Stress positions and fox photography.

1st April 2012:  Whether I manage to get images of a marsh fox depends on who sees who first. If the fox sees me first, or gets my scent, then it is unlikely that I will see a fox to photograph. When I see the fox first and manage to get my camera to my eye, and with the wind being in the right direction, it is unlikely that the fox will see me. This is what happened this evening. I was in a shady corner of the north pasture when I saw the fox crawl under the lagoon field fence. I immediately got down on one knee and my camera to my eye whilst its head was turned away from me. The fox began working an area of field directly in front of me.

I managed to stay still and keep the camera steady, whilst wondering why on earth I had gotten down on one knee I don’t normally get down on one knee to photograph foxes. The fox took its time to wander closer to me; I knew there was every chance that it could decide to move away at any moment. I was beginning to feel uncomfortable, and the camera was started to shake. I had put myself into a stress position, which was a mistake. I began pressing the shutter button, probably too early. The camera moved uncontrollably as my arm began to shake, and I lost the fox in my viewfinder. Removing the camera from my eye to search for the fox was another mistake: our eyes met. The thing is, I felt sure it smirked at me as it sauntered towards the lagoon field fence.

On my way home, I met a local farmer who suggested where I might find the marsh vixen’s den, and the place he described was not on the marsh….

29 Comments on “Stress positions and fox photography.

      • I should have guessed. I spent about 18 months at RAF Lakenheath when I was in the US Air Force in the early 1960s. I lived in a small village called Brandon. On the small salaries we were paid in those days I was not able to travel much, but I always enjoyed the countryside, especially during British Summer time when the days seemed to last forever.

  1. I take many of my cues for holding a camera steady from back in the days when I was a marksman, and we had a saying. Never stand when you can kneel, never kneel when you can sit, and never sit if you can use the prone position. I often drop down on one knee in order to hold the camera steadier, I put an elbow on the knee that’s up. Kneeling also reduces your outline to animals, so I don’t think dropping down to one knee was a mistake, you just need to practice it more. 😉 Great photos by the way!

    • Thanks for the sound advice. I think my problem was seeing the fox over the tall grass. Resting my elbow on my knee was not always possible. As the fox came in closer, the grass became more of a problem.

  2. I think it’s a special moment when a wild animal locks eyes with mine. I experienced one of these moments when I came upon a catbird’s nest in a wild rose bush. I parted the branches and there she was, sitting on the nest, looking back at me. She didn’t seem afraid, but I didn’t want to disturb her so I slowly moved away.

    • That’s right, it means that they have seen you – not good news if photographing foxes. In general, though, it is indeed special. 🙂

  3. I see you enjoy this fox stuff but man ya gotta move on. I am selling “How to Find Big Foot for Profit Photography” . It is only $10,000. Actually a good deal for a 6 page book in this esoteric and arcane area of study. However, we can work out something if “our” photos really take off.

    • Thanks Carl.

      I don’t know what to move on to, Carl. I am not aware of any Big Foot sightings in the UK. I am the reserve warden and I have many opportunities to photograph the marsh foxes,

      Selling a six page book for $10,000 is quite an achievement.

  4. I think you still managed to get some pretty good photos of the fox (especially #3)..

    • Thanks, Abu. The fox in that photo is probably thinking what an amateur that person is.

  5. great story, and wonderful images; the birds i try to capture are not quite the same as your canny fox, but even so i understand about being comfortable and steady …. always so much more to learn as each new experience throws up something unexpected! yesterday i was on a working bee to remove sea spurge from the neighbouring beach, no camera, and of course i saw three new birds … went out today and fortunately found one of them 🙂

  6. Thanks. All the best photo opportunities present themselves when the camera has been left at home. 🙂

  7. Great eye-level portrait, you would have missed while standing, keep dropping to a knee, thanks for sharing your vision MJ

  8. That first photo mesmerized me. I kept looking into the fox’s eyes and he kept looking back. I broke first. Great story. And you still have plenty of time for more opportunities. Hope you find the vixen’s den.

  9. You had me at the first photograph … amazing eye contact. I agree with quietsolo above, practice the kneeling position as it really pays off with the low point of view. It can really seperate a great shot from just an ordinary one and that first one is extraordinary! Well done Mike! Tom

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