Columbia Stories and Tips

Wolf Photo Shoot

The growling Photo,

Lakota Wolf Preserve is located in the mountains of the Delaware Water Gap. It is a chance of a lifetime to watch listen to packs of Tundra, Timber, and Artic wolves. This preserve offers the opportunity to photograph wolves without any obstructions. It might be a bit costly, but it is worth it. The proceeds go the cost of feeding and vet bills for the animals.

Upon arrival, you will meet up with Dan, one of the co-owners. He looks a bit like Santa and has a loving personality like him. He will take you in his SUV up a long winding road through the Taylor Campground which the preserve is located. The wolves are separated into packs. My first shoot was with the Timber’s and Tundra’s. As we approach the fence, the wolves come running to see Dan. Dan has a magnificent relationship with each wolf. You can tell in their eyes, the wolves are happy in their environment. Dan is very helpful when taking pictures. I am not a photographer, (most who do this are) so Dan pointed out the best shots to take. He will throw dog treats to the animals so you can take good shots. Fall and winter is one of the best times to take photographs of the wolves. They are growing a thick winter coat and in the fall the foliage on the ground is a great backdrop. It is a bit overwhelming when the wolves approach you. Even though a fence separates you, the wolves will come right up to you to smell you. You are not allowed to touch the animals; it is New Jersey State law. It is very temping but if you do, Dan warned me he would have to stop the shoot.

Next stop are the Artic wolves, my favorite. Last winter I was in a wild animal preserve in Camp Verde, AZ and fell in love with Anika, an artic wolf. I love the white or near white coat they have. King and Autumn were very photogenic. I even got a picture of one howling and growling. Dan told me the best shots are when you catch their eyes.
It is very difficult, because wolves cannot be trained like dogs to sit and stay.

While we were there, another caretaker was giving the wolves their heartworm medication. It is very interesting how she was able to give the heartworm medicine without the other wolves steeling it. The alpha male and female will try to take any food first before any of the lower ranking wolves has a chance. One of the great things about wolves in a preserve, their life expectancy doubles from 7 years to 14 years because the caretaker will make sure the lower ranking wolves receive the same amount of food. In the wild, lower ranking wolves will die first because of starvation.
I took over 400 pictures in an hour and a half session. I did run out of film and space on my digital. I have some great shots I framed in my family room and out of this I have great memories of having the opportunity to meet these magnificent animals and to know my proceeds will go to their care.

After the photo shoot, I signed up for the Wolf Watch. This is what most visitors will do. Jim the other co-owner will take you to the center of the observation area and give you an informative speech about the wolves. You will be able to take pictures but it will be through a fence. You will not be able to take any unobstructed pictures on the wolf watch.

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