Tag Archives: eyes

The Eyes Definitely Have It

Double click for a larger version of the image.
Double click for a larger version of the image.

One thing that I find truly amazing is eyes. They say that the eye is the window into the soul. I know that’s just a saying, but there may be something to it.

Take the eyes in today’s photo, for instance. This model was at the studio for the photo shoot last week that I participated in and I thought she had marvelous eyes. She was a small woman and thin, but her eyes were stunning. I have one like this where both of her eyes are looking straight forward, but I rather liked the mystery implicit in this image.

Whenever I shoot a model or person with special eyes, I always ask if I can get in close for a detailed shot of their eyes. I’ve not had a single person turn me down…yet.

In eyes you can see pain, wonder, laughter and sorrow. Perhaps they are the window to our soul after all.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1960, the first episode of the one-hour television drama “Route 66″ aired on CBS. The program had a simple premise: It followed two young men, Buz Murdock and Tod Stiles, as they drove across the country in an inherited Corvette (Chevrolet was one of the show’s sponsors), doing odd jobs and looking for adventure. According to the show’s creator and writer, Stirling Silliphant (best known for his acclaimed “Naked City,” an earlier TV series), Buz and Tod were really on a journey in search of themselves. “Call ‘Route 66′ ‘Pilgrim’s Progress,’” Silliphant told a reporter. “The motive power driving our two characters is not a Corvette: it is the desire for knowledge–and for sentience; it is a quest through the perennially fascinating cosmos of personal identity.”

“Route 66″ was different from every other show on television. For one thing, it was shot on location all over the United States instead of in a studio. By the time its run was up in 1964, the show’s cast and crew had traveled from Maine to Florida and from Los Angeles to Toronto: In all, they taped 116 episodes in 25 states. (Silliphant himself arrived at all the show’s locations six weeks before anyone else. When he got there, he would acquaint himself with local culture and write the scripts on-site.)  The show was a serious drama with social-realist pretensions, but its nomadic premise meant that it could tackle a new issue–war, mental illness, religion, murder, drug addiction, drought–every week. By contrast, police procedurals and hospital dramas necessarily had a more limited range. The show’s stark black-and-white cinematography was likewise suited to its serious tone.

The real Route 66 was a two-lane highway that ran from Chicago to Los Angeles.  From its completion in the late 1930s, it was one of the major routes across the American Southwest.  It was also probably the most famous: John Steinbeck called it the “Mother Road” in his book “The Grapes of Wrath,” and Nat King Cole’s version of songwriter Bobby Troup’s 1946 song “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66″ is still familiar to many people today.

In 1993, NBC developed a peppier, less gritty remake of the show–in fact, about the only thing the two “Route 66″s had in common was the Corvette–but it went off the air after just a few episodes. Today, fans of the original can watch it on DVD.

You can follow Route 66 today, too, though much of it has fallen out of repair and is impassable. Instead, it runs alongside a modern freeway, with Route 66 memorability and diners everywhere. If you’ve never been on Route 66, you should add it to your bucket list as it traverses some beautiful scenery, especially in the American southwest.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Even though almost equal numbers of men and women spend time in the ocean, no one knows why sharks seem to prefer to attack men. In fact, nearly 90% of shark attacks have happened to men.

Eye Sight


The human eye is fascinating.  They are all unique – like fingerprints – the retinal patterns and features of the eye can be used to identify people.  Those high-tech retinal scanners that you see in movies are real!

They are also incredibly sensitive.  On a moonless night, the human eye can detect the light from a single match from a mountaintop fifty miles away (well, younger eyes than mine, maybe!!!)

I love to take pictures of eyes.  These are the eyes of a model on the exhibit floor at the recent Photoshop World convention that was held here in Atlanta.  She was in a booth that featured lighting products and they had some models there that you could shoot for free.  This is from a facial shot, and then I cropped it to just the eyes.

Here’s lookin’ at you, kid!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1815, heavy eruptions of the Tambora volcano in Indonesia are letting up by this day in 1815. The volcano, which began rumbling on April 5, killed almost 100,000 people directly and indirectly. The eruption was the largest ever recorded and its effects were noted throughout the world.

Tambora is located on Sumbawa Island, on the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago. There had been no signs of volcanic activity there for thousands of years prior to the 1815 eruption. On April 10, the first of a series of eruptions that month sent ash 20 miles into the atmosphere, covering the island with ash to a height of 1.5 meters.

Five days later, Tambora erupted violently once again. This time, so much ash was expelled that the sun was not seen for several days. Flaming hot debris thrown into the surrounding ocean caused explosions of steam. The debris also caused a moderate-sized tsunami. In all, so much rock and ash was thrown out of Tambora that the height of the volcano was reduced from 14,000 to 9,000 feet.

The worst explosions were heard hundreds of miles away. The eruptions of Tambora also affected the climate worldwide. Enough ash had been thrown into the atmosphere that global temperatures were reduced over the next year; it also caused spectacularly colored sunsets throughout the world. The eruption was blamed for snow and frost in New England during June and July that summer.

Ten thousand people were killed by the eruptions, most on Sumbawa Island. In subsequent months, more than 80,000 people died in the surrounding area from starvation due to the resulting crop failures and disease.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  Approximately two-thirds of people tip their head to the right when they kiss. Some scholars speculate this preference starts in the womb.



Sometimes, words fail us. It may be when we’ve looked at a spectacular sunrise or sunset or when we’ve laid on out back under a starry sky and feel the immensity around us and our own finiteness, adrift in the massive ocean of the universe.

At other times, we may be dumbstruck when gazing into the face of a loved one for the first or the zillionth time, for such things know no season.

I can find myself speechless when looking at animals. I see their grace, their power, their color, their mystery…hidden behind eyes that see but mouths which can form no words. I wonder what goes on inside the brain of an animal like one of the great apes. Do they form words but just lack the capacity to verbalize? Do they think in pictures? What might they be thinking about as they gaze at us?

Take this great gorilla from the Atlanta zoo, for instance. Double click the image to see it in greater size and look at the eyes.  What is happening? The mouth seems down-turned into a never-ending frown, forlorn of hope. I don’t know, but I must say this: I find it heartbreaking that such a magnificent creature is sequestered in a holding habitat instead of roaming the misty hillsides of Africa.

On Saturday, I went with one of my sons and his two little girls to the zoo and got some wonderful photos of these magnificent creatures, including today’s photo. I’ll share more with you in a few days.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY:  on this day in 1885, a 19-year-old man named John Lee was sent to the gallows in Exeter, England, for the murder of Ellen Keyse, a rich older woman for whom he had worked. Although he insisted he was innocent, Lee had been convicted and sentenced to death by hanging. However, after the noose was put around his neck and the lever that would release the floor beneath his feet was pulled, something malfunctioned and Lee was not dropped. Strangely, the equipment had been tested and found to be in working order. In facts, weights used in a test run plunged to the ground as expected. The hanging was attempted two more times, but when Lee stood on the trap door, and the lever was pulled, nothing happened. He was then sent back to prison. On November 15, 1884, Keyse, who had been a maid to Queen Victoria, was found dead in a pantry next to Lee’s room. Her head was severely battered and her throat cut. There was no direct evidence of Lee’s guilt; the case was made solely on circumstantial evidence. The alleged motive was Lee’s resentment at Keyse’s mean treatment.

The authorities, mystified at the gallows’ inexplicable malfunction, decided to ascribe it to an act of God. Lee was removed from death row, his sentence commuted, and he spent the next 22 years in prison. After he was released, he emigrated to America. The cause of Lee’s remarkable reprieve was never discovered.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  it is believed that a male silverback gorilla is stronger than 20 human beings combined. Thankfully, they are largely docile and only fight or attack when absolutely necessary.

Here’s Dirt In Your Eye

Isn’t that a strange saying?  “Here’s dirt in your eye!” or a variation, “Here’s mud in your eye!”  It makes me wonder who would be so mean as to put dirt in someone else’s eye?!?!  Of course, we could dredge up images of the 98-pound weakling trying to escape the clutches of the much larger bully by throwing sand in the bad guy’s face.  But in that case, it’d be “Here’s sand in your eye!”, right?

So, being my normal, curious self, I tried to find out what it meant.  Some say it’s just a toast offered over a drink with no meaning.  Others say that it’s a way of wishing someone well – which sounded strange – until someone else linked it with the story in the New Testament of when a blind man came to Jesus who proceeded to spit on the ground and smear mud on the man’s eyes with the result being that the man had his sight restored.  (There was a persistent belief among the ancient Jews that spit had medicinal value – and even today, poultices are often applied for healing purposes.)  So, I guess, given that reference, I can see where it could be wishing someone well.

But, other than the fact that in my picture today you can see “dirt” (like small fibers of cotton) on the (eye on the left side of the picture) of the Cloverdale Green Giant that I photographed yesterday, my title has nothing to do with all that.  Double-click the picture a couple of times and you’ll be able to clearly see the “lint” like stuff.

My first reaction was, “Ouch!  That looks like that must hurt when he blinks!”  But then I realized that this kind of critter doesn’t have eyelids to blink with!!!  Knowing that, I can sleep better tonight…unless I have visions of those bright red eyes glaring at me!!!!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1959, Wilt “the Stilt” Chamberlain started a record streak of playing in 799 consecutive games – and he didn’t foul out of even one of them

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: in the last 4000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.

Who Is That In There?

I like to fool around with all sorts of photography.  One of the thing that I enjoy is macro photography – shooting small things at a magnified size so more detail can be seen.  I experimented with eyes – taking pictures of eyes from regular distances and also from extreme close ups.  The difference in eyes is amazing!  And the detail in the iris and white of the eyes is also not just amazing, but sometimes spellbinding!  When I find someone that I think has very unusual or attractive eyes, I will ask permission to photograph their eyes.  So far, so good.  I even did it with my little granddaughter when she was just 5 months old (now THAT was a challenge because how do you get a 5-month old to sit still long enough that you can take a picture of their open eye?!?!?!)

Anyway, today’s picture is of one such “eye”…not my granddaughter’s, but the daughter of a friend – and the dad and daughter both gave permission to shoot her eyes.  I’m glad they did, because I got some nice shots out of it.

One of the things that I liked about today’s picture is the if you make it large enough, you can see both my reflection and the lens opening on my camera reflected in the pupil of this young lady’s eye.  I was wearing a white t-shirt and the camera lens opening appears as a black circle neary in the center of the pupil.  You may need to click on the picture a couple of times to “explode” it up so it’s large enough for you to see what I’m talking about…in the full-sized picture it’s quite evident.  So, what we have here is a picture of me taking a picture of someone’s eye!  F-R-E-A-K-Y!!!!

Eye See You, er, I Mean, Me!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1786, commercial ice cream was manufactured for the first time in New York City.  (I wonder if it was maple nut – the world’s BEST flavor!!!!!)

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: in China, giving of straw sandals as a gift is view as a severe no-no because they are associated with funerals.  

Hungry Eyes

I love animals…big ones, small ones, domesticated ones, wild ones.  Animals have always fascinated me, and I guess they will as long as I am sane!  While I love to see animals, I especially enjoy seeing them in the wild.  That, however, is not always possible.  Some animals I would never get to see in their natural habitat.  So, I go to the zoo every once in a great while.

Zoos have come a long way from what they were.  It seems that the plight of animals kept in cages has got the attention of well-meaning folk and the cages are gone (whenever possible) in favor of much larger “enclosures” surrounded by moats, tall walls, glass, etc., so the animals will have more room in which to roam and explore.  Still, it makes me sad to see these magnificent animals in zoos instead of out running loose.

I suppose that most of the animals in zoos these days were born there and have never known anything different.  There’s a bit of comfort in that.  I also suppose that it means the monkeys, zebras, deer and antelope are safe from being eaten by lions, tigers, bears or crocodiles, so again, there’s a bit of comfort in that.

Today’s picture was taken a couple of years ago at the San Francisco Zoo with my Sony A100 Alpha.  You can’t tell from the picture, but this fellow was roaring for all he was worth.  I had my telephoto on (no, I wasn’t STUPID – I didn’t get in the enclosure with him to get this picture!), but when he turned and looked at me and I saw his ice-cold green eyes lock onto me, I think for the first time I was able to read an animal’s mind.  The tiger was saying, “I’d like to eat you for lunch!”  And he kept repeating it over and over!

Reminds me of the song from Dirty Dancing, titled “Hungry Eyes”.  Here’s part of it:

With these hungry eyes
One look at you and I can’t disguise
I’ve got hungry eyes

I think his belly was hungry, too….in fact, maybe it was his belly that was roaring!!!!


"I only have eyes for you!"


ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1925, Tennessee banned the teaching of evolution in schools.  John Scopes would go on to defy the ban, leading to the now-famous “Monkey Trial.”

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the world population in 5000 BC is estimated by the National Population Council to have been 5 million persons.


Eye See You

Eyes are truly amazing organs.  They allow us to see tiny pinpoints of light from far off galaxies in the dark of night, and the faces of our loved ones.  Our eyes communicate much about us: our emotions can be read in the eyes.  Eyes come in a stunning array of colors and the patterns of the iris can be used for identification – much like fingerprints, no two are alike.

I enjoy taking pictures of eyes, especially close-ups of eyes.  It makes some of my subjects a bit leery, but they’ve all been good sports about it so far.  Today’s photo was taken of a girl from our church who graduated from high school this past year.  I always thought she had pretty, expressive eyes, so when I asked if she’d be willing to let me photograph them, she was happy to oblige.

As you look at the picture today, you can make out a reflection on the surface of her eye – a guy standing there with a white T-shirt, manning a camera.  That’s ME!


The eyes have it...


ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1781, the English astronomer, Sir William Herschel, discovered the planet Georgium Sidus, later called Uranus.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: the sun is about midway in terms of the size of stars, though most are smaller.  Only 5% of the stars in our Milky Way galaxy are larger than our sun, but that 5% represents 5 billion stars that are larger than our sun in our galaxy.


Eyes On the World

More of the old barn today.  In some ways the picture looks like a face…a sad one, weather-worn and scarred.  If you see the two windows as eyes you can almost imagine the door as an elongated nose (can you say Jimmy Durante, anyone?)

I don’t know if you’ve ever really thought about windows as if they were eyes.  Light enters through them, enabling vision.  In days gone by before electricity and electric light bulbs, if there were no windows in a building/room, there was no way to see except by a candle or fire.  Windows changed all that.

But have you ever wondered whether the primary purpose of a window is to allow people to see out, or to allow those outside to see in?  They serve both purposes, you know.  How many times have you peered through a window…at a store, at your home, into a car?  Windows…like eyes…are wonderful things.  Wouldn’t it be interesting if one could look into your eyes and really see what is going on inside of you – just like you can look through a barn window such as those in the picture today and see remnants of years gone by, little furry or feathered creatures as they skitter and flitter around?!?!

Who knows?  Maybe as I was standing there looking at the barn…the barn was actually looking at me!  Have you ever pondered the possibility that all the things which we think are inanimate (like this barn) are really alive…and we are parasites that go in and out of them, just as parasites go in and out of the human body?  Nah, of course you’ve not thought about those things!  I’m probably the only one strange enough to ponder weird things like that.  I also have wondered if beings from outer-space (if there are any) that watch us through their super-powerful telescopes, think that our vehicles are alive because of the way they move around and are “fed”.  Maybe they think the cars are alive…and we are parasites!!!

We learn so much about the world through our eyes…windows, it is said, to the soul.  Maybe windows are also the way to see the soul of a barn.


Eyes and windows...looking in, or looking out?

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1883, New York’s Oscar Hammerstein invented the first practical cigar-rolling machine.   Later, his grandson, teamed with Richard Rogers, would write some of the greatest music ever.


TRIVIA FOR TODAY: most adults in good health can go for a month or longer without eating, but need 2 quarts of water a day.