Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May 2011 "Photo of the Month"

Fox Pups at Old Field is the result of a field tip from my friend Marvin Bouknight, staff naturalist at Old Field Plantation in Okatie, South Carolina.  He called one morning enthused about a new litter of pups beginning to make aboveground appearances at their resident Red Fox den.  He invited me along for his routine visit to the den on his way home.  In late afternoon light and covered in camouflage, I stretched out flat onto the grassy median of a two-lane residential road with my tripod-mounted 500mm lens.  Marvin staked out our photo territory with two bright orange cones and a street sign “QUIET PLEASE – WILDLIFE ACTIVITY” providing just enough hope that friendly residents might neither stop to chat nor run over us.  This exposure captures the moment two pups surfaced. They soon relaxed and carried on with their evening romp around the neighborhood as Marvin and I headed home to our own dens.

Red Fox live around the world in diverse habitats and adapt well to human environments. They are legendary for their intelligence and cunning ways. Red Fox are omnivores hunting year round for small mammals, rodents, fruits and berries and mostly at night. Living among humans, they also dine on our garbage and pet food.  Females often use the same den for several years and will produce anywhere from 2-12 pups each year.


For successful wildlife images in the field, the standard photography tool of choice is a long lens (500mm) and tripod.  One of the challenges when using this lens is controlling   the sharp focus on your subject.  While it is difficult to keep the focus on the entire subject, you will want to focus on key elements.  You can experiment with your lens openings (f-stops) to confer with me.  The wider your lens opening, the lower your depth of field.  By stopping down your settings to a smaller lens opening, you will increase the depth of field adding often-welcome inches of sharp focus to key elements such as the eye details. I would suggest that unless your subject is sleeping, sharp focus on the eye might make the difference between a strong image and a disappointment.  With my fox pups, I was able to get both in focus by stopping down from f4.0 to f 8.

To see more about Eric Horan, his images and his Lowcountry Wildlife Photo Safaris, please visit us at www.southernlight.biz.

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