Christmas Gift Selection # 10 For 2017 – Tame Photographer

Dwight Lutsey Photographer At Work In Monument Valley

Note: This is a repost of one of our Top Ten Gifts for the discerning buyer originally published in December of 2013, a year that will live in infamy. In what has become a half-assed tradition here at The Institute we have been irregularly reposting these now famous gift selections when we remember to do so in a lame attempt to create a Holiday Tradition and mostly because we suddenly realize it’s Christmas time and we don’t have squat done. It’s fun and we don’t have to spend the time making new stuff up. Enjoy.

The most unusual gift *The Institute has ever offered. Nothing like this has been presented since the days of Indentured Servitude. That’s right it’s your chance to purchase your very own 

**Tame Wildlife Photographer !!!

We’ve saved the most special gift selection for last. If you’re one of those people that likes to take pictures but just can’t take a good one for love nor money then this gift could be perfect for you. You’re in luck as this photographer is available immediately as he is in between assignments at the moment. Please be sure to read the **fine print at the end of this post before placing order.

You could own your very own tame wildlife photographer! Are you uncertain about approaching those pesky free range grizzly bears, or apprehensive about running with the wolves? Do you secretly want to sneak up on two mammoth fighting bull elk in the height of the rut in full unfettered antlerhood but don’t like the thought of being gored repeatedly? Well, here’s your chance to have all the pictures you want (also known as Fine Art Images in the trade) of every kind of animal or landscape or Nature in all its glory, simply by turning your very own tame wildlife photographer loose and say “go get ’em boy”. Then sit back and watch those pictures come rolling in. Note: a ratio of 3 “keepers” out of every 100 images taken guaranteed. Also each “keeper” photograph guaranteed to be “frameable and hangable anywhere in your home, gallery, yacht, doublewide, or stone structure of immense age. Hanging hardware available at small extra charge.

For those who crave a little more excitement in their lives you can attach a GoPro video camera, not provided, optional at small extra cost, to your photographer and watch as he shinnies up a tree to escape that enraged buffalo. See the expression on his face as his expensive camera gear is reduced to a pile of trash. You can share in the emotion as you see those tears running down his face are real as he thinks about what is going to happen to his insurance rates, all from the comfort of your favorite arm-chair. A sturdy but svelte photographer’s assistant must be provided to tenderly care for any injuries sustained in the course of the assignment. Italian works best but any of the Nordic types or that special Irish assistant considered. Please see small print at end of post for details.

Your very own Tame Wildlife Photographer comes complete with all the accessories you see in the image above, including tea thermos and hat. Scenery varies as you can send him to any picturesque place you wish. Photography outfits vary according to climate changes. Low Desert cold weather gear is featured above but your Tame Wildlife Photographer can be dressed in a variety of outfits, except shorts and knee socks, of course.

Tame Wildlife Photographer 65.00 **

** Shipped to your doorstep complete no assembly required. Meals and lodging to be provided by purchaser. Italian works best. Must have own entrance to living quarters and access to purchaser’s Ferrari. Vintage Jaguar type B acceptable, however must be British racing green, or newer Ranger Rover but no domestics. 401k and stock portfolio to be established prior to any photography assignments and per diem to be established according to location selected. Health and life insurance for $8,000,000.00 will be provided prior to any assignments to Angola, Detroit or Somalia. Monaco will require evening clothes and a new pair of shoes. Italian works best. Must have appropriate time off to complete prior assignments. Must have three weeks time away to attend Cannes, although may be able to coordinate purchasers assignment requirements if necessary. All travel will be First Class or better and sturdy but svelte female assistant to be included in all extended assignments of 48 hours or longer. Italian works best. Unless of course the purchaser is in fact Italian herself, then that requirement is waived. Photographer will never be sent to shoot weddings, children, bridal showers or octogenarian cuddle parties. Photographer will always be treated with respect regardless of his mood and purchaser will be required to find all of his stories not only delightful but interesting and entertaining and as well. Twinings English Breakfast Tea must be provided each morning preferably before beginning assignment. This is essential to good mood of photographer and is non-negotiable. Other photographers request may arise and must be given full consideration unless Sturdy but Svelte Assistant ( Italian works best) can change his mind. This is a partial list of requirements, please see contract for further details.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind. Return to your daily activities. Thank you for your support.

The Potlatch

While visiting Vancouver Island I wanted to find a place where I could photograph the wildlife that inhabits this very special island. I talked to other photographers, some of the local people, asked any law enforcement folks I happened across where the best place to see wildlife was. Most of them directed me towards the upper end of the island where they said people did not usually go.

“Why not ?” I asked.

“It’s hard to get to. You have to walk a long way through the woods and the path isn’t always marked. And sometimes strange things happen there.” said the last person I talked to. I asked several more questions but got no further information. I felt that it must be an interesting place if it had a reputation for strangeness and would probably be interesting on that note alone. My curiosity piqued I decided to head up there to look around.

After much driving and searching for areas that might be promising I stumbled across a battered sign half hidden in the tall grass that said Tsitika Mountain Ecological Reserve that pointed up a two-track road. The center of the road was filled with small bushes, tall grass and the occasional small pine tree struggling to get a foot hold. It was apparent that this was not a regularly traveled road. Soon it became impassable and I parked and continued on foot. The trees grew taller, the light level dropped dramatically and I suddenly realized that I hadn’t heard a bird sing or any other noise since leaving my vehicle. It was deathly silent. Not even a hint of breeze to stir the foliage. My walking sounded thunderous to my ears even though I was trying to be as quiet as I could. I was looking for any sign of wildlife and finding none.

I traveled further into the grove of giant red cedar trees. It seemed to get even quieter if that was possible. The moss hanging down from the branches created a feeling of gloom and not a little despair. I was about to give up and head back when I noticed a hint of sunlight shining on a reddish-brown feature off the trail. I couldn’t make out what it was as it seemed to be covered in a dead moss that disguised its true form.

I approached it and saw that it seemed to be a bear, a giant bear close to eleven feet tall, standing on its hind legs and peering off into the distance. Alongside it was a cub nosing at the ground. The eeriness of this frozen tableau made my pulse pound so loudly I couldn’t have heard a sound if any had been made. I circled around the two, reluctant to go any closer, to see if there was any clue as to what happened here. There was no indication why this happened or when it might have happened but it felt old, very old. There seemed to be  an unspoken prohibition towards touching them or disturbing them in any way. In fact it was so strong that the idea of leaving immediately came into my mind like a lightning strike. I hastily took a few pictures then left. Heading back to my car I couldn’t help but look back constantly as it felt like I was being followed.

As I returned to the main road I saw and old man standing by the roadside. Eager to tell someone about what I had just seen I stopped and spoke to him. It turned out he was a Kwakwaka’wakw or Kwakiutl elder and had lived here all of his life. When I told him about what I had just witnessed he made a sign in the air between us and said that I should never go back there again. His people avoided that area as it was watched over  by the spirits of those who had come before and wasn’t safe to be there.

I asked him what might have happen to those animals. His reply was a lengthy story about the customs and history of his people and those ancient times. Back in those distant times there was a custom among the people and the animals to hold a get together called a Potlatch. This was an event where all the people and the animals would gather and feast and exchange gifts. A Potlach was held at every major event in the people’s lives. Births, deaths, adoptions, weddings, and any other memorable occasion that occurred. Everyone wanted to be able to receive the gifts that were freely given and to be able to give gifts even more so.

It turned out that on one Potlatch a huge mother bear and her cub attended. She wanted to receive gifts of food as her hunting had not been fruitful and she begged and demanded many gifts. When the gifts she was given were not sufficient in her opinion she began taking the other people’s gifts and eating them. Even after she had eaten her fill and her cub had eaten his fill she demanded more gifts and used her great strength to force the others to give up their gifts. This upset the other people and produced great anger and sadness that someone would treat the Potlatch spirit like this. The offended leaders gathered together and put a curse on her and anyone else who would not enter into the spirit of giving and receiving of the Potlatch.

Soon after the curse making  was over the bear stood on her hind feet and became still. And her cub became still also. The people formed a circle around her and sang songs for her asking the spirits to forgive her, but the offense was too great in the eyes of the spirits and they would not relent. She and her cub were left to give warning and remind the people and all other animals the meaning of the Potlatch and how it should always be observed and honored. As time went on she and her cub began to be covered in moss which has preserved them until this day.

At the end of the story my new acquaintance asked if I had touched them or entered the area where they stood. I answered that I hadn’t but I had walked around them to see what had happened. “That is good.” he said “For if you had touched them or violated their resting space, you too, would become still and the moss would visit you also.” I nearly passed out on the spot realizing how close I had come to doing just that, but the feeling of dread was so great at the site that it kept me from doing so. It must have been the spirits warning me. From time to time though I feel a tickling or itchiness on the back of my hand. I always look, worried that sometime I might see moss, so far its been ok.

Note: The image above is from the Japanese Gardens at Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island. They are one of many animals there covered with moss. The adventure and myth might have happened too if you believe in magic, enchanted forests, and age-old stories handed down from time immemorial. I do.