The Camera You Have With You: A White Squirrel

by Miserere

  

As a card-carrying member (#249, Pentax chapter) of the Worldwide Squirrel Shooters Association, I am always on the lookout for a good squirrel photo opportunity. In general, one needs a fast DSLR with a relatively long lens for this endeavour (a 70-300mm zoom works well), but sometimes a chance encounter with a rare squirrel will have you shooting with whatever camera you may have, because a lousy photo is better than no photo at all.

Such was the encounter I had today. I was driving home early in the morning; it was cold but sunny, and I was in a rush to drop the car off at home before walking to work (I know this sounds backwards, but that’s my life). I had just turned into my street when I saw a white, fuzzy flash of fur cross the road. I looked to the pavement on my left, and right there, looking back at me with beady, red eyes, was a white squirrel. A white squirrel! Possibly the most prized photograph a member of the WSSA can take! I stopped the car immediately.

With trembling hands I took my Canon S90 from my jacket pocket and fumbled to turn it on. Alas, I was too slow, and sensing that she was in danger of being photographed, the white squirrel had fled through a hole in a fence. But I was not giving up! I parked the car and walked stealthily towards the fence; I could hear some rustling and the occasional flash of white in the bushes behind the fence. When I was some 5m away a sudden frenzy of shaking branches and the sound of little feet scampering announced the white squirrel’s departure. All was silent.

I reached the fence and peered over into a large garden with trees in the far side. Nothing moved, and there was no trace of the white squirrel, only the sound of far away traffic. I waited for a minute or so, camera ready and zoomed out to the max, set to Av and auto ISO; I was not going to miss again. And then I saw it. Sitting motionless atop a fence post, it had been there all along, yet remained invisible to my eyes. Not anymore.

I pointed the camera at it and took a few shots (the above is a resized JPEG straight from the camera). I wasn’t close enough for a high quality portrait, but I knew I at least had evidence of my encounter. All of a sudden a regular squirrel appeared in the branches above the white squirrel and started shrieking. The white squirrel shrieked back and scurried up the tree, possibly to claim it as her own. I snapped a few shots while this happened, then sensing it would not be leaving its tree nor coming any closer, I left it to its own devices, my mission accomplished.

As I walked to work a few minutes later I whistled a tune while admiring my catch on the rear LCD screen; I will even admit I skipped a little. It was a cold but sunny morning—and I had just photographed a white squirrel.

The image below is a 100% crop from the first frame, with a little bit of sharpening added.

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18 Responses to “The Camera You Have With You: A White Squirrel”

  1. MJ is going to be so jealous.

  2. You know, I have never even heard of a white Squirrel? It has to be native to the east coast? Heck, I don’t know. But I do know the excitement in capturing something unique. Well done….By the way, that 100 crop looks pretty good.

    • What I saw was actually an albino squirrel, although there are real white squirrel populations in some parts of the World, especially in Northern, snowy climates (just like you get white foxes). I’m sure there are albino squirrels everywhere, they’re just not very common.

  3. Cool capture anyways!

  4. You sure there wasn’t a few escaped lab rats? Can rats climb trees? I’ve seen black, red, brown, grey.

    Fun story and great to finally capture that UFO (Unidentified Furry Object).

    Mary is wondering if this photo will appear on your next album cover when you go on tour with Jessica Simpson.

    • Mary is wondering if this photo will appear on your next album cover when you go on tour with Jessica Simpson.

      Ha ha ha! Does she mean Paris Hilton? And does she think either of them look like this albino squirrel? πŸ˜€

  5. Call me Ahab ;~) High adventure, Mis, I’ll have my people call your people to discuss the screen rights.

  6. Dennis Dumyahn Says:

    Olney, Illinois has a large population of white squirrels. You would have many opportunities to encounter them walking around town.

    Wikipedia URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olney,_Illinois

  7. Hi Miserere, it looks like that your squirrel is not an albino type but with a form of leucism, he looks more beige/pink to me, also his eye does not look red, you can see a picture of one on my pages;
    http://www.pbase.com/graphad/image/120050846

    Also I know you like my pictures of foxes, here is one that I don’t believe you saw.
    http://www.pbase.com/graphad/image/113845579

    • Alain, how nice to hear from you! πŸ™‚

      My squirrel definitely had red eyes, although they’re not visible in the photo because the Sun was behind it, but I saw then when it was on the sidewalk looking at me.

      Lovely portrait of a fox…although I was hoping it would be a white fox πŸ˜› I hadn’t seen your bat pics—that vampire bat is scary! I also took a moment to reacquaint myself with your foxes. I loved this cub; I imagine he was curious to find out what that black, whirring thing pointing at him was.

      • Miserere, thanks for taking a peek again, your comments are always welcome and greatly appreciated. As for your squirrel, the red eye is not visible and I am glad it was a real albino. Not apparent in your pics must be a Canon thing πŸ˜‰
        Those cubs were very curious and so far still are. A few died from adventuring too far from the park.
        The bats are lovely creatures and only seems scary. Well that you know. I had a blast taking them.
        Miserere, keep up the excellent work! Always a pleasure to read.

  8. Probably the most random post ever from you Mis. I mean, really. πŸ™‚

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