“Wild Among Us”

Air Date:
Heard On The Larry Meiller Show
Grizzly Bear.
Scott Calleja (CC-BY-2.0)

Imagine if you could visit Yellowstone National Park or the Alaskan wilderness from the comfort of your home. Larry Meiller talks with author and photographer, Pat Toth-Smith, about her dangerous wildlife adventures.

Featured in this Show

  • Author Shares Inspiration And Adventures Behind Her Wildlife Photography

    For photographer and author Pat Toth-Smith, taking pictures and writing didn’t always go together. Selling wildlife photos at local art and wine festivals, she would talk with interested customers about how she captured her candid animal images. And quickly, an audience of one or two would turn into 40 or 50 people listening to her stories.

    “That’s when I realized people were fascinated with how I got these shots. When I would talk about how I got the shot, it would personalize the images for my customers,” said Toth-Smith, whose photo book “Wild Among Us” combines wildlife images with stories of how they were taken.

    She said that her customers would later tell her the stories made the photos they purchased more meaningful, which is why she decided to put them on the page.

    The book features close-ups of nine different animals, including wolves, horses, and polar bears captured in the field. Toth-Smith noted that she uses lenses long enough to ensure safety for the subjects and herself alike.

    “You don’t want to be close. Closeness with these animals is the biggest issue,” said Toth-Smith. “They have to feel safe and secure that you’re not in their space, so I always carry a 500-millimeter lens.”

    However, that lens hasn’t always kept Toth-Smith out of danger. She ran into some trouble with polar bears when she was on the Hudson Bay in northern Manitoba. She was so wrapped up in photographing the bears, she didn’t realize that the bus and the rest of her group had left her alone.

    “Then I hear this loud, loud bang, like a gun. Then there’s a big sign, ‘Polar bears right here in the area, don’t come here.’ And I’m running to town, I was scared to death,” Toth-Smith said.

    For those not so keen to get that close to wild animals, Toth-Smith her book could be the next-best thing: “You actually read the stories, and then you can see the photos and so I think it works kind of as a visual and a narrative experience … People say they feel like they’re on the trip with me when they read it.”

Episode Credits

  • Larry Meiller Host
  • Cheyenne Lentz Producer
  • Pat Toth-Smith Guest