Monday, August 24, 2009

Encounter at Dusk - Red Fox

I spotted this fox out of the corner of my eye as Sandi and I drove back to our camp at Yardie Creek after a late afternoon outing to photograph kangaroos and euros. The light had faded to the extent that we’d given up on 'roo photos for the day, but I decided that as I don’t often encounter foxes I should take my chances with the camera regardless of the poor light. Of course, zoom lens or no zoom lens, this was never going to be as easy as winding down the car window and clicking away while he posed obligingly.

Sandi pulled onto the shoulder of the road and, seeking to emulate a dashing and much younger David Attenborough, I leapt out of the passenger's seat dramatically (I've always wanted to do that!) and took off after Reynard as he turned in the direction of the nearby escarpment. I must say, he didn’t seem too concerned at the sight of an unfit, middle-aged Two Legs pursuing him with a camera and he trotted off sedately, safe in the knowledge that I’d only ever head him off in my dreams. Even in the dim light I’m sure I detected a grin on his face as I stumbled over the rock-strewn slopes. The degree of difficulty was enhanced by the fact that in the increasing gloom I wasn’t game to take my eyes off him in case he melted into the rocks and shrubbery for good.

My meagre reward for risking life and limb was three or four not-very-good photographs, the last of which features his rear end as he finally grew tired of our little game and disappeared over a ridge of rock, leaving me out of breath and grinning stupidly below.

Where the resulting painting is concerned, I began it with doubts in my ability to portray the scene successfully given the state of the light at the time and a poor reference photo. However, with the encouragement and guidance of e-friend and fellow blogger Dean Richards, I've exaggerated the contrast a little and will try to suggest a last glimmer of sunlight so that the fox - and the viewing public - are not left entirely in the dark.

My rationale for not featuring the fox more prominently has to do with the circumstances under which I spotted him; he allowed me a glimpse at best, which is often my experience with the animals I encounter. In that context then, the painting reflects this reality and reinforces the fact that we don't always find wildlife when and where we expect to.

With luck I'll complete this painting tomorrow. As a final step, I'll adjust tonal values - hopefully without losing the sense that the setting is at dusk.



April Jarocka said...

Come on Peter, admit it. You just HAD to paint rockwalls again!!!
Lovely painting.

Peter Brown said...

April, you know me too well!

Sally McLean said...

Lovely story you should be a writer although a picture tells a thousand words!! Great painting. It shows how vast the landscape is against the tiny fox. It makes you wonder how any creature can live in such a harsh environment.

siete said...

Peter, I find fantastic this work, despite the fact that you want to finish it with more contrast or something similar.
I've been seeing your works and love the way you use graphit and conte....¡Bravo!

I send you a hug with my admiration from Bask Country.


Peter Brown said...

Thanks Sally! I'm constantly amazed at the quantity and variety of wildlife present along the Cape Range, particularly as it appears so lifeless at first glance.

Peter Brown said...

Enrique, thanks for your kind comments, and for the hug!

I looked at your blog and was very impressed with your watercolours - they are truly fantastic. If only I could understand Spanish!

siete said...

Peter, you have a translator in my blog, use it, please, I think it'll be usefull....Thanks foir visiting my blog.

Another hug.


Peter Brown said...

Enrique, excelente - gracias!

Dos abrazos hoy!

Gary Keimig said...

very well done, Peter.
I did a 6 mile pretty streuous hike today photographing waterfalls and cascades south of Dubois and took a number of photos with your water paintings in mind. Might have a go at it one day soon.

Peter Brown said...

Gary, from what I see of your beautiful surroundings, I don't think suitable painting subjects would be hard to find. Whatever you decide to paint, I know it'll be worth waiting for.

DennyHollandStudio said...

Peter, you are still "rockin'" it!


Michael Bailey said...

Looking at your painting the first thing I thought was how farspread the red fox is around the earth! From Europe to North America to Australia(I'm sure there are distinct species differences)but it still amazes me as to the "slyness" of the fox (paraphrasing the old saying)to adapt to such diversity and survive in all of it.

Oh yeah, the painting is great too! :)

A quick question though about your blog...I like the translator gadget you are using but have not found it at all in Google Gadgets. I am starting to get followers from several countries both here and through the Networked Blogs app on Facebook and would love to have a translator for them. I have tried many of the translators offered and they just do not work like the one you use does. Is there a special place to go to get this code? I like not having a contrasting background and letting the black of the blog template show through as yours does. If you cannot direct me to the site for it could you paste the code into an email and send it along?

Peter Brown said...

Thanks for visiting Michael.

I'm not sure whether the fox has an adverse effect on other country's environments, but in Australia they cause absolute devastation to our smaller native marsupial species. Where fox numbers have been controlled by baiting, native species have recovered remarkably well. Efforts continue to find a means of controlling foxes using genetic engineering techniques.

You can find the code for the translation gadget here on the excellent Tips For New Bloggers blog.