Showcase: Occasionally, you’ll shoot that one photo that really stands out above the rest. Sometimes it can be totally unexpected, and you don’t even realize it until you see the photo on your computer. Other times, you can see the photo falling into place allowing you to click the shutter button at the exact moment that you know you’ve caught your own personal masterpiece. Ever so often I’m going to showcase some of what I personally think are interesting and pretty cool photos I’ve taken, with a bit of info behind the photo and how it all came into place.
Just like the right place at the right time capture with the little burrowing owl that I posed a few months ago, this little squirrel gave me one of the best photo ops of any animal, and it was all by happen chance, and of all places it was a parking lot at the Disneyland Resort.
I had gone to the Disneyland theme park here in Southern California to take some photos of the characters in the park. I was only going to be at the park for a very short time, and I was running a bit late getting to the park, so I decided to park in Downtown Disney (or DTD as it’s abbreviated) where you can park for three hours for free. It’s a lot quicker to walk from DTD to the Disneyland theme park rather than park in the giant parking structure and take the trams. After going into Disneyland to take the photos and finishing what I needed, I returned to the Downtown Disney parking lot and walked out to my car. About half way to my car, I noticed some movement in the corner of my eye. I looked over and saw a rather good sized Squirrel staring up at me from the road. He was off to my left behind a car, just looking up at me. I also noticed that he wasn’t moving as I got closer to him. Realizing he was probably used to humans and didn’t have that fear which would make most squirrels run when a human approached, I decided to go around him. As I past him he just stared up at me, as if to ask if I had any food (or perhaps change) to spare. Now past the little guy, I continued on to my car and glanced back at the squirrel… to find he was following me.
I couldn’t help but laugh, looking back and seeing that little squirrel looking up at me and following me through the parking lot. I’d walk forward and stop, and the little guy would walk forward and stop as well. I had instantly made a new friend. I swung around and tried to get a few shots, but I guess he wasn’t ready for his close up as he’d keep moving, making him a bit hard to shoot. Perhaps I wasn’t shooting his best side. Continuing on to my car, I realized as I reached it and went to open the door that the squirrel was RIGHT behind me. I was afraid that if I were to open the door he might hop inside. Aside from the fact I’d rather not have some sort of rabies from getting bit had he jumped into my car, I didn’t think the little guy would let me keep him as a pet. So, I decided to try and get him out of the parking lot and over to a nearby tree. Turning towards the tree, he took the bait and as I got closer to the tree ran up it. It was then that I realized this little squirrel was a perfect photo opportunity, and so I decided to quickly get my camera ready and see what I could get out of this little squirrel.
Thankfully, I had been shooting with my large 100-400mm Canon telephoto lens, so it was easy to pop that back onto my camera to get some nice close ups of the squirrel up the tree. I think that in the time I was getting my camera ready the little guy must have made sure he was presentable, as once I raised my camera he started to give me all sorts of photo opportunities. But of all the shots I got that afternoon, by far it’s the photo that’s featured in this showcase that stands out the most. Naturally I was making little sounds to get him to look at me, and in this case he tilted his head with a little ‘hmm?’ sort of puzzled look. It’s that classic animal head tilt that always makes everyone go ‘awwwww!’ Though, I have to wonder if it was the squirrel just trying to figure out why this human was making all these funny noises and aiming this massive canon camera at him with a huge lens that’s making clicking noises. The little guy proceeded to do all sorts of things, probably realizing I’m not a threat and I have no food for him. From cleaning himself to rubbing his little paws together and stretching on the tree, it was a great little photoshoot.
Probably the best squirrel photos I can ever hope to get, this little guy was quite the photo stud. For the rest of the 15 minutes that I ended up shooting with him, he ran all over the tree, up and down it as well, and spent a lot of time just staring at me. Eventually, he ran down the tree and under some cars nearby, and that was the last I saw of him. I often wonder, when I go into the Downtown Disney parking lot, whatever happened to the little guy. It’s a pretty dangerous place to be hanging out, especially with as busy as the Downtown Disney parking lot can get on weekends. Hopefully this Disney squirrel made it to somewhere safe, perhaps even took refuge with Chip and Dale in Toon Town. Wherever you are now little guy, thanks for the photos!
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