Photographer's Up-Close Images of Animal Eyes Will Have You Seeing Wildlife in a Whole New Way

A parrot eye
A parrot eye
Suren Manvelyan

Few people ever get close enough to a hippo, hyena, or crocodile to snap a photo of one, let alone get a detailed shot of their eyes. Yet that is exactly what theoretical physicist-turned-photographer Suren Manvelyan, of Armenia, has done. His macro photography series of animal eyes, spotted by My Modern Met, offers a rare look at the animal world, amplified.

Some of Manvelyan's eye photos—like that of the camel, which has three eyelids—look like strange landscapes on some distant, alien planet. The smallest details have been captured in his photos, from the kaleidoscopic irises of the chinchilla and chimpanzee to the shimmery edges of a raven's eye. If the photos weren't labeled, it might be difficult to tell what you were looking at.

"It is very beautiful and astounding," Manvelyan told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. "The surface resembles the surface of other planets, with craters, rivers, and valleys. It looks like something from another world. Every time I photograph the eye, I feel myself traveling through the cosmos."

Manvelyan keeps his photography techniques secret, but he says he sometimes spends an hour with an animal just waiting to capture the right moment. To date, he has photographed both domestic animals (like a husky dog and Siamese cat) as well as exotic ones (including a variety of tropical birds and lizards). Check out some of his shots below, and visit his website to see more photos from this series.

Eye of a caiman lizard
A caiman lizard's eye
Suren Manvelyan

A camel's eye
A camel's eye
Suren Manvelyan

A chinchilla eye
A chinchilla's eye
Suren Manvelyan

A raven's eye
A raven's eye
Suren Manvelyan

A husky dog's eye
A husky dog's eye
Suren Manvelyan

A horse eye
A horse eye
Suren Manvelyan

A chimpanzee eye
Eye of a chimpanzee
Suren Manvelyan

A tokay gecko's eye
A tokay gecko's eye
Suren Manvelyan

[h/t My Modern Met]

Intense Staring Contest Between a Squirrel and a Bald Eagle Caught on Camera

iStock.com/StefanoVenturi
iStock.com/StefanoVenturi

Wildlife photographers have an eye for the majestic beauty of life on planet Earth, but they also know that nature has a silly side. This picture, captured by Maine photographer Roger Stevens Jr., shows a bald eagle and a gray squirrel locked in an epic staring match.

As WMTW Portland reports, the image has been shared more than 8000 times since Stevens posted it on his Facebook page. According to the post, the photo was taken behind a Rite Aid store in Lincoln, Maine. "I couldn't have made this up!!" Stevens wrote.

Bald eagles eat small rodents like squirrels, which is likely why the creatures were so interested in one another. But the staring contest didn't end with the bird getting his meal; after the photo was snapped, the squirrel escaped down a hole in the tree to safety.

What was a life-or-death moment for the animals made for an entertaining picture. The photograph has over 400 comments, with Facebook users praising the photographer's timing and the squirrel's apparent bravery.

Funny nature photos are common enough that there's an entire contest devoted to them. Here are some of past winners of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.

[h/t WMTW]

What the World’s Oldest Metro Lines Look Like From Above

QuickQuid
QuickQuid

Those who take the subway to work would probably agree that it is neither an especially enjoyable experience nor very pleasant to look at. Things can seem a lot grittier and grimier underground, even when you happen to be in a perfectly charming city with reliable and speedy metro lines.

To give us a different perspective, a creative team commissioned by QuickQuid and an expert in urban planning and design joined up to create aerial images of some of the world’s oldest metro transit systems. The team traced metro lines onto aerial photos of six different cities, and the result is surprisingly beautiful and informative.

For the directionally challenged, it’s also a practical way of visualizing where exactly you are when you breeze through subway stops on your usual route home. “Part of the mystery of traveling underground is that most of us don’t really know where we are in relation to the surface when using the metro,” the team wrote on QuickQuid's website.

Six cities, in six countries total, are featured: Boston, Glasgow, Berlin, Tokyo, Moscow, and Mexico City. One of the more surprising aspects is just how much ground is covered. Moscow’s metro lines, for instance, cover 238 miles, making it one of the world's longest systems. Glasgow’s “Shoogly Train,” by contrast, has just 15 stations spanning 6.5 miles.

QuickQuid’s website has some interesting (and bizarre) information about the history of each metro transit system as well. “Before the underground opened in 1935, the first passenger train driver spent days practicing driving around the city with a Stalin-shaped dummy on board ahead of welcoming the Soviet leader ... as the metro’s first official passenger,” QuickQuid writes.

Scroll down to see all six aerial images, and check out QuickQuid’s website for more details.

Tokyo's metro map
QuickQuid

Berlin's subway map
QuickQuid

Glasgow's metro lines
QuickQuid

Mexico City's metro map
QuickQuid

Moscow's metro
QuickQuid

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