The Photography of Mike O'Neill ABIPP

May Topic: Wildlife

I was really struggling this month to put down a decent topic and follow it through.  Work was busy and combined with the family holiday to Centreparcs in Sherwood Forest.  In a final attempt to get something in the bag I settled on a game of wait and see with the squirrels and other animals which would come to the back door.

My aim was to get a shot of a squirrel up a tree and side on so that they break the outline of the tree and are not camouflaged by their fur.  I tried to shoot squirrels before to varying degrees of success so I needed a plan.  I was lacking any kind of hide and netting so I needed to work around this.

My plan then was simple, we had brought with us a bag of peanuts and some dried frut/nut mix.  I scattered the fruit/nut mix around the ground and then used the peanuts to wedge into the tree bark.  At first I didnt see any of the food get eaten but as the week went on I would keep replacing them.  In the end one the squirrels would be noticed and I would have around 5 – 10 seconds to grab the camera and get some shots off.  Sounds easy, however a sudden move within the chalet would mean the little blighters would scarper so I had to move slow to get the camera and then shoot.

Why not just sit and wait? You may ask.  Well I have two children who are 3 and under.  My time for the most part is not my own,  especially on a holiday.  Sometimes the animals came and I didn’t photograph them at all, but enjoyed the show with my kids who were delighted that the ‘Squiggels’ came to see them.

Finally my patience was rewarded with a number of images the best of which you can see below.

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