest areas of northern Minnesota.
General description: A large gray mammal with a long, bushy tail and dog-like appearance. Many say it looks like a tall German shepherd or a large coyote.
Length: About 40 to 52 inches, with 13- to 19-inch tail.
Weight: Between 60 to 120 pounds (coyotes weigh between 25 and 35 pounds).
Color: Most are gray, but some are black, brown, or reddish.
Wild wolves create a tension between naturalists and farmers & ranchers. The wolves will on occasion kill livestock. There are fears in Minnesota that the wolves have become so successful in the North Woods that they will begin to expand into the farming areas of the Southern and and Western portions of the state.
Critiques | Translate
lctan (1061) 2009-08-17 8:58
wow! looks menacingly fierce! the eyes shows it all! very well captured although slightly blurr. congrat! and tfs
nazirbadar (234) 2009-08-17 9:05
Nice capture.Excellent POV.good composition.And a very useful note.
jwmunro (286) 2009-08-17 9:55
Holy Guacamole John!
You have the capture of the day! A timber wolf in the wild! I am at a loss for words this is a fantastic capture something I am most envious of. Blah, Blah, Blah.....
I hope this teaches you to keep that camera handy at all times! Well done John! Right place at the right time.
Thank You for sharing.
smarcell (19963) 2009-08-17 11:46
I am not an expert but I am pretty sure it is a wolf, no question about it !
It must have been a very strong experience. A wild wolf, seen for few seconds, is much much better than any wolf one can see at the zoo, in any detail.
It is a REAL wolf. Here we, humans, are the intruders.
feather (51128) 2009-08-17 14:07
What a wonderful experience John and such a treat for you and your family. AND you got the shots to prove it. It must have been a difficult decision which to post, but I do think you made the right decision. Right! the other one is technically excellent and this has blur but you have eye contact!! with a wolf!! pinch yourself!
claudio74 (7263) 2009-08-17 14:09
Very nice capture you ve been lucky.
Nice picture, it s not so easy to take a good picture of this really shy animal.
adores (32170) 2009-08-17 15:45
This is what I call luck!I like the main post, but I must confess I really prefer the Ws, it's fabulous. But here, we can really see how he is, you're right!Hope the species doesn't disappear.
Cretense (68675) 2009-08-18 4:38
Excellent "wildlife" photo, great "portrait" of this beautiful animal! Simple but great composition, no "distructions" needed here! Great light managment, too! Congratulations!
danos (80278) 2009-08-18 6:48
yes indeed the shot in the WS is better technically than this one.Very noticeable your beautiful story about the meeting of the passing by wolf.Well done.
pablominto (53744) 2009-08-20 23:50
It must have been an awesome experience to meet this fellow in the wild!
The typical pose is captured so well, with very attentive ears and eyes...
Those animals were made for running, hehehe...!
Didi (52429) 2009-08-21 2:20
The wolf is preparing an attack ?
Well done for this catch in a low position.
alainh (35561) 2009-08-21 13:17
what a such great moment it was !!!!
a fabulous meeting. a wonderfull picture !!
Miha2ou7 (5048) 2009-08-23 15:18
Well, that`s awesome. Just a bit of fuzziness is seen, probably some cropping and a long focal length, but considering the subject that`s nothing to wonder about. Love his ravenous stare and wolfish demeanour. :)
rikko77 (10849) 2009-08-25 6:17
what a beautiful creature, John, it must have been a great hard-to-describe emotion to meet this Minnesota resident, so close to you! I saw one last week in Canada, not as close as this one though, and it was a beautiful feeling to me. It's beautiful walking and hiking around mountains, through parks, and it's even better when you meet such wonders. Thanx for sharing this pic and the story behind it! Have a good day :-)
Buin (42224) 2009-08-28 10:31
A truly fascinating portrait of this animal, emphasized by this blurred background. The frontal view especially shows its elegance and strength. A photo to marvel at ... congratulations for this picture!
Greetings from still summerly Germany!
riclopes (35577) 2009-08-29 1:59
Olá John, interesting story as usual. And very impressive couple of shots. Love the pose and BG here but the details in WS are amazing. But this pov has more impact - what a scary approach.
guitianmiranda (5317) 2009-08-31 7:11
Good picture of this wolf, you are right technically the one as workshop is better, but this one showing the wolf as tired walking over de trek or road, I can’t see a difference, has much more expression.
Finally I went to the Rocky Mountain NP from Estes Park to Granby and of course I had a time to go to the Bear Lake and take a couple of treks to Nymph Lake and Emerald Lake. Also to See a great wild elk jumping over de Glacier Creek. Thanks a lot for the information you gave to me, as you said, Bear Lake parking was full and I had to take a bus near Glacier Basing.
I will upload some pictures in nest days.
Best regards John.
buscape (6219) 2009-08-31 10:18
wow this is simply fantastic. A timber wolf running free and you were so lucky to witness this rare experience with your camera. The frontal view is a good choice to show its slim shape. Your WS version is another great shot with perfect sharpness and an impressive eye contact. Thanks for sharing this rare beauty.
kingurek (724) 2009-09-06 4:57
Wow looks like the beast indeed :) I am almost sure this is a wolf. Very good POV. You were lucky to be close to the car while having this meeting ;)
s_lush (16128) 2009-09-08 7:44
Many thanks for so informative and interesting Photographer’s note. The illustration is perfectly good, showing Wolfie's portrait and its character. Great job!
Charo (51208) 2009-09-10 12:29
The look of this wolf gives something of fear and the position conseguistes is magnificent.
Excellent capture and very good definition.
Hellas (6703) 2009-09-15 0:44
you submitted a photograph that contains a wild beauty! The workshop is sure better in quality and equally well-framed. The wolf figured as a beautiful model for your lens!
The country in which you live and move is rich in fauna and flora. I am glad that you have the kindness to share your photos with us. Be well!
Cricri (95391) 2009-09-17 10:23
Quel aventure pour toi et ta petite famille, une scéne et une capture magnifique qui laisse un souvenir inoubliable, bon choix de celle ci, excellent DOF, bravo aussi pour la note
JCG (35129) 2009-09-17 10:38
A great adventure and which marvellous meeting with this wolf. I love much this attractive animal. Here you collected a splendid glance with your lens. An image of quality on this wildlife, I appreciate the background which emphasizes well the wolf and this visual effect which reinforces this feeling of heat. Well done and thank you for your note.
With all my friendships and with soon,
faraujo (1704) 2009-11-02 11:55
What a great image!!! Be carefull!!! :)
Over here (in the border Portugal and Spain) we have a cousin of that guy: grey wolf, it the Iberian Wolf, itsa sub-species Canis Lupus signatus a bit shorter but with the color and characteristics...
For more Info
For more Info: portuguese
Thanks for sharing, it's a lovely image!
This kind of meetings are really rare, you are a lucky guy!!!
jhm (130642) 2009-11-30 3:44
I looked toward both pictures, I prefer the second picture for the very well details of the teeth.
This taken with a 400mm lens of Canon, very well done, lovely presentation..
Composition and presentation are very well. TFS.
Have a nice day,
fkostas (454) 2009-12-01 18:40
There's no doubt he's a wolf. Not even a wolf-dog hybrid. A real wolf. He's young, too. I wonder why he's away from his pack.
Wow, you can feel him walking towards you. His expression is amazing. He looks like he's stalking you.
Did you run into any Bigfoots?
ls7902 (7312) 2009-12-02 19:22
Interesting story & encounter. The wolf looks so agile, lean, & graceful. I remember reading an article in the early eighties about Minnesota's Timber Wolf. They were rare and endangered. There were just over a hundred of them existing in the wild & perhaps around 23 in the protected area of Isle Royale. Great to know that they are back in the North Wood. Personally, I would be scared to come across an animal like Timber Wolf or Black Bear. Good to know that you are still posting. By the way I only managed to get the slim CPL for my 16-35 lens. The ND & GND are hard to find for the lens. The biggest camera stores in Munich don't carry them. Have a nice week. Take care. Regards. Latiff.
gervaso (9247) 2009-12-04 17:30
He looks a little too thin, but threatening anyway! Very good approximation on the animal, with an excellent use of depth of field to emphasize him. Beautiful job!
mvdisco (17416) 2009-12-06 9:16
Very nice caught of view of this timber wolf,
Excellent details and well presented picture in WS too,
great colors and light,
Excellent DOF well composed picture with his long leg reddy to jump...
bakes888 (18499) 2009-12-08 23:16
We saw a wolf up in Alaska but we were stuck in a tourist bus, the thing that struck me about the wolf was the speed he “walked”, just loping along covering quite a distance in a short time. Nice couple of photos but sometimes you beat a zoom lens for versatility. You have the sharpness and detail that’s hard for a zoom to beat though. Thanks for sharing.
PS Great story too ;-).
ptibelo (3379) 2009-12-12 9:11
Vraiment une superbe capture comme je les aiment ..en liberté.Le regard, les pattes et la démarche sont impressionnant.
Merci de ta critique qui me fait toujours plaisir.
Amitiés de France et comme tu le dit "Fait attention à toi et à ta famille"
Really a superb capture as I like them. . freedom. The glance, the legs and the step are impressive. Thank you for your criticism which always pleases to me. Friendships of France and like you tell " Take care.. you and your family"
Subhogen (3200) 2009-12-17 8:36
Brilliant shot. I think the animal is focussed on a hunt, and you have caught the greed in his eyes well.
Great note to the photo as usual.
Have a nice day.
mjdundee (4657) 2009-12-18 9:51
What an elegant animal. Great to see him looking straight into your lens. Thanks for posting and sharing this unique photograph and your note.
Giedra70 (963) 2010-01-02 4:28
Wild wild nature.
axiotea (21649) 2010-01-28 20:15
I found both of the pictures to be beautiful! maybe the version in ws got a better luminosity but in the main one, I love the way the wolf was walking towards you.
The selective focus isolates the wolf from the BG.
your note made me smile when you said you've got furious...because this happened often to me ;)
jmdias (49671) 2011-03-06 1:17
yes, the main post isn't technically perfect but it shows the animal in a more powerful way, in the WS it looks more peaceful, anyway we can feel it is a savage animal. my ancestors in Portugal had lots of histories about these animals, here in Brazil we have a kind of wolf, it is a big animal but it live alone and eat fruits and small animals, it isn't dangerous like this. nice view of nature, I can understand the problem about the farmers and the other side too. humans are so smart, should to find a way to preserve nature in a better way
- Copyright: John McLaird (jmcl) (14535)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2009-07-19
- Categories: Nature
- Camera: Canon 5D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L
- Exposure: f/5.6, 1/250 seconds
- Map: view
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Date Submitted: 2009-08-17 8:51
- Favorites: 1 [view]