Gaudy Eyeball

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


These gaudy chameleons always catch my attention. Their swiveling eyeballs are so fascinating. Fortunately, this one was willing to pose for a low light portrait.

Specific Feedback

Because of the gear used and very low light, I felt f/8 was the smallest reasonable aperture. The depth of field is therefore shallow, but I think enough of the eye is in focus for an acceptable image. Do you agree? Focus stacking was not an option.

Also, there is a twig in the mouth. I think it adds some “personality”. Keep or clone out?

Technical Details

100mm macro, ISO 800, f/8, 1/5 sec.
This was taken with a Canon 1DsII in 2005, at the Houston Zoo. Low light performance was not its strong point.


Man, the texture and detail is super! I also like the green background against the mostly green skin. Great job.

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Great detail on the eye. It really is the focus of the image for sure. It’s hard to believe that this creature is real…it looks plastic and too bizarre. This is just a great photo!

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Hi Bill, This is terrific! That eye just pops out. :slightly_smiling_face: Very cool. Are they always these colors or do they change depending upon the circumstance?

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Susanna, chameleons change colors depending on their environment and feelings - relaxed or excited. How they change colors is unique. They have cells called iridophores which contain pigments and nanocrystals. The nanocrystals act like prisms which can reflect or absorb all wavelengths of light. Mood changes activate the cells to contract or expand. When relaxed the crystals are close together and reflect short (blue) wavelengths. When expanded the wider spaced crystals reflect longer (red) wavelengths. I’ve never observed these guys long enough to see them change color. Thanks for asking.

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Bill, Chameleons ability to rotate their eyes independently is always amazing. The eye and mouth are nice and sharp and that’s what matters the most. I’m loving the bit of stick…an animal equivalent of the “farmer, cowboy, rodeo participant, etc.” chewing on a toothpick.

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Not sure how I missed this one, Bill, but glad it made the top of the page to give me another chance! Beautiful colors and texture in him. Like @Mark_Seaver I like the “toothpick” in his mouth. Nice addition.

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I missed it too – haven’t been paying enough attention! Has to be the most bizarre eye shot I’ve ever seen! Very well done – congratulations on the EP!!

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Thanks for all the positive comments, everyone.

I had forgotten about this image, but my Lightroom catalogue came to the rescue.