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Photographing Foxes in Devon (part 2)

I have had a few sessions with the cubs since my first encounter in early June (in the earlier blog) but what with work and other commitments, I have not had a chance to really catch up with the patterns of activity of this fox family and consequently I felt as though things were a bit hit and miss.  

Over the past few days though it has become clear the cubs are spending more time away from the area where I had originally spotted them and I have eventually managed to track the second earth down to an old area of outbuildings and hard-standing adjacent to a house. The householders have been extremely helpful when they realised what I am trying to achieve and have given me more of less free access to the area around the den – ideal!  My first early morning session was poor – at least in photography terms – since the cubs did not present any really good photographic opportunities whilst I was sitting nearby.  On the plus side though it was clear they are getting used to my presence.  

The best encounter that morning (although not from a photographic point of view) was whilst I was walking back to my car about 6.30am to get ready for work; the vixen (who I have not seen until now) just walked casually by me, on the other side of the lane about 10 feet away… She barely noticed me and only deigned to look back as she turned into a nearby field, where she wandered showly off.  A magic experience and it goes to show that you dont always need to get the shot to make a session worthwhile.  Later that same day, in the evening, I had a nice session with the vixen close to the earth and got this nice shot of her in typically casual pose.  

Photographing Foxes in Devon (Part 1)

Driving home a few nights ago I was greatly surprised to see a vixen and her five cubs playing in the sunshine in a field fairly close to home.  Seeing foxes in such a public place is really unusual, and since I have been looking for an accessible, active earth for a number of years now, it seemed like a golden/too good-to-miss opportunity which needed checking out.  

A few enquiries later (which comprised a visit to a local farmer and to a nearby householder) and the following evening I was tucked quietly under my bag hide in the corner of a field waiting for the cubs to emerge.  I have shot pictures of foxes in the past and they are nothing if not unpredictable.  The vixen often has more than one earth and she will move the cubs frequently – especially when they are young – in an attempt to avoid them being predated. Predictably then, despite having prepared well (I checked out the earth location first, my shooting position was with the sun behind me and the wind was in my face) the cubs appeared behind me in a less than ideal positon from a photography point of view.  

I still managed to squeeze off a few shots, including this one of what my wife later christened ‘the naughty cub’ for reasons that should become clear in later blog entries!  This cub spent five minutes or so stalking my hide, before sitting some distance away, preening and keeping an eye on this camoflaged ‘lump’!

Macro photography: Garden Cross Spiders

I spent this morning photographing garden cross spiders Araneus diadematus. My main subject was a plump female spider with a web which stretched right across the garden path.  Rather cooperatively, she kept to the middle of her immaculate web but not unusually with this kind of photography, I was hampered by the slight breeze, which kept blowing the web about at critical moments.  

This kind of photography is not easy and is really, really weather dependent.  Good timing and luck play a big role, as well as good technique!  Of all the images taken this morning, this was the only one I was really happy with.  

Kit:  Sigma 150mm macro, Gitzo tripod, Arca Swiss ball head and 250mm Lastolite reflector to provide fill light.