Pika, Revisited

Well, I arrived back home late today, from my 4-week photo trip to Montana and Colorado. After driving a good part of the day, then unpacking the car, I was just too tired to begin the task of downloading/editing photos. So, today’s blog is a previously published post (August 2012) of a small, but very interesting little rodent, the Pika. I did see and photograph more Pika on my recent trip, so it is likely you will see more of these busy little critters, scurrying about and collecting grasses and wildflowers¬† :o)¬† Until then, enjoy this post from last year.

At the top of Mount Evans, the American Pika (Ochotona princeps) can be found. Although their numbers seemed to be considerably less than what I saw along the Crater Lake trail, if you looked, you could find some. A lot of the time, they would just sit on the rocks and appear to be happy little “stuffed cuties” … and quite easy to photograph:


American Pika, sitting on a rock

American Pika, sitting on a rock


But when active, they can be quite difficult to capture on film (digital media). They are lightening quick, and their small size allows them to scamper behind rocks as it winds across a rock bed. To photograph them, I highly recommend shooting with a fast shutter speed (1/500 second would be a good starting point), and increasing the camera’s ISO setting (maybe 400 or 800) as necessary, to get a high shutter speed. And one last tip … shoots tons of images! By shooting lots of frames, you will greatly enhance the probability of capturing at least a few frames of this wonderful critter in sharp focus. Here are a couple of action images I was able to capture as this little guy rounded up wildflowers to take back to his den. He would zip around the area, stopping to pull up and add to his growing cache, then zip off to the next stop:


American Pika, collecting wildflowers

American Pika collecting wildflowers


I missed way more shots than I captured. Fortunately, I followed my own advice and managed to grab a few “keepers” … with lots of frames for the trash! If you missed my earlier post on the American Pika (from Crater Lake), check out the post and the behavioral info I posted on the the American Pika. It truly is an amazing little creature!

Posted in Mammals, Nature Photography, Travel Photography
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