Wildlife In My Backyard

As you probably know from looking at my website photographs, I mostly enjoy shooting landscape and travel images. I photograph other things and events, of course, and even get images I really like, from time to time. But I spend most of my time trying to improve the images that I get from spending time outdoors and/or traveling – that which I enjoy most.

Like most people, I take photos of family when I can and even use my phone sometimes, especially if its the only camera I’ve got handy. So, for instance, I took some random (‘real camera’) photos at my eldest son’s wedding this year, but I would be frightened beyond belief if I were actually responsible for successfully photographing anyone’s wedding (and, therefore, I will never let it happen).

I also try to make it clear that I am not a wildlife photographer. That means I don’t go out of my way to seek out animals in the wild and photograph them. When it happens that I’m in the same vicinity as a wild animal (not necessarily a dangerous wild beast – just something that is not a domesticated animal) I will try to capture an image if I can. And, as I’ve mentioned in another blog post, I decided that I had enough wildlife shots spread across several albums to create a new Special Subject section for Wildlife on my site.

Having said all that, I have to admit that this December, while (again) watching squirrels scamper around the trees and other objects in our backyard, I decided it might be worth a bit of effort to photograph them. But squirrels are, well… kind of ‘squirrely’. They don’t stand still but jerk around even when they aren’t climbing or running. They don’t stay long in one place. And if any of us gets anywhere, not just near, but in the same vicinity as them, they run away. They are, in a word, difficult to photograph.

Since we sometime feed them (mostly with shelled walnuts that have started to smell like they are turning rancid – but which the squirrels like just fine), I “baited” a part of our backyard near a glass door with a couple of small, separate piles of walnuts and just waited. And, it worked like a charm.They started to show up within minutes.

We have a few different kinds of squirrels – I don’t know if they are different species or just come in different colors. Probably the most unusual are the Black Squirrels. This guy actually stood still just a few feet from the glass door I stood behind while he munched away on a tasty nut (you can actually see the walnut crumbs on his paws in the image). Although the others did manage to eventually get some nuts for themselves, the Black one initially tried running them off (that was why we made more than one pile – to help them share). I managed to get a photo of what I call the Brown one while he lurked on the top of the BBQ waiting for his chance while watching the Black one eating. And the (kind of) Grey Squirrel also watched from his perch on the trunk of one of our Tree Ferns.

These photos now live on my website in the San Francisco Bay Area section, inside the Places menu item but can also be found currently in the What’s New section and in the Wildlife section inside the Special Subjects menu item.


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