Well, what a lesson that was. And what an experience.

First, the experience. It was lovely. To see a fox so close and for so long.

When I first saw the fox he was just ten feet from me and heading towards me at a walking pace. I fumbled for my iPhone and then realised that I had my camera with me. So I fumbled for that, and meanwhile the fox ducked through a gap in the hedge.

It was not bothered by me at all. It was involved in doing something and I was just scenery in the landscape.

Then my slow wit realised that I could go through the gate and follow it. By that time it was further away, but still ‘just over there’,

The clearest shot was when it stopped to deposit a scent marking – or I think that is what it was doing. I think that little scrape in the ground was already there. And then it jumped up, putting its hind legs far forward, like a kangaroo or a greyhound in full flight. Except it wasn’t in full flight; it was just setting off. It jumped up off the ground as it did so, and then landed on its forefeet.

The third photo shows the full frame that I was shooting. The lens on the camera is 27mm (about 40mm full-frame equivalent) so it doesn’t have much reach.

What A Lesson That Was

And all the time I realised that I couldn’t both shoot quickly enough and at the same time change my camera settings quickly enough to capture sharp images by increasing the shutter speed.

I had the camera on Aperture Priority, so if I could have increased the ISO quickly then that would have automatically increased the shutter speed. But the camera does not have instant access to ISO, which its larger brothers do. As you can see from the photo below, it is a tiny camera.

I have set the function button on the top plate to adjust ISO, but I don’t know the camera well enough to be able to feel it instantly. So the moral of the story is to get to know your camera.

Now that the event has passed, I have been practising with eyes closed to feel the function button on the top plate. It is pretty obvious where it is – right in the corner of the top plate – but it wasn’t in my mind’s eye when I was shooting. In my mind’s eye I could see the shutter button and the ISO dial, but what else what there? I just didn’t know.

I could have taken my eye from the viewfinder to look where the function button is, but then I would have had to put the camera back to my eye to make the change because I had the camera set up so that the changes to the ISO value are only visible in the viewfinder. And the scene was changing so quickly.

Fuji X-E3 seen from above with biro for size comparison
Fuji X-E3 seen from above with biro for size comparison


Following up on what Deb has suggested, I went back to look at the depressions where the fox had stopped. There were two depressions and they were both fox latrines, half-full of fox droppings.

In my enthusiasm I called out to a couple who were passing. As the man walked near, it dawned on me that I was asking someone to come and look at fox droppings. 🙂


  1. Unprepared, or not, a big Congrats on capturing as much of your experience as well as you did of such a lovely, healthy animal, David!
    And yup, I can see in the first (cropped?) frame, that your fox was definitely having a bit o wee David (and fairly certain he is a She; ) Any possibility you could go back and re-examine that depression where she was having that bit of relief? Cause to me it looks as though some animal either has a hidey-hole (or had been digging there fairly recently, at the very least; ) Wondering what sort of place this is, because I think I can see plant stubble… Any possibility some crop has been harvested there recently to expose an animal’s refuge?


    1. What’s that about ‘a picture being worth a thousand words’, lol


    2. There was a big patch of wild flowers there previous time that I was at the Garden. So the hidey-hole, refuge, or whatever it is, would have been hidden among knee-high flowers. I will try to make a point of looking next time I am there. Good sleuthing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Also wondering about the very obvious award of green up the side here… Possibility of these being test plots at the University by chance? Herbicides like Roundup/ Glyphosate leave a very distinct, what I call a ‘scorched earth’ appearance, on a field’s soil… That structure on the right could be a greenhouse of some sort and I’m also quite intrigued by the multiple layers of (bent wood?) in the Quonset Hut-like building on the left. Omg, SO many questions!


    1. Oh, and also just noticed more freshly scattered soil (just slightly darker than the rest) a bit behind the fox (on the very left, upper part of frame) where she’d been scratching. (There are about four of those where you captured her squat)

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The bent wood structure is one of several buildings on the site. The Garden is, to give its full name, The University of Cambridge Botannic Garden, and the Plant Sciences Department runs tests and experiments there. If my brain remembers, I will take some shots of the buildings and do a post about them. I may be wrong, but I don’t think they would use herbicides. There was a foot path that ran through the wild flower meadow when it was there. The green swathe you can see is probably that.

      Liked by 1 person

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