Questions with Squirrels and Nuts

This week I was asked if it was best to take one good sharp photo or take many photos of the same subject?
It was an interesting question as depending on the subject, location and your gear will change how you shoot. My response was that with digital taking many pictures to make sure the shot is sharp and well composed is fine and takes advantage of the digital media. I will not forget using film and going out with 5 rolls knowing I only had a certain number of frames and that each frame cost money, a wasted frame was wasted money. I would spend a time long composing a shot and triple checking the focusing before pressing the trigger. With digital I take shots that I possibly would have over looked before and I am more likely to experiment with some scenes.

Squirrel Wide Zdrowie Park

In giving this answer the questioner looked at bit confused, he was not new to digital photography, although had just bought his first DSLR, previously he had shot film in a compact and then had a series of digital compacts. I decided a visual example would be needed and I showed him some shots on the back of my camera I had taken earlier that day.
The pictures were of a squirrel eating nuts. Firstly squirrels are skittish and it unless you have a long lens giving you some distance from them, taking pictures of them can be hit or miss. I had noticed one squirrel running through the woods in the park backwards and forwards. After observing him for a few minutes I noticed he was returning to the same tree stump and the next time he ran off I approached the stump and sit still. He returned nervously but continued gathering and eating nuts.
I explained this to the questioner and then showed him the 60 pictures I took. He was shocked at the number of pictures. I explained that I sat for about 30 minutes watching and waiting for him to return to the stump, once eating I would focus quickly and take a burst of photos.

Squirrel Black and White Zdrowie

He then asked, “Why didn’t you leave after the first shots?”. I answered, because I wanted as many shots, poses and angles I could get to have the best picture possible. And finally he understood. I had good pictures of the squirrel, but I wanted the best shot possible. I didn’t want to leave and then be disappointed when I got home because the picture was soft, exposure out or composition was really bad.

We talked for another hour about his camera and lenses, also why I shoot Canon. But the he seemed to cling onto what I had said about taking more than one shot if you can.

Red Squirrel Feeding Zdrowie park

All pictures were shot at 6400 ISO and f/5.6. Noise reduction was applied combining photoshop and Topaz DeNoise. Final colour toning applied in Lightroom.

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10 thoughts on “Questions with Squirrels and Nuts

  1. Sweet photos Ben! 🙂 I happen to have a photo of a squirrel coming up tomorrow. I agree they move so fast it’s a hit and miss photographing them. 🙂

    • Thank You Elina, I think this is the last I may see of them this year, as he was definitely storing those nuts. I tend to watch them and sit still and let them get used to me before photographing them. The ones here in lodz are quite tame and they will get very close.

    • When ever I shoot at such high ISO I usually do this. Photoshop is now set as an action so the computer does the leg work and then it is normal editing in light room. Actions and presets for regular tasks save so much time.

    • Julie that is exactly it. I stayed for about 5 mins after I thought he wasn’t coming back just in case. He was eating and foraging a lot. there were several other rustles in the leaves while is in the area so I guess there was some competition for food.

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