Cheeky Squirrel Photo Crasher

Melissa Brandts and her husband were hiking in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada and decided to take a portrait of themselves with spectacular Lake Minnewanka in the background. Melissa set up the camera and went back to pose, and her husband held the remote shutter  release.

Meanwhile, attracted by the sounds of the autofocus, an inquisitive Columbian ground squirrel, common in the park, popped up to investigate. Click!  “Self-Portrait With Ground Squirrel” was born.

Knowing she had struck photo gold, Melissa sent the pic to National Geographic magazine’s Your Shot, and photo editor Susan Welchman chose it for her Daily Dozen gallery last week. You can find it in all its furry glory by clicking here.

In the past few days, this photo has appeared on the popular blogs Nothing to Do With Arbroath, Neatorama, and that bastion of adorableness, Cute Overload. Today the photo surfaced on the Daily Mail

Some commenters claim the photo was manipulated in some way, but one Daily Mail reader pointed out:
 “You can tell this photo is legitimate because the squirrel’s ears are pinned back like it was trying to figure out the camera sounds.”

A Neatorama reader added: “The camera is autofocusing on the critter and not the couple. The perspective and lighting are absolutely consistent, and those whiskers are just too perfect to have been dropped in. Most of all, you can easily imagine the little guy being curious about the camera’s delayed shutter countdown beep.”

Some of the comments over on Cute Overload are pretty hilarious. 

All of the Daily Dozen photos get made into online jigsaw puzzles, and if you’d like to do the squirrel puzzle, it’s on page three of the Jigsaw Puzzle Generator today (tomorrow it will probably move to page four).

If you want to see this photo published in a future issue of National Geographic magazine, go to the Voting Machine and choose “August Week 1”  and you can vote for it there (it’s image #9 in the gallery).