12.10.17: Chipmunk on trunk

Chipmunk sitting on tree trunk, Sharon Woods Metro Park, Westerville, Ohio. 


Technical information

May 2, 2015,
9:39 a.m.

40°7’11” N,
82°57'25" W
(Show in Google Maps)

Canon EOS 7D Mark II

Canon EF 600mm f/4L, Canon 1.4x teleconverter (840mm) 


1/640th second


This is a photo of a chipmunk, but I have an uncooperative deer to thank for the photo.

I was hiking through the forest in Sharon Woods Metro Park north of Columbus, Ohio, on an early May morning when I saw a deer feeding behind some underbrush in the distance. The lighting was nice so I knew I’d have a quality photo if the deer would lift its head above the underbrush.

But while I was watching the deer, the deer was also watching me. It kept its head low in what became a battle of patience. I waited, motionless. It waited, motionless.

That’s when I caught some movement nearby in my peripheral vision. I glanced to my left and saw this chipmunk emerge from between the roots of a tree and pause in the sunlight.

I slowly turned my camera in the chipmunk’s direction, hoping it wouldn’t detect the motion and return to hiding. But its gaze was directed elsewhere as I grabbed some shots.

It's not easy to get shots of chipmunks. They don't spend much time in the open. Their color allows them to blend with their surroundings. And they are quick to head for cover when threatened. This survival behavior is important because there are a lot of animals hanging around the woods that eat chipmunks, including owls, hawks, coyotes, raccoons, bobcats, foxes, weasels, cats, dogs, snakes and possibly others. An inattentive chipmunk can become a snack.

But I've managed to get some good shots through the years, lucky accidents when I'm in the woods or fields photographing birds. Chipmunks like wooded areas or fields near wooded areas, preferring locations with rocky terrain and shrubs to provide cover.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.