Dave Gignac is a wildlife and nature photographer in Temagami, Ontario, Canada. His work has been published in many magazines and other publications, including Canadian Geographic Magazine, Detroit Free Press, Photolife Magazine, and Bird Studies Canada.
Editor’s note: This is the third photo story contributed by Dave Gignac. See the first photo story here, and the second one here. I always look forward to hearing how his shots were made and to his different wildlife stories. I don’t know where he finds the time to contribute these posts, but I’m very grateful that he does. I also love hearing from photographers like Dave, who go out and do what they do so successfully and prolifically. Dave Gignac lives on a remote lake in Canada. Many people (even in major cities) fret that they can’t make a go of photography because “the industry” isn’t established where they live. Other people, like Dave Gignac and some others I could name, just go out and do it. Those are the people who have stories to tell.
Dave Gignac’s story: The fox kits illustrate several lessons for photographers. The first is: get known; get the word out that you are looking for wildlife. The opportunity to photograph this fox den came about when a friend who sells my work at her gallery called me, and told me one of her good friends had been watching a den with some fox kits, and she wondered if I would like to bring my camera, and come take a look.
I didn’t move for the entire time I was there. The kits came out, and their initial curiosity eventually led to total comfort with me being there.
“YES! Yes, I would!” was my answer. It’s good to have friends who spread the word of their sightings, and my interest in finding new things to shoot! My first trip to the den did not disappoint. Knowing that kits are most active early in the morning (when they like to let the morning sun warm them after a long cool night in the den), I arrived before sunrise. Sure enough, one by one, out popped the kits. An hour or so in the sun, and they retreated back to the den for the day.
Day two did not go well. I arrived at the same time, only the kits were already out. My car coming down the road scared them back into the den, and they didn’t return above ground for the hour I sat and waited. My bad.
Day three was fantastic. I arrived, found a comfortable distance, and using my car as a blind, lay down next to one of my wheels. I didn’t move for the entire time I was there. The kits came out, and their initial curiosity eventually led to total comfort with me being there. Any sudden motions would have scared them back into the den.
Try it next time you take photos of your kids, and see what difference is made by changing the height of the camera. The lower the better.
Dave Gignac sells fine-art paper and canvas prints of his wildlife and nature work from his home area of northern Ontario.
Photo Stories is a series that provides a look at how our favorite images were made.