Natural Art: The Photography of Brad Hill

Squirrel - On the Edge!

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In the Field

Squirrel - On the Edge! Findlay Creek Region, BC, Canada. January 20, 2017. does the new Sigma Sport 500mm f4 pair up with the Nikon D500? So far, so good!

One characteristic that both the Nikon 500mm f4E VR and the Sigma Sport 500mm f4 share is that they produce beautiful out-of-focus zones, even when stopped WAY down. In this shot of a very curious squirrel "on the edge" I was using a Nikon D500 with the Sigma Sport 500 and consequently I was working with a close subject with the equivalent of a 750mm lens. So...I knew that I had only a very thin DoF to work with. To ensure the whole head was sharp (from whiskers to the back of the ears) I knew I had to stop way I closed the aperture all the way down to f11. Yet the distant background still came out soft and smooth (with no "jitteriness" or "nervousness" that some telephotos and/or telephoto zooms would produce).

Here's a larger (2400 pixel) version of this curious squirrel for those wanting to see a little more detail:

Squirrel - On the Edge! Download 2400 pixel image (JPEG: 1.2 MB)


1. This image - in all resolutions - is protected by copyright. I'm fine with personal uses of them (including use as desktop backgrounds or screensavers on your own computer), but unauthorized commercial use of the image is prohibited by law. Thanks in advance for respecting my copyright!

2. Like all wildlife images on this website, the subject(s) is/are fully wild and completely unconstrained. Besides the potential impact of my/our presence, nothing has been done to intentionally alter or affect the ongoing behavior of the subject and, of course, there has been no use of any form of bait or other form of wildlife attractants (including vocalizations or sounds).

Behind the Camera

Squirrel - On the Edge! Findlay Creek Region, BC, Canada. January 20, 2017.

Digital Capture; Compressed RAW (NEF) 14-bit format; ISO 800.

Nikon D500 paired with Sigma Sport 500mm f4 (EFL of 750mm). Supported on Jobu Algonquin tripod with Jobu Heavy Duty MkIV gimbal head (with all tensioners loose). OS on and in "OS1" mode, with OS1 stabilization customized to Dynamic View mode. AF customized to Fast Priority AF.

1/800s @ f11; No compensation from "recommended" matrix-metered exposure setting.

At the Computer

Squirrel - On the Edge! Findlay Creek Region, BC, Canada. January 20, 2017.

RAW Conversion to 16-bit TIFF using Phase One's Capture One Pro 10. three raw variants (different versions of a single raw capture) processed, with the variants differing in both noise reduction and shadow recovery settings.

Further digital corrections on resulting 16-bit TIFF files using Adobe's Photoshop CC 2017 and Light Crafts Lightzone. Photoshop adjustments included compositing (blending) of the three output files from the raw converter and final selective sharpening for web output. Final tone-tweaking performed using LightZone's "tonemapper" tool.


Squirrel - On the Edge! Findlay Creek Region, BC, Canada. January 20, 2017.

Ten percent of the revenue generated by this image will be donated to Raincoast*.

IUCN Conservation Status**: Species of Least Concern.

The Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) is a medium-sized squirrel that occupies year-round exclusive territories from which they will aggressively repel intruding squirrels. They are widely distributed across much of North America almost everywhere conifers (and the cones the squirrels feed on) are found, except on portions of the west coast where they are replaced by Douglas Squirrels (AKA "Chickarees").

Red Squirrels have adapted well to the presence of humans and have the IUCN conservation status of a species of Least Concern. In many urban areas in North America the Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) have been introduced and ecologically replaced Red Squirrels. In North America this hasn't seemed to impact much on rural Red Squirrel populations, but in Britain the introduction of the Eastern Gray has had a major impact on the native Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris), with the invasive grays replacing the native reds over much of their historical range.

*The Raincoast Conservation Society (and Foundation) is an effective and efficient organization that has been fighting for protection of this unique habitat. If you are looking for a meaningful way to contribute to the conservation of this amazing ecosystem, Raincoast will provide maximal "bang" for your conservation dollars.

**as determined by the IUCN: The Internation Union for Conservation of Nature - see