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.