Lens-Artists Challenge #205 – The Eyes Have it

Wall Art, eyes, tears, red

“The soul, fortunately, has an interpreter – often an unconscious but still a faithful interpreter – in the eye.”

Charlotte Bronte

It’s been said that the eyes are a window to the soul; Charlotte Bronte said it much more eloquently in her quote above. In photography, the most successful portraits will, with rare exception, include focus on the eyes. So this week, let’s explore that concept. My image above includes both the eyes of a photography model and that of the wall painting behind him. I was captured by the difference between the two expressions and honestly, the eyes in the painting are what drew me to this scene.

Windows to the Soul

“If I can see pain in your eyes then share with me your tears. If I can see joy in your eyes then share with me your smile.”

Santosh Salwar

Speaking of different expressions, the image above could not demonstrate it more dramatically. I was drawn to the little boy’s joy versus the world-weary eyes of his father. In this portrait as well as the one that follows, the natural light was my friend. Although many professional portraits are done in studio, natural light can also be perfect – especially if the light is reflected in the subject’s eyes. For this Image I was mindful of avoiding shadows on the faces and chose to “fill the frame” to eliminate distractions. For the one below I used a wider aperture to isolate the little monkey and create a bokeh around him.

Cheeky Monkey

“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.”

Martin Buber

I loved the ever-so-human expression on the little monkey, a favorite from our African safari. Like the image above it, there is a nice catchlight in the eyes, and if you look closely you can actually see me reflected there. Safaris can be especially fruitful because so many of the animals are used to being around people. Here on Kiawah the animals and birds are fairly accustomed to us as well, but we can get similar results most anywhere by staying in an area long enough for the local critters to get comfortable around us.

Oystercatcher, red beak, red eye
Now That’s What I Call Red-eye!

“From a bird’s eye view I can see, you are just like me.”

Jason Mraz

Closer to home, in the image above you can see that oystercatchers have eyes red enough to match their powerful beaks. What an interestingly colorful parade they’ve formed! This one was captured from a boat as we explored a bird sanctuary not far from Kiawah. Because I knew we were photographing birds I had my shutter speed set faster to capture motion and raised my ISO to 400 for a bit of extra light. The number of birds was actually larger than I could fit into the frame, so I removed a bird from the right and left sides of the image in post-processing to give those that remained a bit more space.

alligator, teeth, eyes
I’ve Got My Eye On You

“There was something intelligent…and slightly terrifying behind those eyes.

Stanley Wheeler

I’ve included one of our local creatures, a friendly-looking alligator, in the image above. Of course, we are not fooled by his smile, which would open to envelop any body part that dared to get too close. As always, my long lens was the best answer for a gator image, but in fact it’s an excellent tool for most animal portraits. When photographing animals I find that taking multiple shots from different positions, both with and without the surrounding environment, gives me more options for finding what works best.

woman, girl, paisley, wrap, afro, eyes
Window to the Soul

“I like you; your eyes are full of language.”

Anne Sexton

The woman in the image above is also from our travels. I found her so memorable – she was absolutely stunning and I couldn’t resist her beautiful eyes or the halo the backlight had created around her. Her colorful scarf was the icing on the cake. It was not a planned image, rather a fortunate moment in passing. It’s easy to forget that sometimes shooting into the light can create a lovely glow around a subject, as opposed to our normal approach with the sun behind us. In this case, truth be told, I didn’t plan the backlight but the circumstances made it the only way to capture the image.

storm, cloud, mountains
Eye of the Storm

“In the eye of the storm we’re not tossed about by what we see.”

Darryl Anka

While those who skip a post’s text might wonder about the image above, it’s meant to convey a widely-used expression “the eye of the storm”. I captured it last week as my husband and I took a break from South Carolina’s heat for some time in the North Carolina mountains. We truly had a bird’s eye view of the storm as it rolled in and quickly moved on. I used f/11 to capture the wide scene in this one. For me there are two reminders on the image above and the previous one. First while the ‘rule’ of thirds is important (as used in my closing image), it’s OK to ignore the rule sometimes as I did in the image that precedes it. Secondly, it’s important to always have the camera nearby and ready for whatever happens! Of course with today’s cellphone technology that’s a lesson that may soon be found only in history books.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my collection of eye-catching moments (pun intended 😊), and now I’m looking forward to yours. Please remember to link your responses to my original, and to use the Lens-Artists tag which makes it easier for all of us to find you. Special thanks to Sylvia for guest hosting last week’s Doors/Doorways challenge, and to you for your terrific responses.

Next week we’ll continue the Lens-Artists’ summer tradition of inviting several talented guest hosts to present our July challenges.  We’re sharing their themes in advance and hoping you’ll join us in the coming weeks.  They are:

July 02 – Aletta Crouse of Now at Home is focusing on Treasures.

July 09 – Jez Braithwaite of Photos by Jez is Seeing Double.

July 16 – Andre of My Blog–Solaner is thinking about Summer Vibes.

July 23 – Tracy, who posts at Reflections of an Untidy Mind, has chosen Surrealism.

July 30 – Sarah Wilkie, who hosts Travel with Me, asks you to share Three Favorite Images.

We invite you to check out their diverse and interesting blogs and hope you’ll join us throughout July. The Lens-Artists team will be back in August when Anne will host her challenge – “What’s Your Groove”. Until then, as always, please stay safe and be kind.

Looking for more information on joining our challenge? Click here.


189 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #205 – The Eyes Have it

  1. Pingback: Lens Artists Photo Challenge No. 205 – The Eyes Have It – Salsaworldtraveler'sblog

  2. I think- Something in your eyes , was so exciting
    something in your smile was so inviting
    I slipped all the way to your gorgeous island
    to find the beauty that resides so far from
    where I stand
    But then I found the path, and the means to reach
    the place of my dreams
    today I see all eyes around
    This is the gift that nature blesses us with
    This is the power to travel through the universe
    and be blessed with beauty and peace.
    I think I must thank you Tina Ji for the amazing inspiration
    and motivation you bring to my life.
    Thank you.

      • Dear Tina ji
        When I look at you and your classic amazing work, it profoundly awakens the poet in me.Thank you for keeping the writers spirit in me, alive.love n prayers. AwD

  3. I’m so impressed with your eyes, Tina – the ones you took and the ones you caught. I love the beautiful halo girl and the little monkey reflecting you in his eyes. They all inspire me. So much fun and work goes into this Challenge. I’m happy to see Aletta is on for today. I also love that you list all the upcoming challenge hosts and their topics.

      • You, too, Tina. I’m sorry I didn’t get to your fabulous challenge. The time got away from me, but it is such a great topic.

  4. Pingback: Lens-Artists Challenge #205: Beauty in the Eyes – Gypsie’s Wonderful World of Words

  5. The oystercatchers look like they’re listening to a speaker at a conference. The stormy scene in the last picture is mirrored in the image above it. Dark cloudy forms highlighted by light from behind. Lovely.

  6. Pingback: {Look at Me!} LAPC #205 – Cath's Camera

  7. Pingback: Lens-Artists #205 Eyes – Musin' With Susan

  8. I wanted to also mention that your eye if the storm photo was amazing – and if it was the same storm we had – well it caused a little damage around here (thankfully not to our place)

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