Thu 5/28/09

A Daily Walk With DietPower

Walking is the best exercise for weight loss. And the things you see!

Chipmunk in poison ivy

I've been trying for months to photograph one of the chipmunks on my walking route. I know of at least five. Chipmunks are notoriously camera-shy. They're also well camouflaged. Ordinarily, I don't see them at all. I only hear their alarm whistle—a single, explosive shriek—followed by rustling in the leaves. If I'm lucky, I see a flash of tawny coat as the animal darts into the underbrush.

Today I got really lucky.

As I was walking down the northbound lane of Middle River Drive, this little guy whistled, ran into a rain-spattered poison-ivy thicket, stopped behind a couple of fallen maple twigs, and froze.

I, too, halted, watching the chipmunk out of the corner of my eye as I slide the camera from my pocket. He must have thought I couldn't see him. Either that or chipmunks know that a middle-aged guy wearing shorts doesn't wade into poison ivy.

Meanwhile, a car rounded a corner and sped toward me.

From experience, I knew the chipmunk would flee as the car approached. I also knew the animal would bolt as I turned toward him, unless I kept the camera between him and my face. (Like crows, chipmunks are wary of eye contact.)

Quickly, I set the shutter to take three pictures one second apart. Then I raised the camera and slowly pivoted toward the chipmunk as the car bore down on me. No longer facing the car, I had nothing to warn me of danger but my ears.

Pressing the zoom button, I frantically panned the thicket as the leaves and twigs grew larger in the viewfinder. Where was the chipmunk? Had he already fled?

There! Centering the animal, I held my breath, squeezed the shutter, heard the first click, felt a rush of wind as the car flew by, and saw the chipmunk vanish before the second click. The shot on this page was the only one I got.

And amazingly, the autofocus seems to have fixed precisely on the animal's eye, ignoring the twigs in the foreground. Is the Lumix a smart camera, or what?


Download DietPower and lose poundsAbout this page: Precisely at noon each day, I step out of my office for a 3.5-mile walk around my Connecticut neighborhood. I carry a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TX5 pocket camera with a Leica 10x optical zoom lens. My object is to make an interesting photograph of at least one thing that is different that day. I post the results here, hoping they will inspire you and your friends to walk, too.  Terry Dunkle, DietPower founder and CEO.

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All My Yesterdays

Wednesday, May 27: Who Dropped the Ball?

Tuesday, May 26: Out Standing in Their Field

Monday, May 25: Flags Galore!

Sunday, May 24: House of Patriots

Saturday, May 23: Memorial in a Rusty Hinge

Friday, May 22: The Sexually Clever Iris

Thursday, May 21: Raising the Wrong Baby

Wednesday, May 20: An Old Friend Is Dying

Tuesday, May 19: Crow vs. Hawk

Monday, May 18: Yours Truly

Sunday, May 17: A Wild Geranium

Saturday, May 16: War Flowers

Friday, May 15: A Mysterious Barn

Thursday, May 14: Who Invented the Microscope?

Wednesday, May 13: The Kitchen Sink

Tuesday, May 12: Slow Down!

Monday, May 11: What Lilacs Are For

Sunday, May 10: Mama Butterfly

Saturday, May 9: Gone to Seed

Friday, May 8: A Pack of Boston Terriers

Thursday, May 7: Underground Passage

Wednesday, May 6: White Violet

Tuesday, May 5: Singing His Heart Out

Monday, May 4: Kenny's Secret

Sunday, May 3: Monument to an Afternoon

Saturday, May 2: Gasoline Rainbow

Friday, May 1: The Duck and the Bashful Maiden

Thursday, April 30: A Poison Ivy Sandwich

Wednesday, April 29: The Very Picture of Spring

Tuesday, April 28: A Busy Bumblebee

Monday, April 27: Electric Pink

Sunday, April 26: Saturday Night Special

Saturday, April 25: An Old Oak Falls

Friday, April 24: How an Ant Sees a Daffodil

Thursday, April 23: The Nameless Brook

Wednesday, April 22: Weeding Time

Tuesday, April 21: Wet Apple Buds

Monday, April 20: Mr. Allen and the Crew Team

Sunday, April 19: Bloodroot II

Saturday, April 18: Green Jellybeans

Friday, April 17: Bloodroot

Thursday, April 16: Skunk Cabbage III

Wednesday, April 15: Find the Critter

Tuesday, April 14: Blessing of the Animals

Monday, April 13: The Crow Who Said "Wow!"

Sunday, April 12: A Quirky Church

Saturday, April 11: Self-Portrait in a Pothole

Friday, April 10: Easter flowers

Thursday, April 9: Dumb as a Squirrel

Wednesday, April 8: April Snow

Tuesday, April 7: Egg Trees, Connecticut Style

Monday, April 6: I Carry My Lunch

Sunday, April 5: A Tree in Spring

Saturday, April 4: Pigs with Drivers Licenses

Friday, April 3: Forsythia

Thursday, April 2: Skunk Cabbage II

Wednesday, April 1: Mystery of the Hanging Shoes

Tuesday, March 31: Downy Woodpecker

Monday, March 30: 300-Year-Old House

Sunday, March 29: The Broken Fence

Saturday, March 28: "You're Such a Delight"

Friday, March 27: Skunk Cabbage

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