Wildlife Photography – Shoot for the Eyes

When you’re shooting wildlife your focus (and your camera’s autofocus point) needs to be the subjects eyes. If the eyes aren’t in focus it won’t matter how great your image looks, viewers will know that something’s missing. It’s a fact of life folks, the first thing a person “sees” when looking at a wildlife image is the animal’s eyes. Everything else can be a blur but if the eyes are in perfect focus (tack sharp as Moose Peterson calls it) they will draw the viewer into the photograph and you’ve got a winner!

For a shot like this I generally set the camera on aperture priority (Av) and use the center auto focus point only. I place this AF point right on the bird’s eye that’s closest to me and shoot away.

Red Shouldered Hawk

Red Shouldered Hawk
Copyright © 2009 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon 50D set on aperture priority (Av), using an EF 300mm f/4L IS USM with an EF 1.4X II extender mono-pod mounted. The exposure was taken at 420mm, f/6.7 for 1/350th of a second at ISO 100 on Lexar Professional UDMA digital film. All post capture processing was done in Lightroom 2. Click on the image above for a larger version.