Environmental Portraits and Arctic Fox

Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) in its environment

Up until a while ago, the dominating trend in wildlife photography was shooting tight, delivering images that showed the animal up close, whether they were portraits or action shots. While tight shots are by all means still relevant and utilized by photo editors, a more recent trend has been that of the so-called environmental portraits, that is photographs that show the animal not in isolation but in the broader context of the ecosystem it is a part of.

There certainly is merit in this trend, in that through such images viewers take in much more about the animal than they could from a tight shot. Viewers have a better and more visual idea of the conditions and the geography the animal lives in: in other words, they get a more complete story about the subject.

The above image of an arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) in the barren lands in proximity to the shores of the Hudson Bay (Canada) exemplifies the notion of an environmental shot. I will post in the future closer images of the same species that show the animal’s body features from up close (if you are interested, you can view a selection of them right away on my Web site), but this photograph immediately tells you what animal we are talking about as well as something about the environment it lives in and its camouflage ability.

So, if you are pulling together your wildlife photography portfolio, it is a good idea to include both tight shots and environmental portraits, so as to add some variety and tell a more compelling story about your subjects.

If you would like to see more images of mine, feel free to browse my Galleries.

As per my copyright notice, please respect my work and do not download, reproduce or use the image above without first seeking my consent. Thank you :-)


15 thoughts on “Environmental Portraits and Arctic Fox

  1. Dina ♥

    Dear Stefano,
    this is excellent, I love this post and I’m looking forward to the next ones. This composition of color and harmony is perfect, your image is a treat for sore eyes. Just to think they once were bald born…Have e great weekend!
    Love Dina

  2. wildermanonrollingcreek

    Awesome! I saw a clip on Stumbleupon about a year ago: an Arctic Fox watching a place in the snow, and then, jumping up into the air, almost like a swan dive, his head going into the snow, and coming up with something with four legs for a snack. This is a beautiful animal, and this looks like a great shot. Peace.

    1. Stefano Post author

      Thank you very much for your comment!
      And yes, watching a fox pounce on a prey is a real treat.
      Take care and thank you for visiting!

    1. Stefano Post author

      Thank you, Heather: yes, you absolutely got one of the key points of the shots, which is to show how evolution made these animals adapt perfectly to their environment, so that they really blend in. Great point!

  3. maureenjenner

    Wonderful shots and these beautiful animals lived to be shot by many more cameras while still keeping their skins. Your photographs give so much pleasure. Thank you.

  4. ChgoJohn

    Another great shot, as well as those in the accompanying gallery. Although your close-up shots are extraordinary, allowing us to see, for example, the varying colors of the animal’s snout & face, there’s a lot to be said for the “setting” shots. Having to search for the arctic fox in that one photo underscores the effectiveness of its coat. This was a great post, one that I really enjoyed. Thanks, Stefano.

    1. Stefano Post author

      Thank you once again for your very acute comment, John: isn’t it great camo indeed? It really forces you to focus on the landscape to spot the animal.
      One other shot that really shows the arctic fox camo ability is this one: http://tinyurl.com/csecdzq where there are two foxes and you really have to squint to spot at least one of them! 🙂


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