Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Eyes Have It

"Life is the movie you see through your own eyes. It makes little difference what's happening out there. It's how you take it that counts." (Dennis Waitley)

Desert Eyes (c) John AshleyThe Smithsonian National Natural History Museum in D.C. is on my bucket list, and has been for many years. But for now, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum near Tucson is my all-time favorite. From a trip there a few days ago, I put together a little reminder about what is probably the most important rule in wildlife photography. I'll give you a hint -- it has to do with eyes.

If your subject's eyes are visible, they should be tack-sharp in 99% of all situations. There's probably 1% of times when you can break this rule, but I can't think of a single example at the moment -- that's how rare it is for a good photograph to have blurred eyes visible.

Recognize anyone in the photo? Here's a few hints. There are 14 birds and a mammal, a fish, a reptile and an amphibian. Among the birds there are three different owls, a hawk, a falcon and a hummingbird. Some of these are pretty hard. If you can identify half, then you're doing pretty good. If you get more then half, you are a biologist -- go back to work.

Give up yet? Answers below.

From top left to bottom right: Harris' Hawk, unidentified fish, White-winged Dove, black-tailed prairie dog, Scrub Jay, lizard, Costa's Hummingbird, Great-horned Owl, parrot, Screech Owl, Barn Owl, Black-necked Stilt, Band-tailed Pigeon, female Cardinal, Prairie Falcon, frog.


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