My visit to the Shenandoah National Park this past week was nothing short of spectacular. We were there to hike, but a heavy storm came through in the middle of the week and caused us to change our plans. But that didn’t stop me in looking for photo opportunities along the way.


While my friends continued on a second day of hiking, I took the slow way out of Skyline drive to enjoy the scenery and began the hunt for some chipmunks. I know, some people think they are a nuisance, but I can’t help it – I think they are adorable!

I drove into the Pinnacles picnic area and parked as it felt like chipmunk country. A patch of woods between the wood and picnic grounds looked promising and sure enough I think I see a little critter zipping through the underbrush.

Sitting along a picnic bench and setting up my Canon 5D Mark III and 500mm on the tripod, I sat and waited. Being a wildlife photographer, one begins to notice habits and repetitive patterns. I noticed a small pathway and a nice log that I know chipmunks like to jump up on and run across. I was in great luck, as it seems that I found the Disneyland of chipmunks. There were at least eight of them running around in the underbrush.

But talk about fast ! Super fast! Little Ferrari speed demons. Warblers have nothing on these guys. There’s one! Oop…miss! There’s another one! Oops…Miss again!

Even though they predictably ran across the log, they were just too fast for me. Zip..and they’re gone. Zip..and they’re gone. Phew, will I ever get a shot?

I then noticed one chipmunk that was rather industrious and was busy going out and collecting acorns and bringing it down a little path before darting into a pile of branches where his home must have been. Storing nuts for the winter. But it was a challenge as many little branches where in the way, and just a small clearing was within them. And then magic happened. He came along the path and I was ready.


Thrilled to capture at least one shot of him, I waited for him to bring another. Fast little bugger, but at least I got him before darting into his burrow.


It was well worth the wait, but it was time to head down the mountain and return home. It was hard to leave, but now I know where to be next year for Chipmunk land.


12 replies »

  1. Those are amazing chipmunk shots, I have tried and failed to catch these adorable little critters many times. They’re so darn fast. There was a rest stop in CO where they are super tame and if you aren’t careful they’ll nibble your toes thinking that they’re nuts.

    • Honestly I could have spent hours and taken about 1,000 shots to get the glamour chipmunk shot. That is funny about nut toes…I may just go and put peanut butter on them to get them to come and nibble away. 🙂

  2. That is a beautiful drive btw, well it looks like it, really nice photo and tree colors too.

    That first chipmunk shot is perfect. “You want a piece of me!?” That seems like the money shot, arms down, treasure in his mouth, he looks like he came across you in the middle of his route home. Love it!

    All of Alvin’s cousins live around my house, at least distant cousins. They live under the porch, in the garage, behind the garage, in wood piles, climb the corner pieces of my siding, oh my goodness…The funniest part is when they scream at you I think. Mine will pop out or be in route see me scream squeak like they do, then start scream-squeaking again. It’s hilarious and yet if they were of any threatening size it wouldn’t be funny. They were extra cute until they started digging up and eating the bulbs of my lilies but they REALLY pushed my buttons when they tried to devour an Orchid I kept outside for the summer…oh man… Nonetheless, I totally get your love for the common critter. 😉

    • You’re absolutely right as the first shot is the money shot. It was “Explored” on Flickr and has had over 20,000 views. Now how crazy is that? Same with the bear shot which has had over 25,000 views. Ok….now I’m bragging but I have to – those are some pretty awesome shots.

      I wish I had some Alvins in my yard. I was speaking with a friend today and she said she used to catch them when she was a kid and bring them home. How does one catch a chipmunk one asks? Well, she had a huge bell jar filled half way with water. After chipmunk went into his burrow, they’d pour the water in the hole, the cover the hole with the jar. In went the water, out went the chipmunks. Sometimes two or three !

      I may just have to try it some day. LOL!

      You’re going to have to surround your bulbs with rock over and around them to stop them from stealing them. I love how yours scold you like crazy. I can see it now. 🙂

      • Brag away cuz those are some braggalicious stats! Congrats!!! Wow…

        That’s a heck of a trick, but what do you do with the Chippies once you have them? We visited Disney World when I was a kid, I think I was like 3-4 and I went after the human-sized Chip and Dale peeps and gave one a nice little butt pinch! He he he…

        Surround them with rock…that makes good sense…protect them in their own fortress!

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