Brian's Photo Blog — Article 376
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Squirreling Around
Tuesday 10 February 2015   —   Category: Shooting

The other day when I went downstairs to make myself yet another cup of tea, I looked out the window to our brick patio where the birds of the neighborhood like to congregate at our hanging bird feeder. But it was not bird that I saw. I was astonished to find a large western gray squirrel about two or three feet up a basketball pole, hanging on for dear life. He was in a position similar to the one shown in the photo to the right (which I took later), but it looked very strange to see him trying to hold on to a black metal pole instead of a tree.

No doubt its nut-sized squirrel brain was surprised and puzzled by his lack of grip on this bizarre black “tree.” After quickly but carefully considering his options, he slid backwards down the pole until he was once again on terra firma. Then the race was on! I ran across the living room to grab my wife’s camera, while the squirrel ran across the backyard to the tree in the photo.

As I was heading back to the window, I called to my thirteen-year-old daughter Olivia, who was homeschooling down the hall, to come quickly for a natural science lesson. Together, we were entertained as we watched the squirrel squirreling around in our backyard.

Once up on the side fence, the squirrel started racing along the top towards the front of the house, with short bursts of speed, and then short pauses in between. Olivia and I had to race from one room to another to keep up with him! Once I had caught up to him, I barely had time to take a picture before he was off again. In some of the shots only part of his body is showing, and numerous times I didn’t even bother to press the shutter release because he was already gone.

After making it to the very front corner of the fence and enjoying the view (see third photo), the squirrel quickly retraced his steps, ran down the tree, then towards the house, stood up on his hind legs in front of the sliding glass door and peeked into our kitchen, and then ran back to the tree. Whew! We were getting dizzy just trying to keep up with him!

Out of the 12 photos I managed to take, I’m presenting four of the best as the inaugural images for the second annual Homemade Images 2015 album. But I have to warn you that the image quality is not a good as I would have liked. There are a few reasons for that.

First of all, the Sony DSC-HX20V pocket camera I was using does not capture RAW images. Second, its image sensor is quite small. Third, the double-paned glass windows I was shooting through definitely degrade the image quality by making it impossible to achieve a sharp focus. Finally, it was cloudy outside, so the camera chose high ISO settings to compensate for the low light.

Despite these handicaps, I’m still fairly pleased with how the final images turned out. They are definitely not perfect, but do they capture some of the fun my daughter and I had as we were squirreling around one day.

This has already been a good year for wildlife photos, and it is not even mid-February yet! You can see all 45 images in the Wildlife 2015 album.
Brian's Photo Blog — Article 376
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