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Gray wolves at Hallo Bay
  
 
sum1sgrampa
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Gray wolves at Hallo Bay


The most unexpected surprise from my 5 night Hallo Bay camping trip was undoubtedly the wolves. I hoped I would be lucky enough to just catch a glimpse. I awoke the third day to a wolf walking up the beach while I was waiting for the other 3 in the party to get ready. And that led to 2 days of wolf activity and just as quickly as they appeared they were gone. I absolutely fell in love with these magnificent, intelligent, curious, and wildly misunderstood animals. To spend just this short time with them was an extraordinary privilege.




  NIKON D500    300mm    f/4.5    1/800s    1000 ISO    +0.7 EV  






  NIKON D500    600mm    f/8.0    1/1600s    5000 ISO    +1.0 EV  






  NIKON D500    500mm    f/8.0    1/800s    2500 ISO    0.0 EV  






  NIKON D500    600mm    f/9.0    1/5000s    1250 ISO    0.0 EV  






  NIKON D500    150mm    f/8.0    1/5000s    800 ISO    -0.3 EV  






  NIKON D500    300mm    f/4.5    1/1250s    1000 ISO    +0.3 EV  






  NIKON D500    600mm    f/9.0    1/2000s    1000 ISO    +0.3 EV  






  NIKON D500    220mm    f/8.0    1/5000s    800 ISO    -0.3 EV  




Dec 02, 2017 at 04:38 PM
DonGut
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Gray wolves at Hallo Bay


Fantastic experience. You really lucked out and your photos are magnificent.
Don



Dec 02, 2017 at 04:46 PM
morris
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Gray wolves at Hallo Bay


Beautiful set Grandpa. I prefer the ones where the wolf does not appear affected by your presence

Morris



Dec 02, 2017 at 06:05 PM
sum1sgrampa
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Gray wolves at Hallo Bay


DonGut wrote:
Fantastic experience. You really lucked out and your photos are magnificent.
Don


Thanks very much Don.



Dec 02, 2017 at 06:08 PM
sum1sgrampa
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Gray wolves at Hallo Bay


morris wrote:
Beautiful set Grandpa. I prefer the ones where the wolf does not appear affected by your presence

Morris


Thanks Morris. I can understand that.
FWIW, I'll mention that under no circumstances did we ever approach any of these animals. The areas where we had the best chance of viewing bears or wolves were about a mile hike from camp. Although there were times when an animal would pass by the camp, which sat on a very shallow bluff overlooking the beach.
We would hike down to that area, find a spot and wait. When an animal came into view, we would continue to wait until a photo opportunity arose. If nothing was happening, we would hike a little further down the beach and wait at another spot. I am sure there are some who would say that our mere presence alone would be an intrusion. And to a certain degree it would be foolish to discount that 100 %. I'm not a youngster and have vast experience observing wildlife. The animals were obviously aware of our presence but I honestly never felt we were in any way hindering their normal routines. Keep in mind, there is an abundant food supply in this area and the animals were certainly more focused on salmon than on us.
To be clear, this response it not so much directed at your above comment, but more so informational for anyone who may be unclear.
The last shot was really just a passing glance.
That first shot is really the only time I felt directly connected to any of the wolves. This was late one evening when I was out alone with just one guide.This alpha male was on a mission to approach us. He came directly at us and stood about maybe 15 feet away and just stared. By this time I had already lowered my camera and we both stood there with nothing but walking sticks wondering what this wolf was going to do. And I was left thinking, " how did I find myself in an absolute wilderness in Alaska staring down a wild wolf ? " The photos are deceiving also. This wolf's head was well above my beltline, and I'm six feet tall. So we stared at him and he stared at us and my guide calmly started speaking in a more and more aggressive tone letting the wolf know he needed to move on. This lasted 2-3 minutes and he finally, calmly walked away.
Here are the first and last uncropped shots of that encounter to give some idea how far way we were before he approached us.





  NIKON D500    300mm    f/4.5    1/1250s    1000 ISO    +0.7 EV  






  NIKON D500    300mm    f/4.5    1/1000s    1000 ISO    +0.7 EV  



Edited on Dec 02, 2017 at 06:47 PM · View previous versions



Dec 02, 2017 at 06:44 PM
hnilsson
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Gray wolves at Hallo Bay


These really are fantastic!


Dec 02, 2017 at 06:44 PM
sum1sgrampa
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Gray wolves at Hallo Bay


hnilsson wrote:
These really are fantastic!


Thanks very much. I truly was very lucky. I guess that makes up for all the trips I've made that didn't come close to panning out



Dec 02, 2017 at 06:53 PM
RikWriter
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Gray wolves at Hallo Bay


Great shots! I envy you the opportunity!


Dec 02, 2017 at 06:58 PM
kwilliam8
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Gray wolves at Hallo Bay


Wonderful images! Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.
Keith W.



Dec 02, 2017 at 07:54 PM
sum1sgrampa
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Gray wolves at Hallo Bay


RikWriter wrote:
Great shots! I envy you the opportunity!


---------------------------------------------

kwilliam8 wrote:
Wonderful images! Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.
Keith W.


Thank you both. Ha ! I'll share with anyone who'll listen



Dec 02, 2017 at 08:10 PM
 

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birdied
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Gray wolves at Hallo Bay


Oh my goodness ! What an experience that must have been. Love these shots .

Birdie



Dec 02, 2017 at 11:21 PM
sum1sgrampa
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Gray wolves at Hallo Bay


birdied wrote:
Oh my goodness ! What an experience that must have been. Love these shots .

Birdie


Thanks Birdie. it was actually a very humbling experience. I had mentioned in a previous post that these guides carry no firearms or bear spray. Along with the wolves, we had bears passing easily less than 10 feet away from us. You suddenly realize you are utterly helpless and are there strictly on their terms. Crouching behind my tripod, on my knees, as a 700 lb bear passes almost close enough to touch, all the while keeping an eye on you is exhilarating. I've never felt so insignificant and tiny in my life. I can think of a lot of people who really need to experience that sensation



Dec 03, 2017 at 02:03 AM
surfnron
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Gray wolves at Hallo Bay


These are all extra nice with the first two standing out ~ Ron


Dec 03, 2017 at 02:32 AM
dclark
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Gray wolves at Hallo Bay


Wonderful encounter and you got some terrific photos!

Dave



Dec 03, 2017 at 05:23 AM
lighthound
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Gray wolves at Hallo Bay


Not sure which I enjoyed more, these wonderful images or your back story that transported me into your amazing encounter.

Great work! Voted!

Dave



Dec 03, 2017 at 12:59 PM
Warkari
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Gray wolves at Hallo Bay


Fantastic shots. 1 and 2 are tops

Amit



Dec 03, 2017 at 03:06 PM
sum1sgrampa
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Gray wolves at Hallo Bay


surfnron wrote:
These are all extra nice with the first two standing out ~ Ron


---------------------------------------------

dclark wrote:
Wonderful encounter and you got some terrific photos!

Dave


---------------------------------------------

lighthound wrote:
Not sure which I enjoyed more, these wonderful images or your back story that transported me into your amazing encounter.

Great work! Voted!

Dave


---------------------------------------------

Warkari wrote:
Fantastic shots. 1 and 2 are tops

Amit

Thanks very much for taking a look and the nice compliments.



Dec 03, 2017 at 03:23 PM
birdied
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Gray wolves at Hallo Bay


sum1sgrampa wrote:
Thanks Birdie. it was actually a very humbling experience. I had mentioned in a previous post that these guides carry no firearms or bear spray. Along with the wolves, we had bears passing easily less than 10 feet away from us. You suddenly realize you are utterly helpless and are there strictly on their terms. Crouching behind my tripod, on my knees, as a 700 lb bear passes almost close enough to touch, all the while keeping an eye on you is exhilarating. I've never felt so insignificant and tiny in my life. I can think of a lot of
...Show more

Humbling and probably a bit freighting /unsettling to realize your well being is dependent on something totally out of your ability to control. That is a lesson that I seem to learn, forget, and need a reminder to relearn

Birdie



Dec 03, 2017 at 04:12 PM
jcw1982
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Gray wolves at Hallo Bay


Beautiful pictures and great narrative! Thanks for posting these.


Dec 03, 2017 at 04:42 PM
sum1sgrampa
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Gray wolves at Hallo Bay


birdied wrote:
Humbling and probably a bit freighting /unsettling to realize your well being is dependent on something totally out of your ability to control. That is a lesson that I seem to learn, forget, and need a reminder to relearn

Birdie


And a very vivid reminder it was
And I want to remind people, or inform those who may not be familiar with these types of areas, the risk of actually being harmed by one of these animals is extremely low. Consider this: the average life span of a Brown bear is 20-25 years. Hallo Bay Bear Camp has been operating in this area for just over 20 years. So it stands to reason that the vast majority, if not all of these bears have had some human contact. And fortunately they don't associate humans with food.
However, they are most certainly totally wild animals and therefore can be unpredictable. And I couldn't help but think, is this the bear that got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning and decided he didn't want me hanging around his fishing hole ?
If you watch the 2005 documentary "Grizzly Man", you'll learn things don't go well when that happens. The subject of that Doc met his fate in Hallo Bay.
The photo below is the first bear I ever encountered in the wild. I was standing in the middle of the streambed when he rounded a corner and came into view. Even though I had trust in the guide and my logical brain knew I was not in danger, I remember a distinct argument going on in my head ordering me to get out of that situation as quickly as I could.Something I had never experienced before and will never forget.
I apologize for my ramblings here but these animals have totally consumed my thoughts for the past 15 months since the trip. My contact with them has deeply affected me.





  NIKON D500    200mm    f/8.0    1/800s    800 ISO    +0.3 EV  




Dec 03, 2017 at 04:54 PM
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