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How to Capture a Chipmunk

No matter how sneaky chipmunks are, there are always tricks to capture them on camera even if you don't have a long lens

Capturing a chipmunk with your camera can prove a very tricky task, mainly if you don’t have a long lens. As small as they are, the figure of a human being can frighten them to an extreme and they will obviously freak out at any sign of sudden movement, that includes pointing a camera at them. Ergo, it was always impossible to photograph these cute rodents without actually being many feet away… so many that a 135mm lens would not work. However, there are tricks we all can put into practice.

Newington, CT–The little chipmunk eating bird food. We both got what we wanted. (Photo: Reynaldo Cruz/ CLU)

With bird food (not recommended in the Spring if your area is known to have bears, I learned it the hard way), a tripod (which I didn’t have but also had to innovate) and a remote shutter. Placing some “bait” on an area that is normally visited by them can definitely attract them to go and actually give you a good portrait.

We always learn something along the way, and one of the most important things is to keep your sliding door closed if there is a cat or a dog in the house, as they will feel the smell of a possible predator and refrain from coming any close to the food. It is also important to do it at a time when they tend to come out in human environment, at least in the area where you are in.

The first step is realizing that they love bird food, so placing some on the deck, planting the camera on a piece of wood (had no tripod at the time), focusing on the food and deactivating the autofocus. The second step is going away as far as you can use the remote, but never losing sight of the food on the deck. The remote I improvised (a Yongnuo Flash Trigger) was good enough for 20 meters, so I sat in the distance and fixed my eyes on the prize. In the end, only three photos were good enough, but three is better than nothing.

The best part is that we both got what we wanted: the chipmunk ate all the seeds (or stored them in tis mouth to carry away and save for later) and I walked into the house with a big smile on my face and a great portrait of a cute animal.

This piece was originally posted in the author’s personal blog on the Canon Creators plaform


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