I knew when I was watching their interaction unfold, that this image would be a very powerful one to me.
HOW THIS ADVENTURE CAME INTO MY WORLD
About a month ago, a friend of mine, Indie Vasquez had reached out to her "creative" friend community and asked if they could help her by providing something in their creative realm, for a silent auction to benefit a cause that is near and dear to her heart. I was on board right away, especially when hearing the cause!
Indie volunteers her time at a center for healing/ sanctuary for wolves, called Song of the Wolf, for these animals that have been abused or mistreated. These beautiful creatures are often misunderstood and the sanctuary is working hard to educate the public and reintroduce this species back into the wild and into Colorado.
As you can imagine, with a small 3 person show running Song of the Wolf, there is always need for funding and extra help from caring people. She was looking for items to offer for auction, to help do just this. It was my choice of what the image would be of, so I asked if sometime I could make my own trip to the sanctuary, to photograph the wolves in person. What I didn't realize was, this trip would leave me walking away with an incredible feeling of calm and fulfillment, an oddly on the other end of the spectrum, a high that I am still riding upon today!
My daughter Gabby just happened to be be in town for a day, and what timing that turned out to be. She is an animal lover through and through, was able to drive out to the sanctuary with me that morning. We were greeted by a lovely lady named Mary Ann, who welcomed us into her cabin, and sat down with us to give us some back story to what she does as well as the center. She explained to us how to act when inside the yard with the wolves and what their movements meant and why these animals hold so much love in her soul. We were ready to get down to business and meet the wolves.
Mary Ann's cabin is located on a beautiful piece of property with a fantastic view of the rolling mountains in the distance and gets a huge dose of afternoon sun to warm and light the afternoons.Gabby and I entered the gated area where the wolves live, and quietly sat down in two different locations, as this would allow for more potential interaction. I staked my position back from Gabby so I could observe and take pictures. I was completely blown away from what I witnessed. I watched 2 of the 3 wolves go to Gabby after we had been in there for about 5-10 minutes. One female named Ala, scent marked her which Mary Ann told us would indicate that all was ok with my little girl, in Ala's world. It is something that was fascinating to watch and oddly I wasn't too nervous even though there were huge animals with their mouths right by my daughter's face and head. I watched how Ala forcefully rubbed her head, neck and paws all over Gabby's back and head, and even came in next to her face and licked her cheek. At the same time, the large male named Kamali, came up to her, and although didn't scent mark her, he definitely was checking her out. They did the same to me, and I was feeling confident while Ala was behind me, but felt a slight bit of nerves when Kamali, came up straight in front of me, and was trying to gnaw on my camera hood. :-). I was warned that he is mischievous and may try to "steal" my gear if I set it down 😉. He seemed so big, but yet so kind. I absolutely understand and always remember that they are wild animals, but there is something so very spiritual about them and gentle. I was so humbled and gracious to be able to sit in their habitat, and be able to raise my camera to capture some of this beauty and emotion.
Look at the smile on her face...this was a moment she will absolutely never forget!
I shot over 300 pictures in that hour that Gabby and I sat in their field. As we excitedly discussed our experience as we drove back down the mountain, I told her, photographing them was tricky compared to what I am used to. I was only going to get what they chose to give me. I have photographed many a small child who is unpredictable and unable to follow direction, but getting a really solid shot that I was crazy proud of, of a wild animal, took on a whole new level of patience and perseverance. There were a couple of times when I knew, after clicking the shutter, that I had just captured a shot that would take my breath away. I prayed that I had held a stable enough hand to not shake the camera!
I am going to include some of my favorite images from this experience below. I am also going to include a brief write up that will explain the purpose of the sanctuary and their goals and the people behind it. I wanted to take a step further than and offer a print of any of these images I post here, for a donation of your choice, to go to the healing center. The proceeds will go to this great cause, and help Mary Ann, Ozvaldo and John fulfill their desires to help educate and save these beautiful animals.
Please email me at email@example.com to inquire about prints.
SONG OF THE WOLF - This is their mission
visit them at their web site << CLICK HERE >>
This is just a yawn :-)
A special thank you to Indie Vasquez for introducing me to this healing center and these beautiful animals and people. You have an amazing heart! Also thank you so much to Mary Ann for meeting Gabby and I early last weekend and taking the time to share your passion for healing and helping, and your "babies" with us.
I hope that the story and mission behind Song of the Wolf was inspiring to you, as it is to me. 💗