Monthly pic April 2015

Who is that guy? Canon 50D, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM, 1/500, f/5.6, iso 250, handheld.
A recent family visit to Romania gave me the opportunity to once again photograph European Ground Squirrels (Spermophilus citellus). I wanted to add new images after my previous encounter and try some new techniques. In this case: remotely controlled camera’s, fitted with wide angle lenses. Very cool stuff and all. Unfortunately for me… the squirrels where not buying it, no matter whether my set-ups were camouflaged or not. What they did buy however was me slowly walking / crawling up to them in person and photograph them with that same wide-angle. Often they were only 40 cm’s away… How’s that for a pleasant surprise! I took it as personal compliment really :)

Photographing them was a lot of trial and error, with me hauling myself and my gear several times back and forth on foot. Hence, I learned that they like sun, but there shouldn’t be too much wind and they definitely don’t like rain. And although they are diurnal, there are most active from morning till mid-afternoon. Valuable knowledge people… and the distance I had to hike meant a daily good workout as well.

They are very likable creatures and it was good fun observing them. I even took a squirrel home with me… in the form of a skull I found near the entrance of – what was probably – a fox burrow. :) I’m already looking forward to my next visit and new ways to photograph them and their behaviour. Cheers!

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