Gray Fox *Image heavy* Long post

Joined
Aug 15, 2008
Messages
1,420
Location
St. Louis, MO
I have not been active enough on this side of the Wildlife forum here. I love shooting mammals, though most of my time is spent chasing winged critters! I have been working on this project for a while now.

While doing some construction work at my parents home...they told me they were seeing a Gray Fox in their yard. I inquired more and requested that they take special care to note when they saw it next and where. Over the next several weeks, the routine started to take shape. I began spending evenings out there keeping an eye out for them. I finally had enough watching the Fox without my gear and decided on exactly where I wanted my blind.

The other night I sat it up where I thought I could get some super killer shots. I got in the blind at 3 p.m. that day. It was 6:50 when I first saw the Fox sneaking through the underbrush. She was on her way back to the den (which we have located), but did not have any food in her mouth, alas, another hunt that was not a success.

In my blind I set up 2 chairs, 1 for me, the other for gear. I thought I would try to capture images with a double set up. I had my 600Vr tripod mounted, and I had my 200-400VR ready to use handheld. As it turned out...it was a good idea to have the 200-400 on the ready.

This beatiful female Gray Fox stepped out and soon as I started taking images...she heard the shutter and looked at me. The hearing on these animals is amazing.

#1
D300s, 600VR, f/4, ISO 400, 1/200th
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Here she is working her way closer, always hunting and listening to what is going on.

#2
f/4, ISO 400, 1/160th (loosing light to the shade and setting sun)
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One little squeak with my mouth brought her out of the shade and into some nice evening light.

#3
f/4, ISO 400, 1/400th
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Here she is looking over behind one of my fathers sheds. The gravel leads to there.

#4
f/4, ISO 400, 1/800th (better light still)
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She walked out a ways and decided to rest a bit. I thought I would use the 200-400VR for a bit more enviroment for this shot.

D300, 200-400VR, handheld, f/4, ISO 400, 1/125th
#5
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Here is one I am fond of. This was taken when she came up super close to the blind. (What a beauty she is) at 18 yards from my blind.

Back using the 600VR tripod mounted.
#6
f/4, ISO 400, 1/640
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It seems that their routine is to take turns hunting. The very next night...I was in my blind again...and within 5 minutes or so from the previous night, the male stepped out into view. This particular night was not good at all for photography. We had storms all around us, heavy cloud cover, windy, etc... I decided to try it anyway and for the first time EVER...decided since the light was so crappy, I would set up Auto ISO. That way, if action picked up when the light was failing...I could then not worry about adjusting my ISO to gain some shutter speed, I could just concentrate on making the shots. It turned out pretty good, I think.

#7 Mr. Gray Fox in horrible light
D300s, 600VR, f/4, ISO 1600, 1/125th, +.3EV full frame
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With a simple squeak again with my mouth, he CHARGED right toward me, to within 10 yards for a moment.

#8
f/4, ISO 720, 1/160th, +.3EV
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Here the male is looking around, taking special notice of the rooster in the pen at the neighboring farm making lots of noise:smile:

These were taken with the D300, 200-400VR all handheld

#9
f/4, ISO 900, 1/160th, +.3EV
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#10
f/4, ISO 1100, 1/160th, +.3EV
6593_L.jpg
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Here he came quite close and I zoomed in too 400mm for this head shot. Full frame on the vertical size.

#11
f/4, ISO 1600, 1/160th, +.3EV
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And to close this thread out...one I really like of this guy...back with my 600VR, for a tight head shot.

#12 f/4, ISO 800, 1/160th, +.3EV
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Hope you enjoyed. I will be out there every evening I can (tonight included:wink:). There are 2 pups...growing quickly. The den is located underneath a 1 room log cabin that was built by my Great Aunt and Uncle back in the 1930's. We are staying away from the den so they don't get pressured and move. In time, I believe the pups will go along on one of these hunts...and I hope to be waiting there in the blind for them.:cool::biggrin:
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2006
Messages
20,041
Location
TX originally from Louisiana
Dang! What a beautiful bunch of photos, documentary to go with it and I"m wishing I could come up there and shoot some too! These are all so good, I can't even claim a favorite - THEY'RE ALL FAVORITES! LOL Keep em comin Jason! I can hardly wait for more!
 
Joined
Jun 25, 2009
Messages
241
Location
Northern VA
Fantastic set, Jason. My favorites are #1 and #3. Sounds like you're having a great time, and thanks for letting us vicariously share in the fun. Those looked like some real magic moments.
 
Joined
Oct 7, 2007
Messages
132
Location
Maryland
These are really nice Jason. Well done! I particularly like #6. Thanks for sharing your experiences with these beautiful animals.
 
Joined
Dec 31, 2005
Messages
1,147
What a terrific series. Last year, I was privileged to have a family of Grey Foxes set up housekeeping in a dense section of trees/foliage along the perimeter of our back yard. It was a wonderful experience that provided a number of good photo ops as well as just being able to enjoy monitoring their progress through the spring and summer.

I think you'll find that they come to keep fairly predictable hours when you can expect to see them (basically sunset and sunrise, plus or minus a bit). I look forward to seeing more of your photos of your foxes!
 
Joined
Aug 15, 2008
Messages
1,420
Location
St. Louis, MO
Thanks for all the replies. Its been alot of fun photographing these. Some long waiting time in the blind, but the few minutes they are around make it all worth it.

Hope to continue to get some shots. My goal is to photograph one with some prey in its mouth returning to the den.
 

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