Winter Fox

Winter Fox

Written by: Simon Palmer | Posted on: | Category:

Art House image

In the past people have asked about this image. I've always enjoyed the fascination that people have with this picture, because it speaks of the character of the fox. Slightly hidden from view, observing the world, on the lookout for the next meal. The opportunist in nature.

An animal that is amazingly beautiful but manages to polarise the viewers into two obvious "marmite" categories. You either love them or hate them!

I'm not going to get into that side of the discussion, I want to take some time to examine the image and discuss my "creating" of it.

This is a new series of blogs looking at my images, and perhaps looking at classics from well known artists as the fancy takes me!😂

The background to this image was that I went to the British Wildlife Centre in Lingfield. They have an amazing array of animals living in recreated animal habitats that you have the chance to watch, and photograph. This fox along with a few others were out and about and "posing".

My thoughts when taking the images was that they would look like any others taken there. I wanted to avoid this. This was quite early on in my playing with software, and I was also working on the practice of pre-visualisation. A lot has been written about how developing your thoughts on an image before you've taken it can be a very successful way of enhancing the end product. In fact, the photographer I cite as being the inspiration for me getting into taking photographs in the first place practiced this art (Ansel Adams).

I am a big fan of monochrome too, however, I'm also like exploring colour manipulation in context of the subject. I've used this on occasion, with my early attempts being more blunt force than subtle handling. So how did I approach this particular image? I've mentioned that I didn't want a "me too" image. A Fox with a green background, staring at the camera. Well, on top of that I wanted my subject to be there but be more representative of its nature. Exploring the possibility of achieving this by using the maxim "Less is more" which has always appealed to me (sadly not always achieved though).

Again like Marmite, the use of colour popping is seen to be a poor mechnical tool to achieve focus in an image's subject. The argument is that you wouldn't need to use the technique, if you could compose the image in a way that brought the viewer to the ideal conclusion of what you are achieving in making the image. However, in a situation where you want to create a piece of art, instead of documentary work I think it is perfectly accpetable. Besides, never wanting to nod my head in agreement, and feeling more content to pursue the question "why is that the case?". I will use the tool if it makes sense to me.

I could argue that in this case I wasn't using colour popping, but actually desaturating selective colours. The fox was in a gorse bush, predominantly green. Removing the colour from that channel in the editor made this image happen. It also gave it a wintery feel as the removal of colour brought on the grey/silver qualities of a winter scene. That's why the image has the name "Winter Fox". It is also classified as an Art House image, and not a natural one. Something you will get used to as you read further blogs is my requirement to classified images that are available by letting the viewer know that this particular image has been manipulated. It is also the classification I would use for animals that are not in the wild, and are essentially captive.

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