My photography hours over the last week have all been spent underneath a camo cloth, my foxburka. The only time of the year I tend to use it is in spring and I only use it at fox dens. I had promised myself not to let spring go by unnoticed this year, because of too frantic a search and wait for foxes. And thus I only went out once to quickly check on some dens in the area. I was positively surprised to find the telltale signs of inhabitance at the one with the best photographic potential. So I went back, and back, and back. Only during the third long visit did I finally see an adult fox. Not at the beautiful den I was watching, but at a single-pipe den in the open, some 60 meters away. I figured it might be the male who usually lives alone and continued to focus on the multi-entrance den.

Another fruitless morning went by and when I wanted to leave, I saw two cubs at the other den. Much to my surprise, they were not the tiny furballs I had expected, but already fully grown cubs. I have never been succesful with fox cubs this early in May and have never seen cubs this old so early. Their parents must be early maters! I sneaked closer downwind to a better position when the cubs had gone back into the den. After another hour, one cub came out and entertained me for some 15 minutes. In harsh midday light, so I was happy with a passing cloud. Several photos were still completely unsharp because of heat shimmers. But alas, the first shots of the season are in the pocket and I have been rewarded for my endurance. I call that justice.

Another evening visit yielded nothing, I did not get to see anything at all. But I will go back! Foxes: you either love ‘m or hate ‘m. They are by far the most challenging subject I have ever photographed, and while I hate ‘m for giving me such a hard time each year, I keep trying to photograph ‘m because they are such beautiful animals and give me so much joy whenever I see one.

Fox Cub at Den; Canon 5D Mark III w. 500/4L IS and 1.4x; 1/400s at F6.3 and ISO200; tripod, burka