Today’s Photo Of The Day is “Hungry Wolves” by Daryl Hunter. Location: Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
“Early one spring morning, I set out to see if a favorite Grand Teton grizzly—sow 399 had emerged from hibernation, hopefully with a new batch of cubs,” explains Hunter. “As I usually do as soon as there is light, I pointed my camera at an object of average reflectance, put my exposure needle in the middle and fired off a test shot to check the exposure, and the exposure appeared right. When shooting wildlife, things happen rapidly and don’t last long, so you want to be ready.
“When I got to my dirt road turnoff into the woods, there were several people standing around comparing camera backs, so I pulled over to see what I had missed. I was shown several photos of wolf tails by several ecstatic tourists. As much as I wanted to stick around to visit, I wanted to go see if I could get some wolf pictures of my own. I headed up the dirt road where I had been hoping to find the grizzly 399 and cubs, but now I was more interested in finding wolves. I poked along in first gear so I could watch the surroundings closely.
“I saw a cow elk grazing on the tree line across the meadow of sagebrush and spring sprouts about one hundred yards away and I kept watching her as I poked along. Suddenly, she broke into a run for her life. Knowing the wolves were chasing her because of her panic, I threw my car into park, jumped out and sat in the sagebrush for a low perspective so I could include the Grand Tetons in the shot and fired. The shutter didn’t close in a timely fashion as I had been shooting rainbows the previous evening and was still set at f/22 and 1/5 of a second. I had the proper exposure for shooting statues from a tripod. The wolves were on her tail and I couldn’t shoot.
“I put all attention on my camera to get some proper adjustments fully expecting the wolves to be gone by the time I could resume shooting. When I looked up, four wolves were standing there staring at me. There was one 20 yards to my left and three more 40 yards to my right. Why they aborted their chase was beyond me, but I sure was happy to see their smiling faces when I looked up from my camera. I took several shots as they looked at me curiously, then they took several tentative steps toward me as they were trying to analyze if I might be food. I suddenly realized I ought to look over my shoulder, as I didn’t know how many wolves were in the pack. Wolves set up ambushes and it was time for me to check my backside.
“All was clear and I had about 4 minutes of great shooting before they decided I wasn’t a breakfast prospect and trotted back into the woods. My carelessness made me lose the chase shots, but my friend ‘serendipity’ made sure I didn’t go home without a shot.”
Canon 5D Mark III, EF-400mm F/5.6 @ 1/400th sec. ISO 1600, handheld.
Processing: “The sun hadn’t made the trip over the horizon yet so I was shooting with photo-wrecking ISO speed, and I was mobile with no time for a tripod, so this photo took some post-processing. First, I softened some noise with the blur tool. I then duplicated the layer, erased where the wolves and sage inside depth of field were, then did a 2 point noise reduction on that layer. I then duplicated the lower layer and filtered it with the high pass filter to sharpen what needed sharpening; I backed off opacity to 30% to a sharpness I thought I could get away with. I flattened the layers and prayed.”
Photo of the Day is chosen from various OP galleries, including Assignments, Galleries and the OP Contests. Assignments have weekly winners that are featured on the OP website homepage, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To get your photos in the running, all you have to do is submit them.