This spring I was fortunate to spend some time with a Red Fox family not far from my home. Several months before, a family member had tipped me off to the location and had even okayed with their boss for me to use the otherwise private property. This was an opportunity that i was very excited tot have and one that i took very seriously.
Anytime you’re photographing wildlife it’s important to learn as much as possible about the species you are working with before you even head into the field. Not only does this increase your likelyhood of getting the shot by being able to better predict and understand their behaviors and routines, but it can also keep you and your subject safe. Getting too close can unnerve animals resulting in them attacking you or accidentially hurting themselves trying to get away from you. Once in the field you still need to put their comfort and safety first. The best thing to do is setup at a distance where you’re not affecting the animal’s behavior and wait. Once they are more comfortable with your presence they will often come closer on their own, which is your best chance for photos since you are in more control of the situation.
My prior knowledge (and research) of Foxes told me that they’re not an aggressive creature and are more likely to run than attack, but that didn’t stop my heart from skipping a beat the first time this curious mom walked to about 20 yards, stopped and locked eyes with the barrel of my lens. It took her nearly 2 hours to get comfortable enough to do this, and though my natural instict was to get up, i stayed still and quiet and took several shots of her. Within a few minutes she went back towards her den and watched the Kits play with only the occasional look my way. This was a big moment for me and it gave me some comfort that i was acting respectfully of her family. Even though Red Foxes arent aggressive, they almost always have extra “auxillary” dens nearby and if spooked too much they will move their family to one of those dens. I was reassured of my process when i came back two days later and the family was still in the den that i had access to.
Overall i was able to spend about 10 hours watching this family until the Corn grew enough to gate me out of their world. It’s an experience i won’t forget and will hopefully get to do again withi this family and others that i will encounter down the road. Below are some of the photos i was able to get during my visits.