Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Fantastic Mr. Fox

So here we are. After months of hard work I’ve finally launched my new website. This site contains some of my favourite photographs from my travels over the past two years and I’m pleased that you’re now able to view all of these images in one place.

I will be updating this blog with stories behind some of the more exciting and memorable wildlife encounters I’ve been lucky enough to experience.

I’m living the city life back in Wales at the moment, so exciting wildlife encounters are few and far between. I will start this blog off with the tale behind one of my most popular photographs, ‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’.

A Red Fox poses for me in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

During one of my photography trips to Jasper last year I spent many hours searching for a Red Fox to photograph along the Maligne Lake road. I had read in the information center that a fox had been seen several times that week on this amazing stretch of road. After many long hours driving back and forth along this road over several days without even a glimpse of a fox, I was starting to doubt that I would ever see one of these amazing animals in the mountains.

With my frustration becoming obvious, my driver Emma suggested we take a break and head into town to collect a jacket I had left with a friend a few days earlier. My friend Simone happened to work in a hotel on the edge of the Jasper townsite, so we pulled up to the entrance and I went inside. When I returned less than five minutes later, Emma was almost speechless.

''You missed a fox'', she said.

''Very funny'', I replied, wondering why she had decided to joke about our bad luck when I was clearly frustrated.

She held out her camera for me to look at and sure enough there it was, a small red fox walking past the car about a foot from where I was standing at the hotel’s main entrance. I couldn’t believe it! I turned to Simone and told her what had just happened. She smiled and told me that she sees that fox nearly everyday as it chases after the local ground squirrels.

I quickly grabbed my camera from the front seat of the car and ran in the direction of the fox. I came across a couple of people walking around behind the hotel and asked them if they had seen a fox pass by. After being pointed in couple of different directions and wondering around for nearly 15 minutes, I began to think that the fox had disappeared and that I’d missed my best chance of photographing one. I turned to head back to the car and all of a sudden there it was, walking towards me no more than 20 feet away!

Red Fox chewing a piece of wood - Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

This fox was clearly used to humans and didn’t seem at all bothered by my presence as I knelt down in front of it and began snapping away. After about five minutes of posing, he turned and walked away towards the forest. I followed, walking almost alongside him which felt like I was out walking my dog. It was quite a hot day, but instead of heading into the shade of the trees, this fox chose to curl up beneath an old trailer at the back of the car park! Perhaps he’d had enough of the peski photographer following him or maybe he was just really tired. I decided that one last photo would be enough so I sat down on the ground, so close I could have reached out and patted him on the head. I took my final photograph and after checking it briefly on my camera’s LCD screen, I got up slowly and walked away.

The fox sleeping beneath a disused trailer - Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada

And so that is where I left him, curled up asleep with his back resting against the tire of an old trailer. It was not what I was expecting for my first encounter with a wild fox, but what an amazing experience nonetheless!

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