Critique Club Critique
Beautiful animal, like the focus on the snout - the b&w conversion seems to have detracted in this instance.
Photograph Information, Technicals & Composition Review
There seems to be some under & overexposed areas, which make me wonder whether this contributed to your choice to convert to b&w. I find the areas distracting that are overexposed, especially in the b&w. The b&w itself, I wonder whether some further processing and refinement, including some added drama/depth in certain areas, would have allowed the image to pop and come to life more.
I have just moved to another monitor to verify whether the dodging on the eyes that I was seeing was due to the monitor or not, and it is the same on this other monitor. I am not an advanced pp user, so suggest asking around for advanced help, but as a suggestion, if the eyes were dark and you were trying to lighten them, without making them opaque, perhaps creating a separate layer (or two) and using curves to adjust - all this should be ok under Advanced Editing.
I did a quick 10 minute edit on your image:
(temporary, will be removed in a few days)
I used 3 layers, one on the eyes (curves up), one on the overexposed fur at the rear (curves down), deleted the areas that I didn't want to keep, sharpened all (hard to work with this size file) and added a touch of contrast up on the final merged image/layers. Finally, I removed the border and resized back to 800. Feel free to comment on this edit or totally disregard it ";)" - I'm only trying to give a visual backup to my suggestions.
The other two suggestions would be, shoot in RAW (I can't see that you did with this, based on your comments) and then you can have two exposure proofs to work with. Perhaps a deeper depth of field would also help with getting the details. The time of day, when the light is better placed, may also help you get an advantage.
Comments, Score & Placement Review
26/378 in a Free Study is a very strong placement,, along with a good solid score of 6.44. An average score of 7.75 from your commenters is also very good and gives you a truthful look at how they scored you. You didn't really receive any criticism (constructive or otherwise) in your comments, nor really anything that gives you an indication of what really appealed to the voters, besides of course the animal itself - Arctic Foxes are beautiful creatures.
A nicely composed image, however I see much more potential in the image - just a little more depth and/or drama, or a variation in tones to add some interest, not sure. That is personal taste though and if this was your vision exactly, then that's ok - of course.