I do not often walk around with my camera. Moreover, my photography is a bit hit-or-miss. But on occasion, the stars align for even the most amateur photographer. On the morning of May 29, 2015, in Battery Park, Lower Manhattan, I happened to have my Nikon D40 DLSR camera. I then happened to come across two squirrels on a park bench. Those squirrels then approached each other. There was then a squirrel kiss. Against all odds, I not only captured the drama in three acts, but also did so without messing up the focus on any of the pictures. Below, behold, my greatest photo-journalistic accomplishment, saved for Valentine’s Day today.
Act I 〜 Squirrel Distance
I snapped this picture at 9:05:36 AM on May 29, 2015. The left squirrel stands on the bench, looking at the right squirrel’s tail. The right squirrel stars off into the distance. Has the right squirrel even seen his or her friend yet? How will this squirrel drama unfold? Intermission.
Act II 〜 Squirrel Approach
Six seconds have passed. The time is now 9:05:42 AM. Still May 29, 2015. Right squirrel has seen left squirrel. Right squirrel is now approaching left squirrel. Did left squirrel call right squirrel in a way that only squirrels can understand? Did right squirrel sense left squirrel’s presence? Why is right squirrel the only one approaching? Is left squirrel shy? Well, I did say there are three acts. Intermission.
Act III 〜 Squirrel Kiss
The final intermission was one second. The time is now 9:05:43 AM. Still, unsurprisingly, May 29, 2015. Squirrels move fast.
Right squirrel makes contact with left squirrel. Left squirrel kisses right squirrel on his or her forehead. Right squirrel closes his or her eyes. Well, that is sweet. I am not sure what I had been expecting seven seconds earlier, but it was not a squirrel kiss.
What is the story here? Squirrel spouses? Squirrel date? Was one squirrel asking the other squirrel out? Could this be a squirrel family? I think it is one of the first three. You can see the uncertainty in the first two pictures before the squirrels confirm their love for one another. Beautiful moment. Almost brings a tear to my eye.
The Stars Align for a Squirrel Kiss Photo
I do not remember why I was in Manhattan that morning or why I brought my camera. Furthermore, I seldom went to Battery Park. Yet, there I was, in Battery Park, with my camera, ready to chronicle a squirrel kiss. A squirrely romance!
Being in the right place at the right time is only one part of the matter, however. You also have to not botch the picture. New Leaf Journal readers will know that I have published some of my near misses before. In this case, I only had one shot, three times, to capture this beautiful moment of squirrel love. I did not know until I looked at the pictures on my computer that I had done it acceptably well. My camera wanted to capture this moment.
The pictures survived another potential disaster. My camera SD card was corrupted. I had uploaded the squirrel kiss photo to Dropbox almost one year ago. However, I did not have the first two photos on my computer. I slotted in the faulty SD card and found that the first two photos had survived intact. Ironically, the squirrel kiss photo is now half-corrupted, with the bottom fourth now nothing but a wall of gray. (The squirrel kiss is not erased, however, so even the one corrupted picture survived in its most important aspect.)
Even my faulty SD card wanted to ensure that I could share the squirrel kiss with the world. Remarkable stuff.