We want to swiftly snap a picture of a squirrel in the woods and keep the memory forever — but we frequently miss it. Johnny Kääpä, a Swedish photographer, is fortunate enough to regularly witness the wonder of red squirrels. He spent years befriending them in the Swedish forests, and we had the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his experiences with them.
Mr. Kääpä is a frequent traveler, so he tries to pay the little rodents a visit once a week when the sun is shining — yet even then, the forest floor is quite dark. They barely stay for a few minutes in the summer and then flee, but the squirrels like the nuts the photographer provides as gifts in the winter.
“Any friendship I have with these creature is based solely on food. Although I naturally converse with these animals, I am not a whisperer. I’m in the woods. There’s no one else to talk to, and they occasionally talk to me,” Johnny explained to Bright Side. He went on to remark that they don’t make good conversationalists. And then they usually tell other companions to “get away!” If they do say anything to him, it’s usually something that warns him of impending peril.
When asked about the equipment he uses to capture the beauty of these creatures. He explained that he prefers m43 cameras since they are smaller and lighter. It allowed him to roam around and even shoot straight up a tree with a long telephoto lens of up to 1200 mm. He takes studio lights for the closeups. Since, he has to shoot against the sun to get the best quality photo. He spends a few hours in the wilderness before returning home.
“It’s like these animals exist in a separate time zone from us. They are so swift. If you record them in super slow-motion. It looks like normal speed to us,” Johnny noted when we questioned him about a moment he didn’t get to capture on camera.
One fascinating feature about these animals, according to Mr. Kääpä, is that they eat mushrooms and even store and dry them in the treetops. The most essential thing he’s learnt from red squirrels is to “save for the future while enjoying the now.”