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13 unbelievable photographs of squirrels playing tiny musical instruments

Published by Business Insider on Fri, 18 Oct 2019

Geert Weggen, an award-winning photographer, builds intricate sets in his backyard and captures perfectly timed photos of wildlife, especially squirrels.He places tiny pieces of food on his sets and props to attract his wildlife models.Weggen will wait by his kitchen window for hours until a squirrel begins to interact with the set.His photos have become so iconic that he has created books, postcards, and calendars.Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.Geert Weggen is an award-winning wildlife photographerbut rather than traveling the world, he prefers to capture images of animals through his large kitchen window. He has dedicated his life to photographing the wildlife in his backyard, particularly squirrels.Weggen, a Swedish-Dutch national, has a passion for storytelling and spends hours building intricate sets and gluing down tiny props to create unique scenes. Once the set is designed, he strategically places food around the props to encourage the squirrels to interact with his setup. Then, he retreats to his kitchen and patiently waits for the story to unfold.Weggen enjoys photographing squirrels in a light-hearted way, and he eventually decided to combine his love for music with his photography. He began placing miniature musical instruments such as bongos, saxophones, and guitars on his sets. After making adjustments to the placement of the food, he was able to get his photos just right.The result is a hilarious photo series of squirrels making their musical debuts. Keep scrolling to see the incredible images.Seven years ago, a fox appeared outside Geert Weggen's kitchen window. He rushed to feed it, hoping it would stick around long enough for him to get a photo.Weggen fed the fox every time he saw it in the yard so it would return.But Weggen noticed that while the fox only came sporadically, red squirrels would visit his backyard every day.The squirrels continued coming so Weggen started taking pictures of them for fununaware squirrel photography would become his career.He decided to play around with different props and objects he had in his house.Weggen would leave props and objects outside then retreat to his kitchen and watch the squirrels interact with what he had set up.Eventually, he began building sets and experimenting with homemade props to tell funny stories with his photographs."A thing I have been focusing on is art in the landscape. I like to create art," Weggen said.Music has always been a part of his life, and once he got serious about photography, he felt compelled to combine the two in any way he could.Weggen used to play music using all-natural instruments in his backyard. He held performances, which he called "sounds of nature."Weggen's handmade sets have open walls and the props are glued to a table.He changes the studio's layout depending on the theme he wants to focus on. He enjoys creating stories around seasonal events, such as Christmas, Halloween, or even the Olympics.He also uses screws, wires, and pins to position the tiny instruments in place, making sure they won't fall over.He will strategically place food in and around the props to influence the squirrel's movements and hand placements.He admitted that occasionally he'll Photoshop strings and pins out of the final photo.The squirrels need time to get used to the set so he usually lets them interact with it for a few days and tweaks where he places the food.Observing the squirrels' initial interactions with his set allows Weggen to understand where he should be placing the food to achieve the photo he is after.Once the set is complete and the food is added, Weggen sits by his kitchen window and patiently waits for the perfect shot.To pass the time, he will edit or brainstorm designs for his next idea.Weggen is most proud of photos that convey emotion and put a smile on people's faces."Splits" is Weggen's favorite photo and was highly commended in the Comedy Wildlife Photo Awards.Sometimes Weggen will poke fun at American politics, using a Donald Trump figurine as an animated prop.This photo even captures one squirrel not wanting to engage with the props at all.Other times he'll get lucky and additional wildlife will make a cameo.Weggen had tried working with birds but they were too unpredictable, he said.Weggen puts a unique spin on what it means to be a wildlife photographer.Read more:The best wildlife photos taken this year reveal a horde of interlocked ants and a vicious stand-off between a fox and a marmotA life-or-death photo of a fox attempting to capture a marmot just won the most prestigious wildlife photography awardThe best wildlife photos taken this year reveal a hippo murder, a hungry leopard seal, and a weevil ensnared by zombie fungus50 stunning wildlife photos that will make you see animals in a whole new light
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