During most of 2017 and until April 15 of 2018, I had the privilege of providing stock footage for two wolf documentaries that will be airing on ARTE – France/German public television. That meant that I had to film the wolves every chance I got! Here is the story of how I spent the past year.
My name is Deby Dixon and I came to Yellowstone National Park in October, 2012, with plans to spend six months making daily visits to the park in order to learn the truth about wolves. I never left.
When it comes to the truth about wolves, I learned many truths and none. I learned about all of the wildlife and the people who love them. And, the people who hate the wildlife, particularly, the wolves. This was, and has been, an absolutely fascinating journey in all respects – some of it simply amazing, thrilling and eye opening, some of it incredibly hard and heart breaking, and all of it life changing.
The one animal I wanted to learn about in the beginning (I have since decided to learn everything possible about all of the wild animals in the park, was the one that some long time, regular locals didn’t want me to see. On top of that, the most famous wolf in the park, 06, was killed on December 5 of that year and afterwards wolves were hard to find. But, I went out there everyday in hopes and was even rewarded now and then. At the end of the six months, I had only touched the surface of all of the stories and the park and so decided to stay. I was not sure how this would be accomplished but, one day at a time and with help from many people, 5.5 years have passed. My education has been amazing but I am still only scratching the surface.
Every day, almost, I posted photos and stories on Facebook and/or a blog, and shared them with thousands of people throughout the world. In this way I have an online journal of the events witnessed through my eyes, ears and camera lenses. Over the years I have been contacted by several different publications and have shared photos and images many times – even for money! I am a terrible business person because it takes a lot of will power for me to sit my butt at the computer on a beautiful day, knowing that Yellowstone is only five miles away and untold stories could be unfolding, to market my images and talent. I keep thinking that those things are for old age and that there isn’t enough time left for me to see everything possible in this park and the Grand Tetons.
Well, something amazing happened last year, out of the blue. The power of social media and a popular page! I was contacted by Prospect TV, out of France and Germany, and they wanted me to capture 4k footage of the wolves in Yellowstone for a documentary. I could not believe my ears! They asked if I was interested in supplying them with stock footage of whatever I happened to capture. Well, I have the work ethic and enthusiasm of a Clydesdale and so took it upon myself to put all of my energy and effort into filming Yellowstone wolves. This was a dream for me, to learn how to film and to keep my main focus on the wolves. A real challenge. I approached it like the job of a lifetime, even though I did not know how it would pay off in the end. I am pleased to say that they have used a great deal of my footage, not only of the wolves, but other parts of the park as well.
One 30 minute documentary turned into two – the second being one hour. I learned so much but also was deeply rewarded with some fascinating times alone with the wolves. This required a lot of hard work, long hours and little sleep, but it was okay with me. We finished filming the second project on the 15th of April and I have completed my self assigned work. The first documentary will air on May 30, and the second, which is still in the editing phase, will air on July 30. I did it! A published videographer. And, a steadfast advocate for Yellowstone wolves.
I am very proud of my knowledge of the park’s wolves, and the endless hours spent just watching them. I am also proud of the photos and video I’ve gotten of them. I want more! These projects got me out into the park, learning it like I never have before. Unfortunately, I had to persevere through these projects during some very difficult personal times but they kept me going. I kept the projects secret – though a few people had an idea – for the benefit of the project. I didn’t want any of those personal issues to unjustifiably ruin the projects or reflect poorly on these wolves. Human controversy doesn’t belong in wildlife advocacy but seems to be a part of it all the same. I am hoping that one step at a time that might change. These animals are needed on this planet, to keep our eco-system healthy and that is what I remember first and foremost, every single day. And, I am living proof that no one needs any special privileges or friendships in Yellowstone in order to succeed. It would make it easier and better but hard work pays off.
Really can’t wait to see what happens next along this journey. It has been powerful, amazing, spectacular…I could go on and on. I don’t have any raw footage with me to share on this post but will link a couple of YouTube videos and include some images of the wild wolves of Yellowstone.
My love for the wolves and for Yellowstone runs deep. I believe in the purpose of our national parks and it is my hope to share my experiences honestly, thoroughly and with passion. My hope is that some of you will come to care as much as I do. Our wildlife needs our help – needs your help.
Deby Dixon 4/27/2018