Wait for the Moment
An affectionate moment between kit and parent
Without fail, someone always says "Wow, were you ever lucky to get that shot". Lots of people think when someone gets a good photo it is luck, they just happened to be at the right place and at the right time. If that is the case, then the top photographers are extremely lucky. The reality is they make their own luck.
Getting that great shot takes patience and planning. Most great photographers have a list of photos they want to capture during an outing. Maybe they want the moment a bear emerges from its den for the first time in spring, they might be looking for an atmospheric shot showing the struggle of the species in harsh conditions, or an action photo of the lioness jumping after its prey. In capturing this photo I knew ahead of time what I wanted, that intimate tender moment between parent and kit set against a dark background that isolated the subject from its surroundings.
Photo of the den site
I had visited this den site for the last few years and understood the position I needed to be in and the light conditions I wanted to capture this photo. I had observed this family this spring for a while and knew when the kits were most likely to be out and be active. I waited for over an hour focusing on the mom while the kits played and chased each other all over. On occasion, one or two kits would run up to mom, tail wagging, giving her a nuzzle, and then rejoin its siblings. They gave nice shots but not THE shot I was looking for. By the den is a handful of spruce trees, and a large log pile. The adult foxes frequently sit on the ridge of a series of low hills above the dens as it provides a great vantage point to be on the lookout. Lots of the hill is covered in longer grasses that can obscure parts of the fox and not generate great photo opportunities. On one spot on the hill furthest to the right, the fox can stand and be in front of the spruce trees giving a nice dark background. Still, the fox needs to be in just the right position not to be blocked some of the grasses or have the jutting logs from the pile protrude into the picture.
Zoomed in iPhone photo showing the position of where the parent needed to be on the ridge, at this time the fox is laying in the right spot not blocked by some of the grasses and far enough away from the log pile that it can be cropped out
After almost an hour and a half of watching and waiting the mom positioned herself in the right spot and thankfully while she was still there one of her kits came up to her for a quick nuzzle and I got THE shot, Was there some luck sure, I needed the fox to sit in just the perfect position, but I also had planned the shot. I knew exactly where I needed to be to get the shot and when I needed to be there. I did not let myself get distracted by all the cute fox kit photos I could have taken and then been out of position when the moment happened and I had patience and waited.
Great photos are more planning than luck!
Below are some of the other images captured by staying focused on just the mom and waiting for the moment to get the shot I was looking for.