Saturday, October 9, 2010

Pic of the Day

    Arctic Fox – Saint Paul Island; Pribilof Islands, Alaska:  The Pribilof Islands are one of my favorite shooting locations.   The four islands that make-up the Pribilof  Archipelago are remote and wild and harbor millions of breeding fur seals and seabirds during the Arctic summer.  I have made five trips to the Pribs, and each one has garnered a lifetime of memories and wonderful shooting opportunities. 
    On one occasion while photographing a least auklet colony near the city of Saint Paul I found myself in the mist of abandoned utility pipes.  The pipes provided excellent cover as I shot the colony.  This particular colony was one of many on Saint Paul and from the numbers I saw must have held many thousands of birds.  The small stretch of rocky seawall where I was shooting was inundated with auklets while flocks of a hundred or more birds were constantly winging in from the sea.
     As I shot frame after frame of the auklets I noticed flashes of movement in my peripheral vision.  Aware that the Arctic Fox on the island love to steal, or worse, urinate on unattended  items  I quickly gathered all my equipment close to my side.  Paying closer attention to the phantom movement I soon saw that the fleeting shadows were indeed a family of Artctic Fox.  The fox were living among the jumble of abandoned utility pipes and I must have been close to the den.
     As I continued to shoot the auklets, the fox kits ran back and forth, over and under, and through the long pipes as they chased and tackled each other.  They were most rambunctious , barley allowing me to get  a shot of their play.  With the kits so close I knew the vixen must me nearby; so I began looking for her.  Sure enough,  I spotted her about thirty feet away peeking out of one of the utility pipes as she kept a watchful eye on me.  With little though I swung the camera around, shot a few frames and then went back to shooting the auklet colony.
    When I arrived home I had a ton of green boxes awaiting my perusal.  Coming home from a long trip and having the film waiting for inspection was like coming home to Christmas, reliving the trip all over again.  I quickly began to sort through the slides, recounting to myself where I had shot each one.  When I opened the box with the fox slides I was happily surprised when I saw the vixen in the utility pipe.  I had remembered shooting the image, but had not thought much about it.  I immediately recognized the image as somewhat special - cute in its on way as the fox was looking directly into the lens.  She was making sure I was no threat to her kits.  
     The next year I entered the image in the Nature’s Best / Cemex International Nature Photography Contest, where it was selected as the winner in the backyard habitat category .  This image was my third win in the Nature’s Best contest, which just goes to prove that good images can just pop-up out of nowhere.  It certainly did for me, while shooting auklets amists a jumble of old abandonded utility pipes.
Nikon F5, Nikkor 500mm  f/4, Fuji Provia
Note:  Also see the “Pic of the Day” post for April 14, 2010

No comments:

Post a Comment