Liron Gertsman and Ian Harland weren’t specifically looking for wolves when they set out on an excursion in Clayoquot Sound near Tofino.
“When we were walking along the beaches, we saw wolf tracks and tried to imagine where they’d be,” said Harland.
“But we weren’t necessarily looking for wolves,” said Gertsman.
But a wolf was what they found, and the pair captured the animal in a series of stunning shots.
Harland and Gertsman both work as professional photographers in Vancouver and have years of experience shooting wildlife. The pair visited the Island in May for a multi-day trip.
“Vancouver Island is home to an incredible diversity of wildlife,” said Harland.
“The coastal ecosystem is incredibly rich,” said Gertsman.
Both photographers hope that their work not only entertains, but also educates the public. Each of them maintain active social media accounts, including Instagram accounts @ianharlandphoto and @liron_gertsman_photography. They want to draw attention to the environmental issues affecting wolves, including human contact and a provincial wolf cull that has drawn controversy. The photographers say that the cull’s intended purpose is to protect caribou, but culling wolves will do little to help and will only harm another important animal in Canada’s ecosystems.
“We’re trying to educate about the various threats these animals, these wolves face,” said Gertsman, who is also a biology student at UBC. “A big threat that wolves face is people. People who don’t know how to behave around them. Habituation to people. Leaving out garbage.”
Harland adds that he and Gertsman have years of experience interacting with wildlife and always use telephoto lenses to keep a respectful distance from animals. He says that people who want to photograph wildlife should start off safely and maintain a level of respect for animals.
“Take photos from inside your cars,” Harland said. “I think that if people don’t have experience reading the behaviour of animals, it’s important that they keep their distance, instead of getting close and disturbing them.”
In the meantime, the photographers are looking forward to shooting more wildlife around Vancouver Island.
“Vancouver Island is world-renowned,” Gertsman said.
“Hopefully this winter I can even go scuba diving with sea lions off the coast of Hornby Island,” Harland said.