By Larry Gambon | August 13, 2020 | Wildlife Weekly
It has been said that Nature has its own, unknowable heart. When you go into the woods and try to capture a bit of nature, you are at her mercy. With that in mind, when you do get off of the beaten path there are wonders out there that very few people are privileged to see and experience.Patience is a nature photographer’s greatest friend. When you first walk into a wild area what first strikes me is the silence. It seems empty and barren. But if you give it a little time, the birds will begin to stir. There will be a rustle in the underbrush. If you stop, watch and listen, you will find nature or it will find you. It is all around you. As you learn to observe you will see and understand the exuberance and dignity these creatures have.Whether predator or prey, life in the wild is a monumental struggle for survival. Life is at its most basic in the wild. Survival is the paramount issue of the day. Eating is next. There are no compromises in nature. It is raw and it can be brutal but it all has its place in the chain of life.When you live or play in a place such as Island Park and the greater Yellowstone area, you are among a privileged few. Nature abounds just outside your front door. Every day is truly a day in paradise.
This is the closest I have ever been to a wolf. Ever. I saw something walking through the sagebrush and thought it was a coyote. They are my favorite animal to photograph so I walked to an area about 30 yards from where I spotted it in order to get some light on him as it came out of the brush. It changed its path a bit and headed towards me and eventually emerged about 70 feet from where I was standing. Dang! It was a wolf! Not only was it a wolf, but it was also the strangest looking wolf I have ever encountered. The dark face framed the most piercing eyes I have ever seen. We just stared at each other for 5 or 6 seconds and I then started photographing him in bursts as fast as I could. He started walking towards me and I actually started telling him that was not a good idea (I always talk to the animals I photograph). He got to within 50 feet of me, and at that point, I was starting to think about getting out my bear spray. Thankfully, he turned towards my right and headed over a small rise. I slowly followed him over the hill and just like that, he was gone. Larry Gambon is a wildlife and nature photographer who has been coming to the Island Park area several times a year for more than 15 years. You can see more of his work at www.larrygambon.com.