I'll Admit It. I Like Squirrels. - PATGO PHOTO

I'll Admit It. I Like Squirrels.

July 2014

Okay - it's true.  I like squirrels.  I know they're just big rats with pretty bushy tails.  I know they can and probably will be a nuisance. I know they can be destructive and messy. I know they can carry disease.  I know bird lovers hate them because they steal the bird food. I know. I know. I still like them. 

When we first moved into our current neighborhood, I was pretty sure there was only one squirrel scampering along the fences that divided the lots. In hindsight - there were at least two because now there are several squirrels running through our little neighborhood. Yes - squirrels are prolific too. 

A couple of years ago we found that the apples on our beautiful apple tree had been ruined.  The squirrels had been nibbling on them.  They had literally taken a bite or two out of every apple on the tree.  I didn't like them much that year. After doing some internet research, I found that several people had decided to feed the squirrels away from their fruit trees to lure them to food they might like better than the fruit.  It seemed to work for those that had tried it.

We began feeding the squirrels about a year ago and so far our apples have remained bite free. The squirrel box is attached to a tree in our front yard. The apple tree is in the backyard. The squirrel food bill can be quite pricey.  As it turns out it's not just squirrels that raid bird feeders, birds raid squirrel feeders.  So we have had a plethora of miniature wildlife right outside our front room window. Our two cats have been mesmerized by the activity around the tree. 

For me this has become a fun way to practice my photography. The squirrels are particularly amusing.  The braver ones will freeze when they see me in the hope that I won't see them.  This makes it fairly easy to capture some fun photos of them.  Since photography is not my full time job, I don't have a lot of opportunities to photograph wildlife but with the help of my new furry friends I know I'll be better prepared when I have the chance.

I read articles all the time about honing different techniques for photography but the very best way to improve your photography is practice, practice, practice. 

If you're really interested in improving your photography you can't just wait for those opportunities to come to you. You have to make them and you have to make them on a daily basis.  Otherwise when those big moments do come for you, you'll be so busy trying to remember how to use the settings on your camera and remembering all the "rules" that the moment will slip away. When you're spending time on your photography everyday, photography almost becomes like a second language.  You not only begin to see more things to photograph but you think in photography terms.  I don't just see scenery. I see f stops, ISO, shutter speed and white balance. The more you practice, the easier it all becomes. And when it's easier, it's so much more fun. 

So put up a squirrel box or a bird feeder, keep a camera close by, and have some fun.  Just don't be surprised if you find yourself becoming a bit attached to some furry tailed rat Cat Taunters yourself. Consider yourself warned!

You can find more squirrel photos in the gallery "Cat Taunters"

Happy shooting!

A few of the squirrel food raiders.

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