Photographing Red Foxes
I consider myself a naturalist, and I’ve found myself on a continuous quest to learn about and to experience all I can of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. I’ve been fortunate to have had some amazing experiences in the mountains, and my love of photography has grown out the desire to share some of the moments that have had such an impact on me. My weekends are often spent seeking out overlooks and vantages, and my portfolio has become filled with some of New Hampshire’s best views captured in dramatic light and atmosphere. I have found, though, that the shots I take along the way tend to be even more warmly received. Perhaps none more so than my encounters with wildlife.
Red foxes have been the animals that I have the most comfort and success with shooting, as I run into them regularly while wandering the hills. On more than one occasion, I’ve opened up the door in the morning AMC huts to find a red fox sitting there, like the day’s welcome party. I’ve found foxes to be incredibly curious creatures, studying us as we admire them. At times they even seem to mimic my actions. I stop, they stop…I go, they go…I sit, they sit. Always from a reasonable distance, and always with a substantial wariness. But insatiable curiosity.
Patience is the key to a good wildlife shot. Getting close to wild animals takes time, and slow, deliberate movements. I try to make myself small and non-threatening. I occasionally even talk to them…seems silly, but they know I’m there anyways, and it doesn’t seem to hurt any. Sometimes, just as you are getting ready to snap the shutter, the subject will become overly suspicious, and the encounter swiftly ends. Sometimes, I get a great shot, and I’ve gotten a few over the years. Once though, I captured a perfect one, one with all the expression, emotion, and well, cuteness that captures the whole sense of the animal and its environment. A dream shot for this photographer!
At the time, I was working at the Mount Washington Observatory and was out for a walk around the summit after shift on a winter evening. It was surprisingly calm, and though there was a light fog in the air, it was rather pleasant out. In the distance in the sea of white, I saw a flash of red which gave me pause. I sat down and readied my camera, as the fox came within twenty-five meters of me, then sat down too! The encounter lasted about three minutes, but it was perfect. The fox stared at me intently, with numerous inquisitive looks. I snapped away…capturing one of my favorite memories of my experiences in the natural world.
Slide Show: February Photographer of the Month — Jim Salge
You can learn more about Jim on his photography Web site: www.jimsalge.com/