David Element

 

Wildlife Photography and Digital Video Images

 

__________________________________________________________________________ Mammals 8 - Red Foxes

 

 

    

 

                                                           RED FOX Vulpes vulpes

 

    

 

                                                           RED FOX Vulpes vulpes

 

    

 

                                                           RED FOX Vulpes vulpes

 

    

 

                                                           RED FOX Vulpes vulpes

 

    

 

                                                           RED FOX Vulpes vulpes

 

·         These intimate portraits of a Red Fox Vulpes vulpes in full winter coat were obtained by a rather unconventional means as they were taken in the middle of the night without any flash. The pictures were shot at close range from a very low perspective (Fox-height!) on a hand-held Nikon D200 digital SLR with either a standard manual focus 50mm lens or a 105mm autofocus macro lens. The subject was illuminated by the light of two 60W ‘angle-poise’ bulbs and a white light 'OTT-LITE' modelling lamp. This low-strength illumination has enhanced the warmth of the colour of the animal’s coat (the pictures have not been colour-adjusted in any way) but the photographs perhaps not surprisingly would not tolerate any significant enlargement without appearing grainy – more modern cameras can now produce excellent results at these high ISO settings). In order to obtain sharp images an ISO setting of 1250 - 1600 was required and the Fox needed to be as close to the lens and lights as possible with the photographer lying flat. A fairly slow shutter speed and a relatively narrow depth of field were needed - any sudden movement by the subject would have wrecked the photographs. It is highly unlikely that images of this quality could have been captured using transparency film. Single frame ISO adjustment is one of the great advantages of modern digital equipment. Fortunately this Fox did not object to walking right up to touching distance from the light and camera - either for still photographs or for mini-DV filming, one attempt at which ended up with a snot-mark on the lens! The reason for the dark patch on the floor of the mouth is unclear, but this type of patterning appears to be quite common and the shape of these markings is probably unique to each individual.  The origin of the tuft of hair under the right eye is also unknown - this may be a consequence of a skin growth or minor injury some time ago and it clearly did not cause any inconvenience. This minor 'defect' also made this individual easily recognisable. Hopefully these photographs will demonstrate just how relaxed and trusting this beautiful creature actually was in the presence of humans.

 

·         A playlist of over 30 of David’s films illustrating the behaviour of Red Foxes in intimate close-up may be found at: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4AirIEc0Noe0MUItMCsgolXpQ0sr_Vx9.

 

 

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