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Old Mar 3, 2006, 8:51 PM   #1
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I would like to share something I posted originaly yesterday in my MSN photography group.

This is the photo that started me thinking. Leader of the Oatlands pack looks tired. I believe he was born in 1982, so it is no surprise. But it upset me to see him do this, as it was so out of character for him.



The post I would like you to read follows in the reply after the photo.

My apologies to anyone who is a member of the other group, as this will be a repeat for you.




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Old Mar 3, 2006, 8:53 PM   #2
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Something happened to me today. It changed me, in ways that I cannot even begin to imagine or know yet.
At the end of the day, it left me with more questions than I had before. I'd like to share this with you in the hopes of gaining a better understanding. Please bear with me- this may jump around a little, and be slightly lengthy.
I posted a picture earlier today of the leader of the Oatland Islands pack. To you all it may seem as if it was just a photo (and certainly not my best one) just a shot of an aged wolf perched atop a log. To me it has become THEdefining photo which precipitated a change in my consciousness in regard to photography.
When I go to Oatlands, I enjoy myself tremendously. I don't think anyone in this group who has looked at my pictures and read even one of my posts about my visits there would have any question or doubts about that at all. But today, I began to wonder something.
Let me explain how I got to where I am going

Maybe it's the Irish in me, but I love a good story. Sometimes, though, my over-active imagination sneaks up behind me and bites me in the butt. That's what happened to me today.

That picture of him has upset me. It made me wonder- WHAT is wrong with him? I think he is old, and perhaps he is feeling a few aches and pains. The world of animals is far removed from the world we know. What will happen when one day heis too stiff, or sick, or his bluff doesn't sound quite convincing enough, or...you fill in the blank.

Oatlands is very big on providing habitats. Letting the animals do their own thing. As well they should.
I do believe that, and I believe IN that. I have to remember that.

SO... I wonder what will happen to him. And it upset me, because of course you know where I went with this.

BUT- what amazed me was the instant I realized I was no longer a "CASUAL OBSERVER", and then... What happens when the photographer isn't just someone who happens to be in the right place at the right time with a camera? What happens when the observer becomes an unseen part of the picture itself? Or- are we always , as observers, part of the picture? I don't think so.
I have taken photos that I do not feel I have been a part of other than being in the same general vicinity. But I have taken others that I know for sure I was an integral part of.
I am not saying this very well, and for that I apologize. Because I think that as a group of photographers- no matter what your level of expertise- this is something we should give some serious thought to.
I sure don't have all the answers. Heck, I don't even have ALL the questions, LOL. But I realized today that I had definitely crossed the line from observer into... What? Will this make me a "better photographer" or a worse one? Does it really even matter? Or is it only important to me because I realize it.

Ahh well. I probably lost you all somewhere back there

If you made it this far, thank you very much for sticking with me. If anyone would wish to share their thoughts on this I would love to read them.

Thank you.
Tracy
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Old Mar 4, 2006, 12:15 AM   #3
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Tracy-

I know exactly what you are talking about. You are identifying as a part of the photo, as oppossed to being abstractly detached, as in outside of the photo. I have felt the very same feelings several times. My description is probably lame, but hopefully you will understand what I am attempting to convey.

Just give yourself some time to take it all in. It will take awhile.

MT
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Old Mar 4, 2006, 12:15 AM   #4
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You like I, am a very caring person when it comes to our animal friends and it shows in your post that you are that kind of a person, My uncle back in northern Ontario used to raise and take care of wolves that were left behind either by nature or by an uncaring human that has taken it upon themselves to hurt then/or abandon these awesome creatures that are so misunderstood by the uneducated and ignorant and don't get me wrong cuz I'm not no tree hugger but being around my uncles wolves has given me a much greater understanding of the habits and lives of these beautiful animals... I have seen to many a bumper sticker saying " save an Elk and kill a wolf" or something simular to this...Ignorant statements are abound and thats how the wolf population was killed off in many states and provinces around North America and I know this may spark debate in this forum but unless you have personal up close experience with this creature then it's all rumor and fear mongering but in response to you Deja'...this is the natural way a wolf tends to say "well I'm getting tired and need to rest now" I've seen that in my uncles wolves and it wont be long till he/she rests. It seems this animal has had a long life from what you said in your post.
A very misunderstood yet intelligent and majestic animal that deserves the respect and not the hate that has destroyed them.
I have the right to speak on these animals cuz I have been around them and learned their ways thanks to my uncle who helped educate thousands if not more about the WOLF. If I got off topic I'm sorry but you sparked something in me Deja' that has been a part of me for many years .... and thats understanding and respect for wildlife and you have shown that 10 fold.
Bless you

PS. what you have done is give an insight to a very private moment of the life cycle of this animal and I understand its hard to take at times but take solice in the fact of you did a great job at taking the picture because these opportunities dont come along often but it was a moment that you will always have in your heart and remember for many years to come.....
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Old Mar 4, 2006, 12:55 AM   #5
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Tracy, You have observed a part of the cycle of life that all animals are a part of even us. There is a time for everything and that includes getting old and not being as useful anymore. But do not feel sorry for the wolf as he or she has had a full life and being there and protected from the humans that would have ended it's life has aided it in living that full life. In the last several years I've had to come to terms with this myself in my own life as a result of two bouts with different kinds of cancer and a near fatal heart attack. I've become over this period very introspective and had to look at my life as a whole. I've no regrets and no one to apologise to! I've lived a full life myself and do not look forward to dieing but at the same time I do not fear my death. It is an enevetable part of the cycle of life and I am just happy to have been able to participate. Remember this wolf and cherish the time you spent with it. It has been a priviledge that many of us have only been able to see through your camera. We will cherish that as well. So do not dispair that his or her plight has touched you but rather rejoice that you have been able to share it.

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Old Mar 4, 2006, 8:26 PM   #6
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Thank you so much MT, Dawg, and Wag.

I appreciate your responses to this. You all are a great group. It means quite alot to me that you offer understanding, and encouragement.



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Old Mar 5, 2006, 1:00 AM   #7
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Much as what you have for the wolf, Tracy! It's called empathy not sympathy! This forum is full of it. And I mean that in the good way! LOLOL


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Old Mar 5, 2006, 9:08 AM   #8
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Tracy, I know exactly how you feel..the feeling that gets right to your inner being.My scenario is different but in a way similar.Behind our workplace where I pick up my vehicle every morning is a family of stray cats..I have watched them grow up in the last 6 months..cute as buttons but wild as heck.They have been great practice testing out my zoom and tcon..I used to worry about them ..how do they eat..do they keep warm..etc.Then I found an older couple brought them a huge bag of food every week and supplied some bales of straw to give them shelter.So that put my mind at rest but then this past Friday I notice the building is sold and there were 3 cat traps set out.There I go worrying again..lol..what if they get trapped and not picked up for days??Especially in the subzero temps we have.But then fate intervened..out of the blue I went there yesterday to get something from the truck and here was this guy loading up two of the traps with cats in them..so now I think oh they are going to be put down..but after a brief conversation with the guy he assures me they are goin to become barn cats for his neighbours.Words cannot how happy this made me and put my mind to rest!I was walking on air for the rest of the day! I feel and understand exactly what you are saying about that fine line between casual observer and just taking pictures.I think it means we are human..:-).Sorry for the long winded reply but I just had to share but as Wag had mentioned..you sparked a feeling....and I know there are good people here who understand.I write this after seeing your later post that the big guy is doing much better and all though I am miles and miles away this gives me the same sense of relief as my kitty episode.Good for him!:-)
lisa

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Old Mar 5, 2006, 10:36 PM   #9
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Awwww, TY Lisa.

LOL, your kitty-cat story gave me a smile as well.



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Old Mar 5, 2006, 10:53 PM   #10
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Thanks for sharing your story Tracy, It was very enlightening.

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