The authors are concerned with the problems of reconstructing surfaces from stereo images for large scenes having large depth ranges. They present an approach to acquiring coarse structural information about the scene in the vicinity of the next fixation point during the current fixation and utilizing this information for surface reconstruction in the vicinity of the next fixation point The approach involves the processing of peripheral low-resolution parts of the current images away from the image center, in additive to accurate surface estimation from the central high-resolution parts containing the fixated object. The processing of the low-resolution parts yields coarse surface estimates to be refined after the cameras have refixated and the parts of the scene around the new fixation point (currently at low resolution) are imaged more sharply. The coarse estimates are obtained from both stereo and focus. The choice as to which estimate is actually used depends on which is determined to be more accurate in the given situation. Experimental results demonstrate that the approach may be well suited for active data acquisition and surface reconstruction by an autonomous stereo system.