In April a ‘skulk’ of four fox pups and their parents appeared in a den in woodlands not far from my home on the North Downs in Surrey. I came across them by accident on a walk with my Labrador pup – there in a field were a frolic of pups playing in the sun who scampered when they saw us but then could not resist peeking back at us. I took Toffee dog home and returned with my camera to start a series of watches which were each about 3 – 4 hours long – I did eight or nine watches over a period of 2 weeks and captured a great set of images. These images won the “Editor’s Choice” award in Amateur Photographer Magazine – see the Blog entry.
Waiting . . . . .
Sitting in one spot for 3-4 hours as quietly as possible is an exercise in contemplative solitude which I enjoy. Like gambling (which I don’t do), wildlife photography is often a matter of a lot of investment in the hope that there will be a worthwhile pay out. Usually in 3 to 4 hours of waiting, the actual time photographing is only a few minutes but the fruits
are sufficient to get you back there again and again. I went out in mid mornings and late afternoon. The pups, and especially the vixen, were incredibly weary – the slightest noise would spook them and they would be gone for another hour.
One of the problems was the shutter noise of my Canon 1D Mk III. I purchased some materials from Wildlife Watching Supplies – some camouflage sheet material, an all-in-one camera and lens cover and a lens hood cover. The camera cover was useful not only in breaking the outline of the camera but also in muffling the shutter noise. I rigged up a makeshift hide and sat for hours – the rewards have been well worth while. This kit in particular enabled me to capture the feeding images of the mother and pups. One of my concerns was to keep my impact on the situation to a minimum – I did not want to stress the pups or their parents. The camouflage kit helped with this (it did surprise a few dog walkers and horse riders though).
Have a look at a set of images in the Season Images Gallery.