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jamesjohnston_3471
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Arzhtatiana Mar 05
Awesome capture!
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Arzhtatiana Mar 05
Congratulations!
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marcbaechtold May 13
nice work! Some nice colors and good contrast, keep shooting!

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May, 2017
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Spring Fox



A watchful young fox keeps an eye on me from the side of the road in Wheatfield, NY
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Won People's Choice in 400mm or longer photos Photo ChallengeDecember, 2017

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Behind The Lens

Location
This photo was taken near my home in Western New York and was a chance encounter of sorts. I have a back road that I frequently go down that passes industrial businesses on one side and wild, forested land on the other. This one mile section of road never fails to deliver something interesting at all times of the day, from Osprey nests on cell towers, Pheasants, Hawks and other various birds, to wildlife like this fox.
Time
I remember that it was late in the day and the sun had gone down behind the trees. I was just passing through the area and this young fox had just popped out of a rural storm drain near one of the businesses. It just froze and stared at me as I pulled to a stop on the side of the road and grabbed my camera from the seat next to me.
Lighting
The light was soft and and was coming from behind the fox, despite the trees. This was actually quite fortunate as it accentuated the fluffy fur, creating something of a slight halo effect. Since the kit was so cautious, I had perfect eye contact for the image. The fact that the sun was behind the trees made the whole image soft, cool and balanced.
Equipment
The photo was mad using a Nikon D810 and the first version of the Tamron 150-600mm telephoto lens. The camera was handheld and shot from the window of my car.
Inspiration
Opportunity and timing were the lucky ingredients that allowed me to get this shot. Foxes by nature are quite shy and although I knew there was a den somewhere in the area, I had yet to find it and had only had fleeting glimpses of the mother. Everything about the image is "dumb luck", except for the fact that I am always looking and always have my camera next to me.
Editing
For the most part, this image is pretty much straight out of camera, with a minimum of processing. I added some slight blur to the overall image, all but the fox. The overall image was softly lit and the fox was so fluffy that I wanted to give a soft overall feel to the photo. I did add further blur to the right foreground as that little berm of grass did distract from the fox. These blur layers were created in Photoshop, using gaussian blur layers and masks for the fox. The final touch was a slight vignette to draw the eye in.
In my camera bag
I am primarily a nature photographer so regardless of system I always have a long telephoto, macro, and selection of landscape telephoto lenses. At the time of this image I was a Nikon shooter, but now I use Sony's Alpha a7R II and III bodies. I carry Sony's 100-400 and a X2 teleconverter, 90mm macro, 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-300mm and a Venus Optics Laowa 12mm for super wide angle landscapes and star shots. These sizes are the same as when I used the Nikon D810. I also use Really Right Stuff tripods, heads and L-plates.
Feedback
In the end, this image is proof that you should always have your camera with you and be prepared for any opportunity that may come your way. Some people are fortunate to live somewhere with grand scenery or wildlife to photograph everyday, but most of us have limited time or opportunities to capture that lucky shot. Being prepared and actively seeking those chance shots will tighten your awareness of the world around you as well as giving you the chance to have an image you will cherish.

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