A Bird’s Eye View

Focus on the eyes…I remember reading that advice in a photography book (probably by Peterson or Kelby) and it has proven to be of great benefit in taking bird pictures.

I find that my favorite photos are the ones that manage to capture a bit of personality in the bird’s eyes.  So, when I am sorting through pictures (like the couple hundred I took this weekend) and trying to choose which ones to share, I tend to discard those where the eyes seem dull.  On the other hand, if the eyes look sharp (even if other parts of the image are flawed or fuzzy) the picture will likely be posted.

Take this Towhee for example.  Even though the picture is cluttered, there is just something compelling about his eye.


Same thing as this Carolina Wren.  Parts of the picture are a bit blurry, but the expression in his eye makes me smile.  Everything about this little fellow is perky!



And it you can get a clear eye and a drippy beak…


…or a tongue sticking out…


…or a peanut being confiscated…


…well, that’s just a bonus!

Some birds, like Chickadees, that have dark eyes surrounded by dark feathers, are especially challenging.  I’m always thrilled when I get a picture (or two) that shows a lively gleam.  I can’t decide if this little guy looks cheerful or mischievous, or if like me, he is cheerful because he’s being mischievous!



Other birds, like Tufted Titmice, are difficult because they are furtive and move so fast that it’s hard (for me anyway) to get the eyes looking crisp and clear.


It’s always fun when you snap a photo where the look in the eye (and the tilt of the head) clearly conveys a bird’s curiosity.  I think Buber’s quote is true – “An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.”


towhee2I’d love to go on posting pictures…like of this female Cardinal…


…or this Brown-headed Nuthatch…


but I don’t want to be a blog hog!  Besides, I think you get the idea:  If you want to take captivating bird pictures, try to get a bird’s eye view of the bird’s eye in your viewfinder!


About kathydoremus

Wife, mother, daughter, and friend. One who dabbles in writing, thinks in rhyme, and is utterly unable to escape the allure of alliteration:) Amateur nature photographer. A backyard bird watcher, a hiker of non-strenuous trails to waterfalls, and a fan of Atlanta sports teams. Driver of an orange Jeep Renegade who goes by the name of Earl. One who is nourished by silence, solitude, and a good cup of coffee. A lover of God’s Word and the riches that are hidden there. An extremely ordinary jar of clay who longs to see and be satisfied by the glory of God, and to somehow display that in my everyday life.
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16 Responses to A Bird’s Eye View

  1. Jill Kuhn says:

    Gorgeous photos, Kathy! “Eye” love them! 💖💕

  2. Wow! If I have time, maybe I’ll have the pleasure of sketching these later. Bravo once again, Kathy! I think you’re on to something with the focus on the eyes. I do the same when attempting to capture a bird (or any creature) on paper. That’s the first thing we look at. And I agree, the personal it shines through. Thanks for sharing your gift for photography with us!

  3. *Lol that should be personality 🙂

  4. mamaemme says:

    True for people as well…..

  5. Squid says:

    From the beginning of my serious bird photography that was the criteria my dad (who taught me most of what I know) used to determine a “good” picture. Can you see the eyeball clearly? No? Throw it out. Yes? Post it! Love your personality-filled pictures too! One of my favorite things about shooting live subjects is the opportunity to find that sparkle of fun.
    Happy shooting and good luck on those Titmice eyes! 🙂

  6. Jodi says:

    What great advice! Focus on the eyes! I will keep that in mind. I noticed the eyes in every photo. EYE love it!

  7. Tiny says:

    Good advice, which I have never read before, but intuitively tried to do. You have lots of beautiful eyes here. Great shots!

  8. WOW WOW I love birds! Nice pictures

  9. Love your photos! You have some bird friends that we don’t see in my backyard.

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