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The Curious Case of the Mousing Fox

What a fantastic way to end the year, 2011! The first week of December saw my mousing fox images appearing heavily in the National and International Press and even a brief appearance on UK television. At the height of which I was getting texts, tweets and Facebook messages coming in all over the place from people that had spotted them. An incredible result given when I had originally taken them, I foolishly wrote them off! Let me explain.

EDIT: I’m delighted to say, almost a year after I wrote this original post, one of the images ‘Snow Pounce’ had some success in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

My mousing fox sequence of images that hit the national and international press in a big way in December 2011

My mousing fox sequence of images

When I took these of images initially, I’m now embarrassed to say my reaction was disappointment that my favourite shot in the sequence wasn’t sharp enough. I even blogged about it, and called the original article ‘The Shot That Got Away‘. A couple of photographer friends (and even my wife!) had said it was a great sequence of images regardless. But it was too late. In my head I had convinced myself which image should have been the best and because it wasn’t up to my standards for image sharpness (the standards that stupidly declare, if it can’t be printed 50 feet wide it’s not worth keeping – but that’s a whole different blog post) I deemed the whole lot as an ‘almost’ opportunity and left it at that. What I should have done was see the bigger picture, I should have thought outside the box a little and seen them as the story telling mechanism they are rather than the single image I wanted. But, I’m sure I’m not the only one who can appreciate that sometimes when it comes to your own work, you can’t see things for what they really are and and it’s all too easy to get hung up on what could have been rather than what could be.

Thankfully, an email I received towards the end of November helped me do just that.

THE POWER OF TWITTER

I was contacted by Rex Features, the photo agency, asking if I’d be interested in trying to get some press coverage on the images. A nice lady who works there called Harriet had come across my Twitter profile, followed a link to my blog and discovered my original post. Initially, I almost said no to this request and even warned them I wasn’t happy with the quality. What a mistake that would have been!

After reviewing the images Harriet deemed them as perfectly fine and they went ‘live’ for press consumption on a Monday morning, and on the Tuesday they appeared on The Telegraph newspapers website here in the UK, both a single image in the ‘photos of the day’ gallery plus the full sequence in their ‘earth gallery’. I was delighted that someone had used them and thought nothing more of it.

Canadian Metro

But it didn’t end there. Everyday from Tuesday to Friday that week I received tweets, emails and Facebook messages from people saying they’d seen them in print in various newspapers and on-line in various picture of the day galleries. The final list at the time of writing this stands at a full page feature and two half page features in the UK press, plus a feature in the International Metro (who also called me for a phone interview about the images) in the editions that went out across Canada and Portugal. The majority of the major UK newspapers websites featured them too plus a couple of extra sites including Yahoo News pictures of the week. And to top it all off, they even made a very brief appearance on television on a lunch time TV show here in the UK on the Thursday.

Some of the UK press coverage

To say I was humbled and delighted is an understatement and you can consider my jaw officially dropped. It’s certainly not the first time I’ve been fortunate enough to have images printed, but I’ve absolutely not had a reception like this before with an almost viral spread in such a short space of time.

TAKE A STEP BACK ONCE IN A WHILE

It’s crazy to think that because of my own silly mind games and preconceptions of what is and isn’t a good image, these photos had sat on my hard drive for almost a year doing nothing with the exception of the original blog post (you know, the one where I said I thought I had missed a great opportunity). But, thanks to Twitter and an email, they’ve now been seen by people all over the world! As photographers we strive for what we individually class as the perfect image and I think sometimes that notion gets taken a little too far, and as a result perfectly good images get dismissed for no good reason. But the curious case of the mousing fox has reminded me of something. And that is that it’s good to take a step back from pixel peeping images at 100% whilst sat 12 inches from the computer screen every once in a while, and try and see your work through someone else’s eyes. Because sometimes, the perfect images are staring you right in the face just waiting for you to see them.

PRINTS AVAILABLE FOR SALE

Off the back of the coverage of these images, I also received a lot of enquiries as to if they were available to purchase as prints, of which I’m happy to say they are. Full details and prints available to buy here.

About the author

Richard Peters is a Surrey based professional wildlife photographer, Nikon Ambassador, and one of the few British photographers to receive the accolade of European Wildlife Photographer of the Year. He is known for a style that often favours dramatic use of light, runs wildlife photography workshops and, from camera clubs to big industry events, holds talks about his work.

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