A Short Story

A Mutual Respect

A few months ago in the heat of one of the UK’s hottest summers, I went out into the Lincolnshire countryside with my camera (Canon EOS-1D X) and a long lens (Canon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXT) to see what I could photograph. My camera & lens were attached to a monopod (Gitzo GM5561T). As time progressed, it became so hot that I decided to seek shelter under a pair of Sweet Chestnut trees and take on some much needed water. I had already primed my camera (f7.1 1/640 ISO 1000), lent up against one of the trees and just drifted into meaningless thought. Suddenly and without warning, two Fox cubs emerged from a wooded area directly opposite and walked into a grassy clearing directly in front of me. They stopped no more than 30 metres away from me.

Fortuitously, they couldn’t see me because I was shrouded in deep shadow beneath the canopy of Sweet Chestnut trees. They couldn’t smell me either because I was downwind of them. Instinctively, I started taking photographs – I was so pleased that I had previously primed my camera! Whilst in full flow, I quickly glanced at my camera settings to make sure that I had got them correct – I only needed to make the smallest of adjustments. The Fox cubs continued to play – only momentarily stopping from time to time to re-position themselves before the start of their next play fight.

Without warning, they stopped – the female Fox cub ran back into the wooded area. The male stood his ground. My cover was blown! He must have heard the clicking of my camera!! Nonetheless, he was curiously inquisitive – I continued to take photographs. I was convinced he still hadn’t seen me. He moved closer to me … and then, even closer until his eyes adjusted to the shadow and he saw me. He stopped about 5 metres away from me and defiantly looked into my eyes. I returned the eye contact. Then slowly turning, he proudly and deliberately walked away. After a few seconds, he looked back over his shoulder as if to say “it was good to see you” I replied by saying “it was really good to see you also, my little friend!”

I will never forget that chance meeting – an absolute privilege – stay safe my little friend.

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