Wildlife can be a fascinating photography genre that requires a lot of skill and patience, but it can also bring a tremendous amount of joy as showcased by this passionate nature photographer who specializes in capturing squirrels.
We've all seen those one-off wildlife moments where we think to ourselves, "this would make a wonderful photograph." Unfortunately, a lot of the time we don't have our equipment on hand nor do we know how to capture it in a way that truly showcases what we feel when we see it with our own eyes.
Similarly, Niki Colemont, a nature photographer based in Belgium, discovered his passion for wildlife as he observed birds, their eating and nesting habits. Since then, he purchased a telephoto lens to begin his journey into wildlife photography, and later on developed a special kind of affection for squirrels in particular.
Having first spotted a squirrel in his girlfriend's grandmother's garden, he bought a feeder to start building a connection with these small yet intelligent and mischievous animals. This way, he could get closer to them every time they visited and became accustomed to finding food there.
Since then, Colemont has amassed a large and varied collection of detailed squirrel action shots, alongside his other wildlife photography work, showcasing squirrels in different scenarios, from curiously exploring the local area to leaping from a tree branch, enjoying a snack, or simply relaxing from a busy day of food-finding. His portfolio also contains more conceptual images where the wildlife intertwines with imagination and creativity.
His collection presents a joyful and at-times humorous photographic documentary, which is the result of hard work and trial and error behind the scenes. Colemont explains that it is difficult to get them in a frame as they are jumping, and a lot of times it's hit and miss. For any aspiring wildlife photographer, he suggests, the key is to shoot with a high shutter speed, such as 1/2500th or 1/4000th, which should be enough to freeze the action and capture these agile animals.
Besides optimal camera settings and a long lens, good weather also plays a part in contributing to a successful image, as does knowing the right time to press the shutter. In Colemont's experience, squirrels don't jump high but rather ahead in a flat trajectory rather than a curved line. He suggests, "don't try to take your first shot when you see the squirrel but let them make their first jump; during the second jump you can try to capture the image," and the results will be far more pleasing.
With his wildlife work, Colemont hopes to inspire others to go out and enjoy nature as it has so much to offer, especially during unexpected moments, which makes it all the more special experience to be there and enjoy it, with or without the camera. For other wildlife and nature photographer, Colemont suggests not to be scared of making mistakes. Even if you miss a shot, there will always be next time to try again, which is why you shouldn't give up on trying to reach your goals and following your ideas.
All images used with the permission of Niki Colemont.