as most of you may be aware I have been doing some work with Wolf Watch UK over the last few weeks, it’s been a passion of mine since I can remember to be near to wolves let alone be in with them and to have one in my arms so to speak. I have spent the last two Saturdays at the rescue sanctuary being chaperoned round and in the secure areas by Tony the centre owner, the primary function of Wolf Watch UK is as a rescue centre for displaced wolves. This necessity occurs through incidents such as dominance fights, excess breeding or zoo closures.
I was assisted by friend Bill on the first visit and Wayne on the second setting up holding and direction of the off camera lighting. Kit used was Profoto B1 with a 2 foot Octa box and grid held on a litereach pole, camera gear was a Canon 1DX MKII with use of 70-200, 24-105 and 24-70 lenses with Profoto Air Remote controlling.
I’ll drop in little write up parts taken from the rescue website as it’s explained far better about each wolf. Their website for more info and adoptions is HERE
First image is of yours truly with Madadh, she’s in her 18th year bless her. She is a black Canadian wolf who came to Wolf Watch with her brother Kgosi in April 1999, from the time of their arrival until three months later, normality at Wolf Watch became a thing of the past or perhaps life just followed a different pattern. She is the wolf most visitors to the centre are likely to meet if the circumstances permit. Thanks to Tony for this image.
This image is of Callow, she’s absolutely stunning, she shares a fantastic area with Pepe and like Pepe is very shy towards visitors, if you look closely enough you can just make out my reflection in her eyes, certainly a soul in there isnt there?
The wonderful old lad Kogsi, brother to Madadh, he like Madadh is a Canadian wolf who arrived in 1999. He has a wonderful powerful demeanour and when you sit at his side you get a sense of ageless power that has been built on thousands of years of evolution and closeness to mankind, I think that they know far more about us than we do of them, they have a look of “I know more but I’m not letting on”
Like any family there are squabbles and Pepe here is telling Callow to back off away from his dinner, little bit like myself I think.
Here Pepe is enjoying his dinner now Callow has gone off with her share of the spoils for a relaxed lunch, well apart from me sticking my camera and lighting gear in the way that is!
One thing to bear in mind if you are lucky enough to visit the wolves is that they come first no matter what and their well being is of the utmost importance, so if you don’t get to see one up close or if you are asked to step away as they do get stressed and tired don’t be too disappointed, what ever you have done to help the sanctuary with your adoption or membership has helped make sure these mystical spiritual animals have a protected life and will continue to do so with your support.
The sanctuary has a medieval style barn and we managed to get a fire and candles lit for the shoot, it was raining at the time and it forced the smoke back into the building, definitely added to its authenticity I think.
The visitor centre on site has a shop and information about the history of the sanctuary, here you can buy mementos of your visit and if available a piece of wolf fur, smells lovely, a musk you won’t forget.
Meet Anja, extremely shy and I was very lucky she came down to investigate us, may have had something to do with Tony waving a chicken round for her but I like to think she came to see me, I managed to capture some lovely pictures of her running through her area, a very special new comer to the rescue she has to build on her trust towards staff, this will take many months of dedication and nothing is guaranteed……
Finally for this special blog it wouldn’t be fair not to mention the man who started it all, Tony Haighway, here pictured with Madadh his baby girl, he has done this with her since she came to the sanctuary in 1999 and even at this old age she still loves it and loves him as you can see. Tony’s dedication and the sacrifices he has made to love and protect these creatures is unbelievable and applaudable to the highest degree, a lovely generous warm and dry humoured guy that has all the time in the world to explain what he has learnt over his many years living alongside wolves.
Hopefully have an update on this soon………