Some speak of a return to nature. I wonder where they could have been.
They are cunning yet endearing, and sly yet delightful…the young charm us with their playful antics, foraging adults slip in and out of the photographer’s viewfinder, always a wild reminder of our domesticated canine friends…who can resist the allure of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes)? The red fox is one of the most widely distributed mammals throughout the world, occurring naturally in four continents. In North America they range from northern Mexico to the high arctic. Foxes make great subjects for photographers because, unlike most wildlife, they are habituated to human activity, and would often rather cross paths than go out of their way to avoid encounters. Their preference for semi-open country usually offers the photographer the opportunity for multiple images with one sighting. They co-exist with our domestic animals; share the den area in a horse pasture, play with a dog and even creep into the henhouse at nightfall to serve their own purposes. A fox can be as curious as the photographer and might even give a hesitant glance or a momentary pause before slipping away, possibly providing the patient observer with that winning image.
Reap Rewards With Equipment Prep
In the early spring and summer red foxes will be more visible than at any other time of year. It is time to start toting the camera in “ready mode” for that unexpected shot around the corner. This preparation may include confirming ISO (what kind of light? - overcast, bright, shade), aperture (what depth of field is possible or desirable?) and shutter speed (what is the minimal shutter speed to retain sharpness?). Continuous shooting mode may be safer than single shot to cover potential action. Decide how the camera will be steadied (tripod, monopod, beanbag for handheld from a car window) and confirm vibration reduction settings. Check that nothing else has been accidentally switched (e.g., exposure compensation), and, of course, have extra charged batteries and enough memory cards. Take a test shot if time permits or at least think about what settings the camera may have been left on. A test shot can confirm readiness, resolve potential mistakes and save shots that otherwise may have been lost.
Finally, do not leave without binoculars to fill in the possible downtime if a fox is discovered catching a snooze outside a den or a kit decides to move from playful frolic to an hour of nap mode. Of course, upon return from fox hunting remember to reset unusual settings, check equipment for contaminants and recharge batteries so that everything is ready for the next outing.