While coyotes are common in the west and relatively easy to find and photograph, wolves are a lot more difficult. The Living Desert in Palm Desert displays a couple of attractive Mexican wolves that were once common in the Southwest. Since Palm Desert can average over 100 degrees F much of the year, these wolves are generally active only in the early morning and late evening hours. Members can enter the park at 7:00 AM when the light is perfect, especially in February and March.
I actually had to visit the park twice in February. Like someone who leaves the lens cap on their camera when shooting, the matrix meter button accidentally changed to spot metering when I pulled the camera from the case. Of course, only a few of the images were exposed properly. The embarrassment was that this is not the first time that this has happened on at least 2 different camera bodies. Technically, one is suppose to check all the settings on the camera before shooting, but when you have the opportunity to photograph a wolf running in front of you, just shoot or you'll never get the shot. The solution, I physically taped the button to matrix metering on the camera body, permanently. Ugly but effective.
The image above was taken with a prosumer 12 megapixel digital SLR. The lens used was a 200-400 F4 on a carbon fiber tripod. It's really a drag hauling around this oversized lens but its optical capabilities enable it capture the nuances of color and shading of the wolf.
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