Black-crowned Night-Heron, © Photo by Steve Kaye

Why Focus Matters | June 2016

Why Focus Matters

Black-crowned Night-Heron, © Photo by Steve Kaye, in blog post about Focus

Black-crowned Night-Heron

Focus is a critical part of photography

So if you’ve been reading my blog posts, this may seem like an odd statement.

I don’t take photos of birds.


And yes, I realize that my web site, blogs, and presentations all show photos of birds.

So what do I do?

I take photos of eyes. And I do this for two reasons.

First, if I can take a good photo of an eye, then the photo of the bird will be good.

Of course, if I just wanted to take photos of birds, the photo below might be considered fantastic.

Admittedly, it is sort of interesting. But I doubt that I could show an hour’s worth of photos like this at an Audubon meeting.

Willet, © Photo by Steve Kaye, in Blog post about Focus


And that brings us to the main reason why I take photos of eyes.

I want to show life.

When I look into a bird’s eyes, I see a reflection of life. And that instills a sense of connection with all life.

So I hope that when people see photos of life in Nature, they will feel a connection with it.

And then, perhaps, that connection will lead them to have a greater respect for Nature.

Once people respect something, they take better care of it.

And this matters because we need to take better care of our environment.

So that’s why I take photos like the one below of a Forster’s Tern.

Forster's Tern, © Photo by Steve Kaye, in blog post about Focus

Forster’s Tern

There are two important points here.

First, I began with a mission: To inspire respect for Nature. Then I asked myself how I could achieve it.

That question led me to realize that I could be most effective by putting my focus on the eye.

Second, I hope that I can move others toward sustainable values by building upon a common value (respect for life).

Much success,

Steve Kaye

See more photos of eyes: Birds Up Close

Read my Mission Statement: Mission and Values

Help Birds Tip

Pick up Trash

Why: Trash kills birds. They become tangled in it or they become sick after eating it.

How: Put trash in trash cans. Or bring a container to collect trash while you’re your outside, and then dispose of it when practical.

Did You Know?

The most effective way to help birds is to buy land.

Here are three organizations that excel at doing this.

1) American Bird Conservancy

2) The Nature Conservancy

3) The Trust for Public Land

Please visit their web sites to learn about the work they do.

Here’s an excellent book: The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation

You can help – Please share this blog with others.
Inspiring Respect for Nature, one bird at a time.

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  • Bob Franz
    Posted at 14:39h, 01 July

    Hi Steve,

    No doubt about it – the eyes have it! Bob

  • Susan Bulger
    Posted at 16:41h, 01 July

    Your work is beyond remarkable in every way. Thank you for sharing these revealing close-ups. With them we can see better than with our own eyes.

    Your message about trash is very important. Even a 4″ piece of fishing line can kill a bird which I have seen happen in a bluebird nest box. Strings of all types are deadly for birds when they weave them into their nests because their feet can easily get tangled with no way to get free. I’ve seen it many times. Please spread the motto PICK UP ALL STRINGS, ALWAYS.

  • Tracie Lynne Hall
    Posted at 09:30h, 02 July

    I agree! If I find the eyes in an image I’ve taken aren’t sharp, but the body is, I’m très disappointed. I’m even unhappy if there are multiple animals and only a couple have sharp eyes, even though the depth of field obviously couldn’t include all of them–unless they are way in the distance and completely fuzzy. If I can crop out the one with indistinct eyes, I will. If I can’t, I’ll delete the image….although, after our earlier e-mail exchanges about identifying birds–even from the poor images, I have started saving more unpublishable images than I used to. I suppose a perusal of my Flickr page contradicts this claim of adherence to sharpness, but I’ll maintain that most of those are earlier shots, and when I first got that account I thought of it as storage space, not thinking anyone else would be looking at my pictures, so I was less critical..

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