Over the course of the last week I have going pretty much non stop. Doug Gardner was in town with the film crew for Wild Photo Adventures and we were shooting an episode for season 4 of the show. The only problem however was that weather had other plans for us. Day after day were were pummeled by rain and gale force winds from a sub-tropical storm that was inching its way past the Carolina coast. Much of the first part of the week was litterally spent staring out the windows of hotels while we waited from breaks in the outer bands of the storm so that we could shoot. Once the system finally moved off however, it was immediately followed up by a cold front and more overcast skies.
Maybe someone was feeling sorry for us upstairs because the last day of shooting revealed this mother red fox and her four kits in the sand dunes. I have been watching this den site for sometime now. First there was one hole, then two, then three. . . I knew that there was some sort of activity going on but until now the vixen had alluded me. This is not so surprising as foxes are stealthy and when attempting to raise young they do their best to try not to bring attention to themselves as predation on young can be high.
When we first spotted the mother fox it was just me and photographer / cinematographer Eric Horan. Slowly we began to inch out way up into place with my truck. As this den sight was relatively close to a sand road behind the dune, I assumed that she might be somewhat habituated to vehicles at this point but did not want to push it by climbing out of the suburban. At first she appeared to be nervous and we thought that it might be best if we simply moved on so that we didn’t disturb the den. However, all of a sudden here comes two of her kits charging down the dune after each other in play. Bringing my lens back to mom, I saw that she was completely relaxed now even with her kits just 20 yards away from us.
Doug and the other camera man were about 10 miles south of us on the beach filming horses at this time. After about 45 mins of filming and photographing the mother and her kits Doug finally got through to us on his cell phone and when I told him what was going everyone dove into his Tahoe and raced up the beach to our location. With two trucks now in place and the rest of the crew setting up on tripods it was now apparent that we had spent enough time here with her that she was going to allow us to work outside the vehicles. Over the course of the next hour, when the skies became overcast again, we made some incredible images of these beautiful canines.