Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

White squirrel

with 40 comments

Albino Squirrel on Ashe Juniper Tree 2318A

One day near the end of May I noticed a white squirrel in front of my house. I didn’t have a camera with me, and the squirrel scampered off before I could go inside to get my equipment. Oh well, some opportunities get away from us.

On the morning of June 8th, while sitting at my computer, I saw the white squirrel on the Ashe juniper tree outside my window, which is at second-story height. The squirrel saw me too, and it stared at me for a good while. This time my bag was just a few feet away, so I went over to it, put a long lens on the camera, did some scampering of my own onto my desk, and scooted close to the window. As was true of a previous squirrel picture, it’s hardly good technique to shoot obliquely through window glass that isn’t the cleanest and to aim at a subject that not only is backlit but has patches of white sky behind it, but I could either do that or not take any pictures. I took pictures.

For more information about white and albino squirrels, you can read a New York Times article.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 25, 2013 at 6:16 AM

40 Responses

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  1. I have never seen one of these – great photo. Thanks for the link on the article – interesting info


    June 25, 2013 at 6:38 AM

    • I can’t recall if I’d seen any of these squirrels before, either, so I was happy to photograph this one. My next-door neighbor has seen and photographed it too.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2013 at 6:51 AM

  2. Wow, I have never seen a white squirrel before. He/she is just beautiful and that’s a great shot!!


    June 25, 2013 at 7:07 AM

    • From what I read on the Internet, there are places where white squirrels aren’t rare, but I’ve never lived in one of those places. As far as I know, this is the only white squirrel in my neighborhood.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2013 at 7:12 AM

  3. I’m so glad that you were able to capture this cute white squirrel. Such a great opportunity for you to document its existence. While the photo might be lacking your standards for photographing, I see this picture as really good. I like the back lighting. If you do Photoshop then maybe you can edit this one to your taste. Thanks for a nice change of pace.


    June 25, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    • It took a good dose of Photoshop to get the picture to the point that you see here (you can find more technical information in my answer to Cindy Dyer’s comment, below). The original version wasn’t nearly this appealing, but I’m fortunate to have been able to salvage it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2013 at 1:01 PM

  4. What a lucky shot! If that happened to me the squirrel would have run away as soon as I picked up my camera! I shall now have to investigate if there are any albino ones in the UK.
    Jude xx


    June 25, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    • I think you might have succeeded. My next-door neighbor showed me a picture he took of the white squirrel in his back yard. Albino squirrels are a bit different, and I suspect you can find some in the UK. Happy (photo) hunting.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2013 at 1:04 PM

  5. Really lovely shot, Steven! I can’t tell you shot it through a window in any way!


    June 25, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    • I used Photoshop’s Dirty Window tool followed by the White Sky tool. Okay, those tools don’t exist yet, but I pushed the Shadows slider up and the Highlights slider down, and I also cranked up the contrast a lot. A photograph in these circumstances would have been difficult or more likely impossible on film. In any case, I’m glad you appreciate the shot, Cindy.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2013 at 12:01 PM

  6. Ah ben ça alors c’est fabuleux, jamais vu un écureuil blanc! superbe cliché Steve!


    June 25, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    • Moi non plus je n’avais jamais vu un écureuil blanc (je crois), mais j’ai vu celui-ci trois fois récemment (demain je réconterai la troisième fois) et j’espère le voir encore.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2013 at 1:49 PM

  7. So glad you did, and any way, rules are meant to be bent from time time, don’t you think?


    June 25, 2013 at 10:34 AM

  8. Oh, those toes! Really, the detail is very good.


    June 25, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    • Like you, I’d noticed how long those toes are. They allow squirrels to go running madly through trees, whether up or down.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2013 at 1:52 PM

  9. Intriguing–quite a different white mutation than I’ve ever seen. Even in photos I’ve only encountered pictures of albinos or all-white mutations in squirrels, not this remarkable white-upper/red-lower variant. A designer squirrel!


    June 25, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    • A great phrase: designer squirrel. Now I have designs on being recognized as a designer photographer.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2013 at 1:54 PM

  10. I’m with Mrs. Daffodil — those toes look like they were stolen from a raccoon. We had a black squirrel resident in our Houston yard (fondly dubbed “Big Mama Thorton”).

    Mad Queen Linda

    June 25, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    • I can’t say I knew what raccoon toes look like, but now I do. I’ve occasionally seen black squirrels in central Texas, but the white ones are apparently much rarer.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2013 at 4:41 PM

  11. Great! Love squirrels and this is a special one!


    June 25, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    • I’m trying to figure out why Eichhorn in German means squirrel, when it would seem to mean oak horn. The oak I can understand, but not the horn.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2013 at 4:56 PM

  12. I would have taken pictures too… Very cool critter.

    Brian Comeau

    June 25, 2013 at 7:59 PM

  13. It’s possible you haven’t seen this squirrel before because this is its first year in the world. As crazy as this sounds, it looks young to me. Squirrels are a bit like puppies in the sense that their feet and toes are proportionally larger than their body – they “grow into them” – and those are some really long toes.

    In any event, it’s a beauty and a great photo. Squirrels always make me smile.


    June 25, 2013 at 10:28 PM

    • I didn’t know that about the toes of young squirrels and puppies. Your analysis makes sense of the very long toes this squirrel surely has. If it hangs around here long enough, and if I see it from time to time, and closely enough, I may be able to verify what you’ve said.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 26, 2013 at 6:57 AM

  14. […] 23, as I was proofing the post you saw last time, I heard a thud on the roof and then watched while the white squirrel and a regularly colored one jumped into the Ashe juniper tree outside my window and chased madly […]

  15. That turned out great!


    June 26, 2013 at 10:07 PM

    • Thanks to some heavy processing it did—but I’m happy to let software come riding to the rescue.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 26, 2013 at 10:12 PM

  16. Wow! He does look different. I think I would go for the theory of the escaped pet white squirrels interbreeding with the grey ones. Who keeps pet squirrels???


    June 27, 2013 at 1:32 AM

    • I could see where someone might want to make a pet of a white squirrel because of its unusual color, though I haven’t heard of anyone who has.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 27, 2013 at 7:33 AM

  17. What a beautiful creature, Steve! I have shared this link with a fellow blogger who happens to be a squirrel fanatic. 😉


    June 27, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    • Thanks, Lynda. Just as long as you don’t share this link with a fellow blogger who happens to be a squirrel (that’s the way my mind read your sentence before I got to the last word).

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 27, 2013 at 11:24 AM

  18. Magnificent tail.


    October 10, 2014 at 6:50 AM

  19. […] Yes, I did “portraiy” a white squirrel. […]

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