Preparation – 250/365

An afternoon in the park today for me and the girls. We hatched a simple, but effective plan; go to Frodsham Park, play on the playground, get and ice cream, then go and feed the squirrels on the way back to the car. I grabbed a load of pale skin peanuts from my fishing bait stash, and we set off.

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Its a really good park, Frodsham Park, and we visit it a lot on weekends. It hosts some cool events too, right throughout the year.

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Whislt the girls had a play on the swings and slides, I had a little look around for something to photograph. The first thing that caught my eye was a flower that was releasing its seeds, lit beautifully by the sun and being helped by a gentle breeze. I dont know what the plant is, but its those ones that release seeds that sometimes look like cotton.

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The 50mm was perfect I thought for capturing the delicate details on the seeds as they floated away. It was also good for capturing a portrait of Livvy, and her rappidly changing “mouth landscape”, due to losing another tooth recently!

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Playground done, time for phase two of our little afternoon out, and time for an ice cream. Both girls chose a vanila cone, covered in blue sherbet and topped off with red sauce. They did look good, I have to admit!

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Ice cream devoured, we went for a walk in the woodland that surrounds the park. There are loads of squirrels in the park, and at this time of year they are especially active and brave, even the young ones.

They are hunting and gathering as much food as they can, in preperation for the comming seasons. Some, are also looking like they are doing rather well at building their fat reserves, the plump little things.

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Some of them look like real characters too, with chunks of tail fur missing, and notches in the tips of their ears. Past battles, won and lost, no doubt.

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We sat and wathed the squirrels for about half an hour, and the girls fed them the whole bag of nuts, whilst counting them; “daddy, I see 5”, “no I see six now!”. more and more came to the nutty party. At its peak, Livvy counted 14 squirrels surrounding us, all nibbling nuts, playing with eachother and just generally being super cute!

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Some of the squirrels were really brave, coming within feet of us for brief moments. It was brilliant for the girls to see them so close, and great for me to take photographs of them too.

What I really wanted to try and do, was capture one as it scamperd past us, like it was in mid air. Not the easiest thing to do, and as our nut supply started to dwindle, it got harder and harder; until eventually a dog came bounding through our little oasis, and that, was that for the squirrels as they took to the trees.

I did get a couple of action shots though, and I really like this one.

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Squirrels gone, we headed home too, and the girls got up and ran off down the grassy slope, at top speed.

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Learnings – today was great, as always with the girls in the park, they love it there! There is everything they ever want; outdoors, playground, ice cream, wildlife and big open space. Its just really nice going there.

Also, it gave me loads of varied photography opportunities at the same time, close up shallow depth of field shots with my 50mm, long range shots of the squirrels with my 70-300mm and some action shots with high shutter speeds using both my 50mm prime and 18-55mm kit lens.

I braved ISO settings of upto 800 today, to hold fast shutter speeds on the squirrels, and used AI Servo focusing to track them. I started off with the camera on its tripod too, but eventually dialled in so much shutter speed I didn’t need it.

What a superb afternoon, see you next time squirrels!

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