The Eyes Have It

_djc0509If there was one thing I could impress upon wildlife photographers, it is the importance of eyes. As humans, we are programmed to key in on eyes, whether they are human or animal. Sharp, interesting, focused eyes can make a photo. Bears clamming is no longer unusual, but bears clamming and looking up enough for a good view of their eyes, is. Here the eyes are tack sharp, and are clearly focused on a subject of interest to the bear (in this case another bear, which might prove an ally or rival in its clamming project).

The best way to ensure that eyes are sharp is to focus on them – I often use single-point AF and make sure that I set my AF point to be over one of the eyes. If that is too difficult, a similar effect can be achieved by focusing on something the same distance as the eyes – perhaps the shoulders of the animal. In this case the bear looking into the frame and the clearly visible claws in interesting positions help make the scene, but it would be nothing without the sharp eyes staring at something of interest.