Why: Photographing the Ethiopian Wolf Artistically

As described in this article, the Ethiopian wolf, also called the Abyssinian wolf, is the dream of many wildlife photographers. Indeed, it is very difficult to find and observe. But photographing it artistically is an additional challenge. That's what we did.

Artistic Photograph of an Ethiopian Wolf in the Highlands of Bale in Ethiopia.
Artistic Photograph of an Ethiopian Wolf in the Highlands of Bale in Ethiopia.

An Endangered Species

The Ethiopian wolf is the rarest canine in the world. Its total population is estimated between 400 and 450 individuals. The best place to observe and photograph it is certainly the Bale plateau in southern Ethiopia. A good guide is necessary because the territory of each family is immense. Without a good knowledge of the terrain, it is almost impossible to find them.

Despite everything, the landscapes of the Balé plateau are desert because the altitude is more than 4000 meters (13,100 feet). The cold and wind prevents large trees and vegetation from growing. With a pair of binoculars, it is easy to spot a wolf or a family in the distance to then photograph them.

In the Simien Mountains, the observation area is even smaller because the wolves are expelled from their natural territory by farmers who gain ground on the natural grasslands.

So, to photograph Ethiopian wolves, it takes time, patience, a good guide and luck.

Avoid Photographs Already Made

During our first trip to the Balé plateau, we were not very lucky. It was during our second expedition that luck smiled on us. Yet we were exactly in the same conditions. This time, we were able to observe and photograph wolves a few tens of meters from our blinds.

We had seriously prepared this photo project dedicated to the wolves of Ethiopia. We had looked at and analyzed all the photographs taken by other animal photographers. We had perfectly in mind what had been done. A conclusion was necessary. All the pictures looked alike. They were all naturalistic or descriptive.

Indeed, most photographers were happy to observe and photograph this rare animal. Creating photos was already an achievement because the living conditions are difficult on the set.

As far as we are concerned, we decided to be different. Our goal was to create artistic photos to showcase this beautiful animal. But we wanted to do it in our style of shades of blacks and whites with an ethereal and very dreamlike approach. This is totally the opposite of the images we analyzed. All showed color photos to highlight the beauty of the coat or the color variations of the animal. We recognize that the mix of red and white is beautiful.

But why go and reproduce what has already been done? As always, we wanted to be different and take on that difference.

Black and White is a Perfect Technique for the Ethiopian Wolf

As we have described in this article, black and white is a creative technique. It is therefore perfectly adapted to our project concerning the wolves of Ethiopia.

Just like our gelada collection, we wanted to create a timeless series. They are difficult to locate in time. In addition, these black and white photos do not obey any fad. We think this is an important asset for artistic photographs.

Black and white is synonymous with beauty, aesthetics. The pelts of the wolves of Ethiopia are sublimated by the contrasts of lights and reflections.

We think we have succeeded. Wolves are well developed and arouse interest. This endangered species deserves attention. We hope that these few photos will inspire people to invest in their preservation and preservation of their environment.

Click on a thumbnail to enlarge the image.

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