My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

The eyes have it!

When I photograph wildlife, I try to do one of two things, either tell a story, or to do a portrait of the critter. Sometimes you luck out and can combine the two, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

Generally, I’ll save and possibly post a photo that tells a story but isn’t a technically good photo, on the other hand, I prefer that portraits of critters be very good to great shots. But, what do I do with a shot like this?

Fox squirrel

Or this?

Fox squirrel

Those aren’t very good photos, but the fox squirrel is just so darned cute, how can I not post them?

For photos that tell a story, those aren’t too bad, but there’s not much of a story there. Squirrel interrupted while digging for nuts, I’ve got at least a hundred others, most are better, but the squirrels in those photos weren’t nearly as photogenic as this one was.

Part of my criteria for whether or not to post a photo is how many other photos of the same species I have already posted, therefore, I keep raising the standard for some of the more common species. I have already posted quite a few photos of some species, such as chickadees, nuthatches, and great blue herons, so any newer ones I post will have to be exceptional in some way or another.

Then there are those species that I haven’t posted many photos of, like titmice.


So I need to add more photos of them, hopefully good ones.


They are really kind of an odd looking bird when you see them at this angle.


When I am going for portrait shots like these, I try to get a clear view of the subject’s eyes, as if I was doing a human portrait.


Of course it helps if I can get close…

Black capped chickadee

…and I mean really close!

Black capped chickadee

Sometimes I focus so intently on the eyes of a subject that I forget to see what else is going on as I snap the shutter.

Male mallard giving me the evil eye

Like weeds.

Male mallard

Male mallard

But then sometimes I get it right.

Female mallard

Mallard mates

Mallard mates

And sometimes the results can be humorous as well, like in this series of a red bellied woodpecker searching for food.

Red bellied woodpecker

“Come on out, I know that you’re in there!”

Red bellied woodpecker

“Don’t make me dig you out!”

Red bellied woodpecker

In the world of birds, there are no eyes better to photograph than the eyes of raptors.

Sharp shinned hawk

Sharp shinned hawk

Sharp shinned hawk

Sharp shinned hawk

Sharp shinned hawk

If only that branch wasn’t in the way, I would say that the last one was just about perfect!

I guess I’ll have to keep on trying until I get a photo that captures the intensity of a raptor’s stare, but without the branch in the way.

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!


26 responses

  1. Lovely selection of photos and complimenting commentary.

    January 29, 2012 at 9:08 am

    • Thank you, loved your blog as well!

      January 29, 2012 at 11:27 am

  2. I agree with Bonnie. Great photos, great story. πŸ™‚

    January 29, 2012 at 9:53 am

    • Thanks Bob!

      January 29, 2012 at 11:26 am

  3. Cute squirrel!

    January 29, 2012 at 10:21 am

    • Thanks, it was too cute not to post!

      January 29, 2012 at 11:26 am

  4. beautiful shots beautifully taken………… πŸ˜€

    January 29, 2012 at 10:35 am

    • Thank you!

      January 29, 2012 at 11:25 am

  5. I really like these images. πŸ™‚

    January 29, 2012 at 11:44 am

    • Thank you, love your photos from the marsh as well!

      January 29, 2012 at 11:50 am

  6. Your photography always brings a smile to my face. I feel like I’m right there!

    January 29, 2012 at 11:44 am

    • Thank you Cee!

      January 29, 2012 at 11:49 am

  7. Great shots!

    January 29, 2012 at 11:50 am

    • Thank you, but I don’t think they are all that great when compared to yours! I’ve been trying for a good shot of a kingfisher for years, and you have several.

      January 29, 2012 at 11:58 am

  8. Northern Narratives

    I never get tired of bird photos πŸ™‚

    January 29, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    • Thank you very much!

      January 30, 2012 at 10:02 am

  9. I like them all, but especially the squirrels.

    January 29, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    • Thanks, Allen!

      January 30, 2012 at 10:02 am

  10. LOVE the hawk. Great photos!

    January 29, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    • Thank you Sheila!

      January 30, 2012 at 10:02 am

  11. Excellent images! Every time I read your blog, it just gets better!

    January 30, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    • Thanks, I thought my last one on the eating habits of birds, and migration patterns was one of my best, and that this one was weak.

      January 31, 2012 at 2:55 am

  12. Thought this might interest you. Or….maybe not.

    January 31, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    • Thanks, I am interested, but haven’t had the time to check it out yet.

      February 3, 2012 at 10:13 am

  13. parashartales

    WoW!!!! I have just this word for your post….

    February 20, 2012 at 8:34 am

    • Thank you, and thanks for the comment!

      February 20, 2012 at 9:29 am