Natural Art: The Photography of Brad Hill

Black Wolf, Green Rainforest

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In the Field

Black Wolf, Green Rainforest. Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada. 17 September 2019.

In 2019 our late August and September Great Bear Rainforest trips were probably the two best-ever coastal Gray Wolf photo tours we've ever run. On our August "Summer in the Southern Great Bear" photo we "bagged" 17 wolves, including some in just unforgettable settings and lighting. And, on our September "Into the Great Bear Rainforest" Exploratory Photo Adventure we saw and photographed a minimum of 4 wolves (we did have MORE sightings than this, but it wasn't possible to be certain that some of them were with wolves we had seen earlier in the day). Why the "increase" in wolf sightings and photos ops? Good question. A bit of it is probably just good old luck. But, we're now also wandering into new (and very remote) areas of the Great Bear Rainforest on a lot of our photo tours, including into regions where we had heard "whispers and rumours" that more wolves were to be found. And, the good news is that we're going to visit these areas again in future Great Bear trips!

This shot is the "parting look" of a black wolf that gave us quite the experience - seconds after I shot this image the wolf disappeared into the dark forest in the background. We first saw this wolf when it was just finishing a swim of about 1 kilometer or so across an inlet. As it emerged from the water it did just what a dog (or bear) would do - it gave a great whole-body shake (and, yep, I captured images of that too). Then it gave us a good long look before climbing up on the shoreline and then beginning to work its way toward the head of the inlet. By the time the wolf gave us this look it was looking a little less drenched!

Seeing a completely wild wolf in a location where few others (if any) have seen it before is a wonderful experience. But when it's a black wolf with piercing yellow eyes...well...nothing beats it! ;-)

Here's a considerably larger (2400 pixel) version of this black wolf with the wonderful yellow eye:

Black Wolf, Green Rainforest: Download 2400 pixel image (JPEG: 1.9 MB)


1. This image was captured during our "Into the Great Bear Rainforest" exploratory photo adventure in September of 2019. Each year we offer photo tours into several different parts of the Great Bear Rainforest as well trips to photograph marine mammals and oceanscapes in locations on Vancouver Island. And, in selected years, I also offer photo tours to locations to capture other highly sought-after subjects, such as Dall Sheep, Bald Eagles, and more. Details about these trips can be found on the Photo Tours page of this website.

2. This image - in all resolutions - is protected by copyright. I'm fine with personal uses of them (including use as desktop backgrounds or screensavers on your own computer), but unauthorized commercial use of the image is prohibited by law. Thanks in advance for respecting my copyright!

3. Like all wildlife photographs on this website, this image was captured following the strict ethical guidelines described in The Wildlife FIRST! Principles of Photographer Conduct. I encourage all wildlife photographers to always put the welfare of their subjects above the value of their photographs.

Behind the Camera

Black Wolf, Green Rainforest. Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada. 17 September 2019.

Digital Capture; Compressed RAW (NEF) 14-bit format; ISO 2500.

Nikon D5 paired with Nikkor 180-400mm f4E zoom lens at 560mm (with built-in 1.4x TC engaged). Hand-held from Zodiac. VR on and in Sport mode. 9-point Dynamic Area AF mode.

1/800s @ f5.6; -0.3 stop compensation from "recommended" matrix-metered exposure setting.

At the Computer

Black Wolf, Green Rainforest. Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada. 17 September 2019.

RAW Conversion to 16-bit PSD file (and JPEG files for web use), including all global and selective adjustments, using Phase One's Capture One Pro 12. Global adjustments to this shot were limited to a simple levels (contrast) adjustment. Selective local adjustments performed using Capture One Pro's layers and masking tools. In this case adjustments were made on 4 separate layers and included local/selective editing of (or adjustment of) exposure, noise reduction and shadow detail (on the wolf).

Photoshop modifications were limited to the insertion of the watermark and/or text.


Black Wolf, Green Rainforest. Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada. 17 September 2019.

Species Status in Canada*: Only Eastern Wolf listed as species of "Special Concern" in May, 2001. Other populations not listed as Endangered or Threatened.

Species Status in the United States: Western Great Lakes population removed from list of Endangered and Threatened species on January 29, 2007. Proposed delisting of Northern Rockies population on January 29, 2007. Both actions are a direct result of a successful recovery plan. Congratulations! Wolves in other areas of the lower 48 states (including the Southwest wolf population), remain on Endangered Species list.

Probably no species alive today has suffered as much direct persecution from humans as has the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus). Once extremely widespread in North America, the Gray Wolf was virtually extirpated from the contiguous 48 states of America and now is regularly found within only a fraction of its historical range in Canada. While the Gray Wolf is currently listed as endangered in most of the 48 lower states of the United States and enjoys the privileges associated with such status (if lack of persecution and abuse can be thought of as a privilege), it is still official policy in much of Canada to rid the countryside of this magnificent keystone predator. As an example, in British Columbia, there is NO closed season on the wolf in most hunting jurisdictions and opportunistic slaughter is encouraged by policy (it is the ONLY fur-bearing species for which NO hunting license is required in British Columbia!). Conservation of wolves presents a puzzling paradox. Reduced to the most basic principles, wolf conservation is simplistic: we need only to stop persecuting this species in order for it to survive. Yet accomplishing this invariably proves incredibly difficult - it's as though wolf persecution has been institutionalized directly into government (and societal) bureaucracy.

*as determined by COSEWIC: The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada