There are 12 true species of foxes and they can be found on all continents around the globe. The red fox, Vulpes vulpes, is the largest of the true foxes and the most abundant wild member of the Carnivora, being present across the entire Northern Hemisphere from the Arctic Circle to North Africa, North America and Eurasia. Fox habitats vary widely and as such thrive in forests, mountains and grasslands and urban areas.
A few fox facts that every photographer should familiarize themselves with:
- The tip of the tail is always white. Tips of their ears and feet are always black.
- Fox have vertical pupils which are very typical for creatures that are nocturnal (active at night) In addition to excellent night vision, foxes have an excellent sense of smell and hearing.
- A foxes slender body allows it to run up to 30 mph which allows it to chase gown prey.
- Foxes prefer meat and are important predators of prolific prey species like mice, rats, and rabbits Fruits and berries are also on the menu when meat is in short supply.
- Foxes dig underground dens, which they use to avoid predators and raise their young.
- Typical predators of foxes are wolves, coyotes, bears and mountain lions.
- Foxes are quite vocal, exhibiting various barks, howls, and whines. The sounds vary from a short, sharp “yap” or bark, followed by a “yap, yap,” to a combination of screeches, yells, and long howls.
- Red foxes tend to be solitary, usually hunting alone. They can be active at any time of day, but appear to hunt most often during dawn and dusk. It is not unusual to observe foxes during daytime. They remain active all year and do not hibernate.
- Foxes mate once per year. The peak of the mating season is in January. During that time, foxes produce screeching sounds that can be heard during the night and in the early hours.
- Pregnancy lasts 53 days and it ends with 3 to 6 pups. They are unable to see, hear or walk in the first couple of days of their life and depend completely on their mother.
- When babies grow enough to be able to eat meat, the female fox also referred to as a Vixen will begin to vomit swallowed food to feed her pups.
- A fox will live up to 3 years in the wild and up to 10 years in captivity.
Fox Photography – Tips For Getting Great Fox Pictures.
- Bundle up and embrace winter. A foxes coat is at its absolute best visually during winter and there’s nothing quite as beautiful as a fox picture taken during a snowfall.
- I shoot f/4 for single fox subjects and take it out to f/8 or f/11 for multiple subjects. For action shots try to keep the shutter speed above 800 increasing your ISO as required.
- Fox photography can be done in every season although I tend to avoid the heat of summer as foxes are very inactive in the heat. Fox pups are just coming out of the den in June so make sure you plan a photography outing to capture these cute little bundles in their first few weeks.
- Focus on the foxes eye always. You’ll hear this tip repeated for every species you photograph, focus on the eye is key to getting award winning fox pictures.
- The very best wildlife photography images are usually taken at the subjects eye level or shooting upwards. Example, the fox is on a ridge above your shooting position. Get accustomed to lying on the ground when photographing fox so you are at eye level.
- Pay attention to the backgrounds. Coniferous trees with snow and fall colours out of focus make wonderful backdrops for fox pictures. When shooting a fox in captivity pay attention to man made objects like fences. poles, etc. so they are not included in your image.
- Take a variety of lenses with you. I shoot everything from a 24-70 to 600mm and everything in between. Shooting with different lenses yields varied perspectives and that makes for a more interesting and diversified portfolio.
- Don’t forget to go vertical every once and a while especially with single subjects that are beside tall vertical objects likes rocks or trees. Often the front cover of a magazine or calendar is looking for a vertical shot so mix it up.