Gorgeous is Foxy

Phocal

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Gorgeous by Phocal Art, on Flickr

WOW.............................

It has been a long time since I have started a thread, or even posted on a thread. Damn, I haven’t really taken any photographs since July and it has been even longer since shooting wildlife (to afraid to even look that up).

A lot has happened and changed since my last thread. The biggest change is I now live in Anchorage Alaska, arrived on 31 October. So I haven’t been here very long, but so far I am really enjoying it. I even had the honor of meeting @Bristolero for coffee a few weeks back. Just wish we could get some snow to stick around for more than a few days, good chance the current snow will be gone in the next week as temps rise into the 40’s and it rains for 5 days.

One of my co-workers told me about a place in town to see/photograph some Red Foxes (his girlfriend is a photographer). I have not been able to get a clear answer from the numerous photographers I have run into at the foxes as to how many live in the area. I do know there are at least two (male and female) and I suspect a few more as well. My first visit I saw the male and got one terrible photo of him. My second visit I saw the female briefly, but that was right after dropping the EM1 and Little Tuna in the snow. Needless to say the lens was fogged up and I couldn’t get a shot.

But the third visit.......................
 

Phocal

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One thing I love about my job is the non-standard work schedule and the ability to have week days off. Well I had two days off in a row and the weather report a week out had both days being sunny. Needless to say I was really looking forward to getting some great shots of the Foxes in sunny conditions with the bonus of actually having snow on the ground.

But......................

Ended up with cloudy and snowing................

I wasn’t looking forward to the overcast skies because I knew it would push my ISO up, possibly beyond my comfortable limit. Snow is just rain in a different form and while living in Texas I had developed a love of shooting in the rain. So as I headed out that first morning I was hoping the snow falling would add that little bit of pop to the photographs to help overcome the higher ISO’s.

I arrived a little before sunrise and the female (who I have named Gorgeous) was already out doing what Foxes do in the morning. It was way to early to shoot, so I watched her for about 45 minutes before she disappeared in the woods. During that time another photographer showed up and we spent some time chatting before I decided to walk down the trail to a pond that a pair of Bald Eagles like to hunt, their nest is somewhere nearby (I haven’t really looked for it yet).

The eagles were not around and when coming back I noticed the other photographer down the trail pointing his camera into the woods. I was a good ways off so I started to slowly move forward. I got about 95 yards (distance is per EXIF) away and moved off the trail, down the bank (the trail follows a creek) before laying down to watch the Fox. What happen next is something I should have expected but wasn’t really thinking about, I was just wanting to get my typical low perspective.

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Gorgeous 001 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

Over the years I have noticed that animals who are habituated to humans (especially their young) get really interested in a human when they lay down. I can only assume it’s because they are use to seeing humans walk by, but laying down on the ground is not a normal behavior. Since they are not really afraid of humans, this unusual behavior makes them curious. Especially if they are an animal that is curious by nature, like the Red Fox. Once she noticed me laying down, her curiosity got the better of her and she came out on to the trail and sat down to watch me.

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Gorgeous 002 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

It didn’t take but a minute before she decided to investigate the strange behavior of the human and she headed my way.

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Gorgeous 003 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

I moved a little to get into a better shooting position and it spooked her. Not enough to take off, but enough for her to move along the edge of the trees.

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Gorgeous 004 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

It was only a brief stop before she decided I wasn’t a threat and kept coming towards me.

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Gorgeous 005 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

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Gorgeous 006 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

Her approach wasn’t a non-stop trip, she made a number of stops trying to decide what I was doing.

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Gorgeous 007 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

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Gorgeous 008 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

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Gorgeous 009 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

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Gorgeous 010 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

It was about this time that I started to get a little nervous because I had no idea what she was up to. By this time she had gotten within 55 feet and seemed determined to get a lot closer.

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Gorgeous 011 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

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Gorgeous 012 by Phocal Art, on Flickr
 

Phocal

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She eventually got to about 15 feet from me and that is when the fun began.

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Gorgeous 013 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

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Gorgeous 014 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

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Gorgeous 015 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

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Gorgeous 016 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

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Gorgeous 017 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

After getting to about 15 feet she started jumping around, getting low to the ground and often sticking her nose into the snow. It really reminded me of a puppy trying to get someone laying on the ground to play with it (the other photographer came to the same conclusion as me about her behavior). She jumped around and did this for a couple of minutes before taking off when a cyclist came down the trail.

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Gorgeous 018 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

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Gorgeous by Phocal Art, on Flickr

It was also at this point that I wished I had brought the 2nd EM1 with the 150/2 attached to get full body shots. After she took off a couple other photographers showed up and we chatted for a bit and she finally made a cautious return visit.

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Gorgeous 019 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

It wasn’t long before she came out into the open.

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Gorgeous 020 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

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Gorgeous 021 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

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Gorgeous 022 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

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Gorgeous 023 by Phocal Art, on Flickr

Finally she trotted off down the trail to disappear for the day.

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Gorgeous 024 by Phocal Art, on Flickr
 

Phocal

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It was a great experience watching/photographing her and one that I hope to have again. I did go back the next day because we actually had some sun. When I get a chance to edit the photos (only got a few) I will add them to this thread. I also went back with both cameras and lenses (300/4 and 150/2) and was able to get images with both. So stand by for the addition to the thread in a few days.

The high ISO and weather conditions sure did suck a lot of detail from the photos. But overall I am happy with them given the shooting conditions. I have also not setup my desk, so these images were editing using my TV as the monitor, so I am not perfectly happy with edits. Once I get a desk and my computer setup properly I will re-edit the ones I plan to print. I also think a few need a bit more straightening.

I guess that is about it for now. Hope to doing more posting as I adventure around my new state.

As always............all comments are welcomed.

Phocal
 

gwydionjhr

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Joel
Amazing pictures!

I live on Vancouver Island, and I never trust the forecast until about 24 hours before hand. Inland the weather patterns are much more predictable, coming straight off the Pacific, not so much.
 

twigboy

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Virginia
I've recently realized that sitting curiosity behavior also, but not in such a location. Thanks for sharing these most gorgeous photos (such detail, color and location) and even more is the descriptiveness coming along for the ride.
 

Bif

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San Angelo TX
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Those are about the best shots of a fox I've seen!

I would not worry about having to go higher ISO than what you're used to using. We do what we have to in order to get our images. When you get to looking at your take on a monitor I think you'll see you haven't lost enough resolution to be bothersome.

Enjoy Alaska!
 

Phocal

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Anchorage
Thanks for the narration along with the shots, I was just wondering if you made it out to Big Bend but it seems you got a little sidetracked!
You are welcome, I like story telling. I did but didn’t get any milky way shots, was cloudy every night. I really need to edit the photos I did take while exploring and hiking, which was the last time I actually took photos.
 
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