This photo essay is posted at KLM Images.
Closeup vs context
We were lucky enough to view three different foxes at this meet. The third resulted in unusable photos but the first produced a long stream of (zoomed in) closeups and the second one, in almost the same spot, produced more distant shots.
Everyone likes a good closeup of a fox, of course. With a big zoom lens you can often capture fox or rabbit shots like these, when you’re lucky and the stars align, and it’s a great day when that happens. But that’s a hunting success (captured!) more than a photographic success; almost any shot of a fox or rabbit during a hunt would qualify as success, regardless of quality.
In the second shot, the fox was much further away and out of very effective reach of my lens. This series of shots aren’t very good fox photos but they are much more interesting hunting photos.
Foxes are small, fast, and tricky. Most importantly, they know their territory, and this setting highlights this. The tree on the left is still living, vs the architectural stump on the right. The fox cares about neither; it’s heading for the woods beyond the fence and the safety of the gullies.
The decisions of hounds
Every now and then you get to see hounds thinking.
The pack has come to the edge of a field with a gap to the next field. A substantial group want to go up the near side of the hedgerow, but the rest disagree. The pack divides hound by hound at the decision point.
Sometimes you can capture amusing scenes of the stand-around-and-wait folks.
There’s not always a lot to see from the chosen hilltop, and what there is can be very far away.
Any meet is likely to throw together folks who know each other as well as strangers gathered for the day all trying to suss out the territory and stay as close to the action as possible. There are introductions and chit chat.
Often there’s not a lot else to do. Even the photographers can be stymied. Bring a flask and make new friends instead of staring at the ground (lemonade for the small fry).
At least you can point out the highlights to your kids. Standing humans are tall and (relatively) thin linear objects. The pointing arm and field edge are strong horizontals.
Standing on the paddock fences adds many more horizontal elements to the mix. The staggered heights of the people helps tie it together in the same way that the staggered overlapping lines of twill weaving hold cloth together (over two and under two).