A Photographer Captures the Charm of Squirrels, and We Think We Found Our Spirit Animal
Whenever we see a squirrel in the wild, we want to quickly snap a picture and cherish the memory forever — but we often miss it. Johnny Kääpä, a Swedish photographer, is lucky enough to experience the magic of red squirrels on a regular basis. He spent years befriending them in the forests of Sweden, and we had the chance to ask him a few questions about his relationship with these fascinating little rodents.
When Bright Side came across the loveliness of the squirrels that Johnny manages to capture, we couldn’t wait to give you a front-row seat to the adorable show.
Mr. Kääpä travels quite a bit, so he tries to visit the little rodents once a week when the sun is shining — and even then, the forest floor is surprisingly dark. In the summer, they only come around for a few minutes and then rush away, but during the winter, the squirrels really appreciate the nuts the photographer brings as gifts.
“If I have a friendship with the squirrels, it is exclusively built on food. I am not a squirrel whisperer, although I naturally talk to the squirrels. I am in the forest. There’s no one else to talk to, and sometimes they talk to me,” Johnny told Bright Side. He added that they are not very good conversationalists and that they mostly say, “Stay away!” to other squirrels. But if they do happen to express anything to him, it’s usually something that indicates imminent danger.
When talking about the photography gear he uses to capture the beauty of these creatures, he said he uses m43 cameras because they are smaller and lighter and give him the freedom to move around and even shoot straight up a tree with a long telephoto lens, up to 1200 mm. For the closeups, he brings studio lights since he has to shoot against the sun to get the best quality photo. He stays a few hours in the forest, then he heads home.
We asked Johnny to share a moment that he didn’t get to catch on camera, and he explained, “It’s like the squirrels exist in a different time zone from us — they are so quick; if you film them in super slow-motion, then it looks like normal speed to us.”
Mr. Kääpä told Bright Side that one interesting fact about the squirrels is that they eat mushrooms and even store and dry them in the treetops. The most important lesson he has learned from the red squirrels is “to stash away for the future, but to enjoy the present.”
Have you ever seen a squirrel in the wild? Did you manage to snap a picture? If you could be a squirrel for a day, what would be your favorite thing to do?