A local approach me then, and he spoke of "le renard."
I embarked on this particular adventure in January.
With the snow crunching under my feet, I entered Montreal's Botanical Gardens. A familiar feeling of awareness immediately swept over me. This focus is required to detect smaller movements, and it's a necessary skill that I've learned in my earlier years as a nature photographer.
A flock of cardinals scattered above me. Naturally, I pulled out my camera and proceeded to shoot.
A fox has been sighted?
I thanked him quickly and hurried along the trail. I scoured the vicinity for the creature, but to no avail. I settled with some goldfinches that were gathered peacefully at a bird feeder in the park.
Suddenly, a fiery red hue flashed in the distance, distinctly contrasted against the vast, porcelain-white snow. My mind buzzed in silence as I trained the viewfinder on the fox and sent the shutter into a continuous series of clicks. The initial rush subsided when I realized that it had been approaching, its grey marbled eyes focused on some squirrels foraging underneath the bird feeder.
My excitement grew and grew.
Finally he pounced—and failed. Discouraged, the fox disappeared into the bushes, and I was left reeling over what had just happened.
I was still in awe when the fox reappeared—this time less than two metres away from me—with his focus again locked on the squirrels not far off to my right. Step by step, he got closer. He pounced, only to fail again. But before trotting off, he sat in the snow and gave me the stink-eye that you see in this shot.
The personality of each species and each individual is partly why I photograph.
To observe the personality of any animal introduces a means of connection. It helps us understand that they may lead lives as complex as ours. That is why simply seeing the animal is not enough. I crave the experience. For me, this photo is not just a pretty picture, but something to facilitate a deeper understanding of the natural world.
Take a walk in the park. Sit for awhile in your backyard or on your balcony.
Take a walk around campus, and for once, just remain still.
Look a little bit closer, and you may find an Eastern Screech Owl sleeping in a tree. Listen a little bit more intently, and you might hear the cheery song of an American Robin on a spring morning. Observe a little longer, and you will see that that Ring-Billed Gull is a young first-year begging for food, trying to overcome the adversity of this harsh world.
Appreciate that the Painted Lady Butterfly has flown thousands of miles to get to this particular patch of flowers right outside your lecture hall.
If you are willing to find it, there are pockets of nature in the urban jungle that will truly astonish you.