Geert Weggen, a Swedish photographer and carpenter, built an outdoor studio near his kitchen window. Using a bit of food to lure the squirrels, the studio allows him to capture these cute photos from the comfort of his own home.
Thanks to the various props and sets he created, Geert’s squirrels can be seen whispering to mushrooms, putting on the kettle and getting some work done in the garden.
The studio is conveniently placed one meter above the ground and connected to Geert’s kitchen window three meters away, which enables him to photograph the visiting critters at eye-level. To do so, Geert uses a Sigma 150-500mm lens attached to a Nikon D7100.
A partial roof allows the use of a flash and additional lighting, remotely operated, and a big reflector hanging in a nearby tree helps with the fill light.
While being used to the noisy kitchen window opening and closing and the flashes going off around them, Geert says the squirrels are still very careful. One of the advantages of shooting from your home is that the animals will get accustomed to your presence, eliminating the need to use a hide. “Sometimes I can come very close,” Geert told DIYP, “but they normally run away when I start to climb out of my window to fix something about the composition”.
Not all squirrels are so timid though, as you may recall the squirrel that humped a GoPro.
Talking with us a bit about his work process, Geert shared that both parties have a say when it comes to the creative aspect:
“Most scenes have to do with themes. Changes of the weather, nature, themes of holidays or tools I find or make. Many scenes I try out another time and some scenes I did not capture the squirrels as I wanted. Some ideas the squirrels make, because they do something I did not think of. Or sometimes I start with an idea and the reactions of the squirrel make that I make more out of that scene then expected”.
These days Geert gets regular visits by four squirrels, some with different colors but all with unique personalities. One of them will come right up to the window and take a nut out of his hand. Those wishing to see group photos will be disappointed as according to Geert such visits are a rare occurrence due to their dominant nature.
The squirrels obviously come and go as they please, and do not seem to have any set schedule. This might be due to Geert not putting out much food, “just enough for a small meal”, so they do not become dependent on him.
Last spring seven different squirrels frequented the studio, but there are also times when no squirrel can be seen for weeks. The female who eats out of Geert’s hand is the one most often seen and the only squirrel who visits during the summer. Geert said that three visits a day is considered very good in his book.
Other than squirrels, Geert’s backyard visitors have included a fox, a crow-like bird that would eat out of his hand, finches, titmouses and several other birds.
[via Bored Panda]