Ridiculously Cute Chipmunks

Animals, Chipmunks, Nature

Chipmunk finds the chip (1/2000, f/2.8, ISO 2500)

(1/2000, f/2.8, ISO 1600)

(1/2000, f/2.8, ISO 1600)

(1/2000, f/2.8, ISO 2500)

Landing after a jump (1/1600, f/2.8, ISO 320)

The lens and/or capture I finally noticed works much better when the camera is lower to the ground. It must be easier for the autofocus to differentiate distance on the f/2.8, because the comparison options are reduced.

(1/2500, f/3.2, ISO 1000)

Out of focus, but funny with front legs on the ground, back legs off the ground.

(1/1600, f/2.8, ISO 1250)

Jumping or dancing?

Low-flying chipmunk springs from one rock to the next (1/2500 F/3.2 ISO 640)

1/2500 F/2.8 ISO 640

Chipmunk sitting on a rock in the sun (1/4000 F/3.2 ISO 500)

This little chipmunk looks adorable, hand over hand, sitting on his rock. He was motionless for at least five minutes, soaking up the sun. I first expected to shoot him in motion, so my setting was in TV mode (1/4000 sec), but the background (grass around him, and two purple flowers on either side, for a nice symmetry, not to mention his pose, made this a memorable, cute, funny picture. The ISO was too low. I should have taken it in Flower mode (f/5.6), or something similar, but he moved before I changed it.

Chipmunk sitting in front of irises (1/125 F 5.6 ISO 400)

Chipmunk beside piece of bread (1/4000 f/2.8 ISO 1600)

What to do when you see food as big as you? This little guy was stumped! :-/

Chipmunk escapes down fence after stealing seed from bird feeder (1/250 F/10 ISO 100)

Chipmunk running directly towards camera (1/3200, f/3.2, ISO 125)

The previous day, I had seen a chipmunk on a rock nearby, sitting around, doing nothing. Then when I got up he had quickly bolted in the other direction. This time I thought it was probably the same chipmunk at his favorite rock, so I expected more skittish behavior. Instead it was just the opposite. He ran right at me! I wasn’t in the habit of feeding chipmunks by hand, so I don’t know what this was all about.


A tighter crop and slight rotation adds more drama, if less aesthetic appeal than the full landscape frame. You feel a bit more of the small animal’s determination.

Closeup of chipmunk standing on its hind legs (1/3200, f/2.8, ISO 500).

He came right up to me, stood up like a pez dispenser, looked around, then quickly departed towards the food space.

See also: 

Chipmunks in Motion: Experiments in High-Speed Small Animal Photography

Animals, Chipmunks, Nature

“And We’re Off” – Chipmunk starting to run (1/4000 F/3.2 ISO 640)

Chipmunks are often cute but mostly boring when sitting around or eating. In motion, however, they are funny and/or cute. Rarely a day goes by when I don’t see at least one chipmunk in my backyard; currently there are three; the most I’ve ever seen in the same place at the same time was five.

Chipmunk jumping off garden wall in Sport Mode (1/800 F/2.8 ISO 320)

The Sport mode (default 1/800 sec) on my Canon camera provides a shutter speed that captured some interesting images of chipmunks on the move, but they were always at least slightly out of focus for the speedy small animal.

Chipmunk jumping over a large rock (1/1000 F/2.8 ISO 100)

Chipmunk in mid air running (1/800 F/2.8 ISO 640)

Looking for an upgrade, I turned to the Tv mode, and turned the dial to 1/1000 sec. This showed a noticeable improvement but there was still some blur. Therefore I tried an incremental increase to 1/1250 sec.

Chipmunk about to step forward into garden (1/1250 F/3.2 ISO 100)

Chipmunk running down path towards food supply (1/1250 F/2.8 ISO 100)

This speed wasn’t so good, so I considered another slight increase to the next highest speed, but decided instead to move to the end of the spectrum, my camera’s fastest shutter speed, 1/4000 sec. I also adjusted the ISO level from 100 to Auto. I prefer ISO 100 but in the evening that’s all but impossible for high-quality high-speed photography.

Chipmunk running (1/4000 F/3.2 ISO 640)

Finally a picture with the details in focus because the cam speed was fast enough. It’s not ideal because it was late in the day (after 7 pm).

Chipmunk off the ground in sharp focus (1/4000 F/3.2 ISO 200)

The extra light from the sun helped make the details razor sharp. Click to see the feet (1200 x 800).