We are here overlooking a frozen Jackson lake in grand Teton National Park where conversations and appreciation of our surroundings glow, the mood is quiet, yet the tone is energized, and the anticipation is exhilarating as the snow crackles and crunches under our feet.
This week we are privileged to be traveling with an amazing group of both alumni from Oregon State University, and notable photographers videographers. they include Chris John's, natural history photographer and former editor in chief of National Geographic, along with his videographer David Baker. Together they're working on a film called Worry and Wonder a documentary project for Oregon State University. We will have the privilege to preview some of those images and footage in a rough cut later today!
Chris has treated us with fantastic information and the story and the issues at hand surrounding the plight of the wolves in Yellowstone national park today since the re-introduction in 1995.
Along our journey this week, we have had just an amazing experience. Opportunities to photograph wildlife, including 26 gray wolves, river otters, trumpeter swan, clark's nutcracker and of course bison. So far this week we have cataloged and photographed more than 2 dozen species of wildlife against the vistas and visual backdrop of Yellowstone national park and grand Teton national park.
All of this complemented by lectures in the evening from a Daniel Anderson, wildlife advocate and resident within the Tom Minor basin, just outside the park, whose family has ranched there for generations. And Shane Doyle, a member of the Crow nation and David Quammen, who worked alongside Chris Johns a contributing writer for National Geographic magazine. Together, Chris and David embarked on a two-year, historic effort and journey, beginning 2014, to create perhaps the most challenging publication of the National Geographic magazine.
During 2016, while most were celebrating the 100th anniversary of the national park service this commemorative May issue of National Geographic magazine was written in a unique fashion. It is the only issue of the magazine to ever have only a single writer, David Quammen. Under Johns direction as editor in chief, Quammen uniquely tackled a subject (Yellowstone NP) that has been deeply and vastly written about over the last 150 years since the establishment of the park in 1872.
David took the unique approach of allowing the Grizzly Bear, the top of the food chain, to be the protagonist and the center hub of a 4 spoked wheel that unfolds the story behind the rich visual landscape of Yellowstone National Park that we all enjoy, and the key issues that are present in the GYE (greater Yellowstone ecosystem.)
So, all this to say, that this tour has been amazing or even stunning would be a complete understatement! However, the sweetest moments this week have been appreciating the heart of how we enjoy such a place, and such a gift that we're all so deeply connected to. Right now, in this moment, while we hang out and stand, pace, point, frame and discuss we in our own way as travelers, photographers and even stewards, thrill to be right here 'in the moment' and we open the shutters of our soul and patiently let the light in.
C H R I S V A N D E R W I L T