Natural Reflections .... A Canadian Perspective
Mike Grandmaison, December 19, 2010 at 5:51 AM

 "Like a Mother, the Earth bore us and sustains us, asking little in return but love and respect". I've always loved that phrase by Robert Peters, good friend and excellent graphic designer. Following are anecdotes , meditations , natural reflections and images about the natural world. 


"Arctic fox, Churchill, Manitoba, Canada"


Every good image is a result of thousands of previous trials, some successful and others not so successful. It takes years to develop the skills required to be a the top of your game, whatever that happens to be. I've been photographing for more than 30 years now and I learn something new every time I photograph.





On this particular occasion, I had traveled to Churchill to

photograph polar bears. During our travels on the winter trails along the shore of Hudson Bay, someone in our group spotted an arctic fox. In an instant, all 11 in our group shifted to one side of the tundra buggy to get a glimpse of the fox and hopefully make a few photographs. I opted to go outside on the deck at the rear of the buggy where it was less crowded. It was very cold, with a good wind chill to boot.


The fox scurried about through backlit grasses covered in hoarfrost. It was a beautiful sight to behold, the sun having just recently peered though the clouds after nearly 6 full days of overcast conditions. I observed the fox for a few minutes, holding my 200-400mm Nikkor zoom lens, boosted by a 1.4x teleconverter mounted on a D300 Nikon body (the equivalent of an 825mm lens). A tripod was not practical here so I balanced the lens on a bean bag on the ledge of the tundra buggy railing. The fox moved about quickly, looking for prey. Finally, it moved into the light! 


I anticipated that the fox might just pounce backwards at some point, as I had observed previously with red foxes at lower latitudes. I would need to react quickly to ever have a hope in hell to capture that moment. Seconds later, the fox did leap backwards and I released the shutter just at the right time, capturing a moment in time that I will never forget.


Afterwards, the fox began to dig a hole in the snow, sensing that food might be in the offering. I made a couple of exposures as it dug deeper and deeper, to a point when it totally disappeared underneath the snow.  Years of practice shooting animals, moving combines, etc had prepared me well for that moment. There is often a little "luck" involved as everything comes together for that one memorable image. As Louis Pasteur once said, "Chance favours the prepared mind".