Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

More than petroglyphs

with 39 comments

I photographed more than petroglyphs at Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque on June 13th. Presumably to avoid the heat of the sun, this squirrel kept scrunching itself down into some of the narrow shadows cast by a picnic shelter.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 19, 2017 at 4:46 AM

39 Responses

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  1. Now that’s a hot day. Excellent.

    Jet Eliot

    July 19, 2017 at 8:01 AM

    • New Mexico in June guarantees a hot day. The nature photographer has no choice but to endure it for the sake of pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 19, 2017 at 10:10 AM

  2. It looks like a fancy keyboard he is on.

    Jim R

    July 19, 2017 at 8:39 AM

    • I, too, fancied I saw a keyboard, and I see that Lisa (the next commenter) did also. The black~white pattern framing the squirrel proved an irresistible draw.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 19, 2017 at 10:14 AM

  3. Oh my! On the itty bitty preview on this itty bitty screen, I thought that was a chunky iguana or gecko! The squirrel could be a poster mascota for climate change!

    The shadows reminded me of a complex piano keyboard!

    Nice image, one that brings a smile to my heart!

    • You’re the third person so far (including myself) to see the black~white pattern as a keyboard. So far no one has mentioned the music of the spheres—except I just did.

      I don’t know if the climate in Albuquerque has changed appreciably in the past few years. We expect the desert Southwest to be hot in June, and so it was. I imagine squirrels there in the summer have been sheltering in the shadows for eons.

      In any case, happy smiling heart to you. This was a fun image to make, one I saw immediately and just had to take. I’m glad the squirrel lay still long enough for me to get a few pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 19, 2017 at 10:21 AM

      • So now the cartoon version of the siesta squirrel will jump up and start playing a tune on the shadows!

        • You’ve got the talent to draw that. Please let us know if you do.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 19, 2017 at 10:40 AM

          • I took a long weekend ‘off’ and enjoyed a total disconnect from the outside world. At this really nice ‘hostal’ which was a home – and I was the only guest, there were lots of birds, flowers, fruit trees, bamboo, etc, and one gray/reddish squirrel foraged in the crown of a tamarind tree and later stole many coffee cherries from the plants near the tamarind tree! Climate was all but perfect, so the squirrel did not take a timeout in the shade!

            I look forward to when I’m settled again so I can start some art projects and stick with them til they’re finished!

            • Glad to hear you had a great weekend off—and an extended one at that—complete with a mischievous squirrel made all the more energetic by the fresh climate. Hope that weather had the same effect on you (the energy, not the mischief). Happy stick-to-it art projects in the near future.

              Steve Schwartzman

              July 23, 2017 at 7:36 PM

    • Ha-ha-ha, Z, I saw a Gila Monster and was surprised when it turned out to be a little squirrel.


      July 20, 2017 at 7:17 AM

  4. I know I wouldn’t like to be covered in fur on a hot day! Who can blame it! Great photo. 🙂


    July 19, 2017 at 3:23 PM

    • Yes, the squirrel must not have felt very com-fur-table on such a hot day. I’m glad you could re-fur to the picture as a great photo.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 19, 2017 at 3:50 PM

  5. He reminds me of the jackrabbits that huddle in the shade of fenceposts or cacti. Mallards do the same thing at the marinas: dozing on the west side of the pilings in the morning, then moving with the sun until they’re on the east side in late afternoon, but never leaving the shadow. They do disappear when the sun’s straight overhead and the shadows disappear, though. Smart birds — just like your smart squirrel.


    July 19, 2017 at 7:09 PM

    • I didn’t know that about jackrabbits and mallards. I’ve seen cows cluster in the shade of the only tree on a stretch of prairie, and of course people have been known to do the same thing. In Austin I’ve occasionally seen a squirrel flatten itself on the ground or on a horizontal tree branch, presumably to radiate heat away from the greater surface area created by the flattening.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 19, 2017 at 7:59 PM

  6. Smart squirrel! BTW, this patterning looks like a modern quilt design. May I copy it? Not literally, just the patterning in the shadows and light.


    July 19, 2017 at 11:32 PM

    • Sure, copy away. I’d like to see how you “repurpose” it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 20, 2017 at 5:55 AM

      • I will! And hey, thank you for the nudge the other day, Steve. It made realize how many months it had been since I last posted. I’m back. 🙂


        July 20, 2017 at 7:12 AM

        • Better to nudge than to be a nudge.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 20, 2017 at 7:23 AM

          • You are such a wordsmith. I never knew this definition for the word. My understanding of the word was more literal and in line with encouragement. As in birds pushing a fledgling out of the nest or other animals encouraging their offspring to get up, or a friend who lends support to help you get going. Interesting our language and how we perceive it.


            July 20, 2017 at 7:36 AM

            • It’s a word I’ve carried with me from my upbringing in New York, where Yiddish has had more influence on English than in any other part of the country.

              Steve Schwartzman

              July 20, 2017 at 7:46 AM

              • Well, after searching diligently for almost, but not quite, two years… I have finally found my background fabric! Never imagined it would be so difficult to find. This is going to be fun! PS: I was going to send this privately, but I think I don’t have your current email address.


                July 4, 2019 at 10:06 AM

  7. For a minuet I thought someone had installed piano stairs at the National Monument. http://www.cmuse.org/10-amazing-piano-stairs-from-around-the-world/ And that the little squirrel was having an intermission before its next movement.


    July 20, 2017 at 4:33 AM

  8. It could be a promotional still, for a remake of “Shine” with a squirrel instead of Geoffrey Rush. “Nuts to Rachmaninoff’s 3rd! You try playing that with paws this size!”

    Robert Parker Teel

    July 20, 2017 at 8:18 AM

    • Your musical mind is certainly shining this morning. I think I’ll take my Rachmaninoff’s 3rd squirrelless, thank you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 20, 2017 at 8:25 AM

  9. Ah Steve, you know I love this image. Those squirrels can be so entertaining, even when they are trying to cool off! I often see them keeping cool in the shade on a branch, all four limbs hanging down – in a total relaxed slump. I guess they truly know how to chill!
    You know, this morning Lynda sent me this link, and it was then that I realized something has gone awry with my subscription to your blog. It showed I was still following, but I have not been getting updates. I’ve been so busy this summer I had not even noticed! I resubscribed – hopefully I will get new post updates. ~ Lori


    July 20, 2017 at 10:46 AM

    • Hi, Lori. Subscribers have occasionally told me about WordPress subscription problems. I wish I knew how to fix them, but all I’ve been able to do is suggest what you said, resubscribe, or subscribe using a different e-mail address (assuming someone has more than one, which many people do).

      Squirrels are indeed entertaining. The window in my computer room looks out at a nearby Ashe juniper tree and some other adjacent trees that I often see squirrels scampering around in. Every now and then a squirrel in the closest tree will catch sight of me and will stare and stare, I guess trying to make sense out of what it sees but can’t smell through the glass. I’ve done an occasional post about that, including this one:


      I’ve also occasionally seen what you described: a squirrel lolling on a branch with all four legs hanging down.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 20, 2017 at 11:12 AM

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