Wildlife Photography Tips – Part 4
By guest blog contributor Jenise Jensen.
Foxes are what really hooked me on wildlife photography. When I started, I would have been happy with a photo of a fox, and any fox for that matter. Yet when I captured my first photo of a fox with their offspring, it opened a whole new world to me, and one that can be quite mesmerizing.
Now is the time to capture a fox family photo, yes it is. Literally it’s time, as fox families can be commonly found in the spring through July, when the breeding dens emerge with their young fox kits. They are often found in parks or along forest edges. They are common throughout North America, particularly in Colorado and the Rocky Mountains, providing numerous photo opportunities. After successfully following and photographing fox families for a few years, here are a few tips to catch one of North American’s most beautiful wildlife species.
Two Photo Tips
Focus Points: a friend recently asked if they should photograph foxes with a single focus point or a zone/cluster setting. My answer would be: both. I typically use a single focus point and aim for the eyes, particularly with adult foxes or those sitting still. In some situations however, a zone/cluster of focus points can be useful. For instance, if there are lots of little fox kits running and playing it can be difficult to follow them as they zigzag with a single focus point. In that situation, utilizing the zone focus may yield better results. Experiment with both settings and see what works best for you.
Lens Choice: to compensate for distance and moving wildlife, a zoom lens is essential. There are many kit zoom or travel lenses that can capture great wildlife photos during the daytime, such as a 75-300mm, a 55-250mm lens, or a larger zoom lens. Another option is using a “fast” lens, one with a fixed aperture, such as a f 2.8. I’ve found that early morning at breakfast time is a good time to catch fox families. The light can be dim early in the morning and a fast shutter speed is still needed. In these cases, having a lens such as the Tamron 70-200 f2.8 can be quite helpful.
How to Find a Fox
- The Early Bird Gets the Worm – or in this case, the Fox. Foxes tend to stay out of sight during the daytime. Yet before breakfast and at dinnertime, foxes will hunt for their next meal. If you want to photograph a fox, plan on getting up for an early before breakfast photo opp.
- Do Reconnaissance – if you’ve seen foxes in the area, or have been told by locals that foxes are present, do some reconnaissance. Drive or walk through areas in the early morning. Keep a sharp eye out for an adult fox that is roaming and hunting. Follow and wait for them to rummage or catch their breakfast (typically a mouse, vole or bird) and then follow them back to their den….quietly, of course.
- Creatures of Habit and Back-Up Plans – foxes tend to return to dens and locations. If you locate a fox den, even abandoned, return and check it out from time to time. Foxes may move dens to protect their offspring or simply due to parasites, yet many times they will return to their old, previously abandoned dens.
- Signs of a Den: If you’ve found some holes in the ground or a space that you think may be a fox den, look around for tell tale signs. One shoe, a glove, a child’s toy, none of which belong to you, are scattered around the area. Also, bird wings or small bones. If you see these items, the odds are good that you’ve found a den.
I could go on and on about photographing fox families, but it’s time to get out and take some photos! You should venture out too. By utilizing the techniques above, you can focus that fox family portrait and treasure it for a lifetime. Happy (photographic) hunting!
About the photographer:
Jenise Jensen enjoys sharing the beauty and opportunities of living in Summit County Colorado, having lived and worked in the area for 15 years. In her recreational time she can be found skiing, hanging out with her rescued (and aptly named) canine pal “Lucky,” or strolling around town with a camera. Jenise is passionate about capturing the beauty of Summit County and her work is featured in a variety of local magazines and the Summit Daily News. To see more of her work, visit www.JeniseJensen.com or visit Get Real Bazaar in Breckenridge.