This is the blog for Brett Trafford Photography based in Leek in the Staffordshire Moorlands. More information can be found on the web site, Brett Trafford.com

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Photographing fox cubs


Let me start by saying that I have being trying to photograph fox cubs for over 15 years, even on my wedding day, so it has become a bit of an obsession.

Why Foxes, well in the UK we don’t have many animals that can provide such a challenge, they are the closest thing to a wolf that we have, extremely clever, very observant and normally will try to keep away from man. On the plus side they are photogenic and as beautiful as you can get.

The first stage of the hunt starts in the depth of winter, only then can you spot tracks, paths and holes that in a few months will be hidden by undergrowth. So after many cold day spent wondering the woods and fields you will, hopeful, have identified a number of holes, maybe you have even see a fox or two.

The next step is to wait until late April, early May, and then revisit the holes looking for cubs or signs of activity; feathers are normally a good sign, but not for the bird. The draw back is that foxes move holes and can hear you coming normally before you see them, so every hole could look empty, patients is now the order of the day, keep trying until you get lucky.

Then it happens, you see a hole and from nowhere a cub bounces into view, its always just appears, one minuet nothing the next, cub. Now the hard part starts, first, cubs are small, the size of a small cat, second, they are very a where of the dangers around them, and will vanish at the slightest sound and lastly, they do tend to be in places you cannot sneak up on.

My kit for taking these photos is very basic, a Nikon D80 with a 70-300 zoom and a 600 mirror lens, a camera bag that doubles as a tripod (I’m normally lying down and rest the camera on the bag) and a camouflage jacket and old trousers. The approach in these photos was on my belly over a field covered with cow pats (so it was a bit of a zigzag) moving a foot at a time when they weren’t looking (a bit like a kids game). Even with the long lens and bright light the camera was still set to 800iso and was at the limit for hand held shots.

As for the picture I will let them speak for themselves, mum went walk about after ½ an hour and so the cubs amused themselves and I got a bit closure. Around 6 months work and preparation for an hours shooting, I would not have changed a thing.



33 comments:

Suburbia said...

The width of this design looks much better. Is it a blogger one that you can just upload as normal?

JAMJARSUPERSTAR said...

This is wider - the little deer-like thing looks a little pixelated but it should iron itself out (it's only a test!)
Anyway, when 365 to 42 runs out can't you just make a 365 to 43 blog lol?
Ciao

Scarlet

wontletlifedefineme said...

Wow, these are amazing photos!

Suburbia said...

Fab shots of the fox mum and cubs. So brilliant to hear about all the work that went before!

Nice blog!! I particularly like your 'egg head' icon :)

The D in D & T said...

awesome job Brett, the photos look amazing. these cubs look nothing like the foxes i used to see back in australia. im intrigued....got to go google now.

Semi said...

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julia said...

You must be pleased with these.Rare shots.
Surprised that you reached my blogging efforts!
Big news here was whether or not foxes got into the island of Tasmania - not so long ago, it was feared at least one had got there somehow and searching took place. I don't know the latest with that.

Daryl said...

Wonderful ...

:-Daryl

Emma Jayne said...

I so love your photos, foxes are so lovely. I have foxes come visit my garden and they had some cubs earlier this year! Lovely to see :) x

Meg in Nelson said...

So so cute. And how many hours/days did this take?

Jama said...

These are amazing shots! I live in a town, no chance of seeing any wild animals around!

Noah S-L said...

They're as cute as babies, but they look so much smarter...

noelia ~ said...

i've never seen a real fox in my life. those are awesome pictures. especially the one w/ the cubs playing and the mother just sitting there, as if posing for you lol

Megan Coyle said...

those cubs are adorable!

coolgirlsar said...

Absolutely amazing, such wonderful photos. I love foxes (yes even after they've have poohed on my garden) and would love to get to see them out in the wild properly like this. What an amazing experience.

Sarah.

Photo-Africa said...

Absolutely beautiful little creatures!!

Would love to have a chance to photograph them one day.

Well captured!!!

ness said...

beautiful shots!!

The Giraffe Head Tree said...

A-freaking-mazing! Love these!

GURUNATH SHINDE said...

Nice collection bye....

Sveta said...

Wonderful pictures,I liked them very much.I love nature and animals and these pictures are just great! Btw thanks for dropping by at my blog. :)

Thumbelyna said...

These are really good photos. I'm really liking you methods too. Makes me want to make a new blog for my own photos. Mine are crappy compared to these those... Good Job!

ToughGirl101 said...

Ah yes, the cubs are beyond adorable!!

Jackal said...

Wonderful to see!

Lakeland Jo said...

gorgeous fox pics- will pass on to my mum as she loves foxes

Iris said...

Good photos of foxes

Prixie said...

OMG they are too gorgeous! since i came to the UK, lots of the fairy tales makes more sense to me...especially ones with foxes. :)

Tragicomix said...

oh man... how do they hunt these cute fellers?!!!

Starshine said...

What amazing photos! I got a Canon Rebel for Christmas, and I really want to learn and improve as a photographer! Maybe I'll be able to learn a bit from you on this blog!

Old Wom Tigley said...

Hi Brett
These are great images.... not managed to capture any of the local foxes but do plan to... I did come across a den a few years ago on on the site of a disused quarry... two young were playing outside which as such a rare sighting for use. At that time I did not own a camera... these have inspired me to go fox hunting with the Canon... and not the gun :O)

barkfoot said...

Love your photos. Great to see them out playing in the sunshine.
I've befriended a family of foxes but most of my shots tend to be at night as the location is difficult during the day.
Do you still manage to spot them as they've grown up?

Anonymous said...

nice read. I would love to follow you on twitter.

Adrian_O said...

I am taking on a red fox project and am interested to know what time you saw the most activity?

Brett said...

At the time i took these i was working in the afternoons and the sun did not hit the site till around 9.30 so all the photos are between those hours.