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Monday, 30 May 2011

Fox cubs

A month or so ago I was exploring a local area when suddenly something slightly grey in colour and with a long tail darted across my path and disappeared into the undergrowth.

All I got was a fleeting glimpse - if I'd been looking in a different direction I wouldn't have seen it.

I racked my brain - what could that have been ? Rabbit - no, tail too long. Hare - no, same reason. Stoat - possibly, but it was slightly too big. Fox - couldn't have been, could it ??

Well, just as I moved forward another one shot across in front of me and into what I could now see was a well used hole. Further inspection revealed obvious signs of use with feathers and the like littering the area.

I retreated, covered my face, pulled my hat down and stayed motionless as I tried to blend with the trunk of a large tree.

10 minutes later, a little head appeared and yes, it was a very young fox cub. In a few moments a second head appeared and after a careful sniff of the air, to charming little cubs emerged from their den to play.

I watched for a few minutes until they spotted me, or picked up my scent, and after a hard stare to work out what I was, they dissappeared and left the area.

The den site is very overgrown and using a 500mm @ f4, I am lucky to be getting shutter speeds above 1/100th, but careful technique and choice of moment is proving successful.

Since I discovered it, I've been back to the site several times a week and have watched the cubs progress. They certainly are growing fast, doubling in size since I discovered them and their coats are turning from a greyish pink to a lovely red.

Not sure how long they will stay around the den, but I intend to make the most of the opportunity to photograph something I've wanted to work on since I got my DSLR.

As I've mentioned, the light is particulary challenging in the area, so rather than attempt to introduce artificial light, I decided to work with the shadows instead.

Here is my best 'moody' effort so far - keep coming back to check for more:

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Finally - success !

Hi, my first post for a while, but then I've had a pretty busy period since my last entry.

Spring seemeds to have arrived in a rush and nature has gone mad - some of the birds I watch regulary have bred, had their chicks and are preparing for their second brood. For instance, my local Kingfisher chicks have fledged and the parents are busy digging a second nest tunnel.

One project my friend
Calum and I have been working on (for a year now), are badgers, and if you're a regular follower of this blog, you'll know we've not been hugely sucessful.

I discovered a set last year. All the signs indicated it being an active set, but getting shots has proved to be a massive challenge and learning curve, and not to mention an expensive exercise.

Aside from a few super close-up experiences in 2010, photographs were very had to get and we closed our efforts that year with one, not particulary great image.

This year, we set about trying to get some better stuff, and so far, after 2 nights at the set with the cameras, we've come away with some super images.
One problem we have though is that in getting the badgers to where we need them. We've been putting out peanuts to tempt them, but of course, they then feed face down so the next challenge is to get them 'face up'.

Here's our first, acceptable effort - the badger is on it's first venture from the set of the evening and busy checking out my camera............more on this project to follow: