(c) Sloetry

How did you get on with the snow last weekend? I decided to take my camera out at midnight on Saturday and take some snowy London night scenes.

As I neared Wormwood Scrubs, a nice open space in the middle of West London, a fox appeared about 100 meters away. I managed to get a couple of shots of him, and I was pleased at least to have captured the moment.

Unfortunately I don’t have the money for the huge lenses that specialist wildlife photographers have. Not that I suffer from lens envy or anything, but these lenses make anything far away seem really close up. But I made do with what I had and was fairly pleased with what I took, although the photo was more of a scene that included a fox, rather than just a picture of a fox!

The next day I saw a photo that someone had taken that same night of a fox in central London, sitting on a snowy wall. A really stunning shot, and it made me feel particularly inadequate with the effort I had made. When I looked at the specifications of the shot, the photographer hadn’t even used a fancy wildlife lens. It was simply a ‘point and shoot’ camera. The photographer had been in the right place at the right time, with a fox not afraid of people. But he had taken the opportunity presented to him, and took the photo.

I do find urban foxes intriguing. Many view them as pests, but to me it’s a delight to see Britain’s largest wild predator. Where I grew up in Slough I rarely saw foxes. Until recently they never particularly reached where I used to live, and growing up, I would occasionally see one in the car headlights in the countryside on the outskirts of the town, but this was very rare and therefore always meant something when I saw them.

Since moving to London 5 years ago, I’ve come across the urban fox, but to me it’s still a privilege to see them. So imagine my delight a few days ago when I looked out of the window to see a fox asleep in the garden. I instantly reached for my camera of course and snapped away. Because this fox was so close, I was able to make do with a fairly average lens.

I was pretty pleased with the results of the ‘photo shoot’, and as I was taking the shots, I realised that this was the opportunity I had been given to capture. From my slight envy and appreciation of the other photographer’s picture, I realised that photography is often a case of opportunities being seen and taken. And this was mine.

I suppose I could get deep here and compare that with life generally. Sometimes we see others getting and taking their chances. We might be envious, or feel we were not presented with the same opportunity. But chances come to many of us, and when they do, we must be ready to take them.

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