Weekly Photo Challenge: Illusions

This week, the theme is to:

Photograph Illusions

It’s a tricky challenge this week. You’re going to have to think outside the box a bit!

Photographing illusions means photographing something that looks like something else or looks different than it really is.

Sometimes the world hands us a visual illusion. We see something that isn’t really there – like the bend in this tree reflected in the water creates a shape that’s not really there.

Photo C Tree
Tree reflected in pond creates a shape that I see as the letter C. This photo is called C Tree.

Change your perspective on the world and look closely (macro) or around a corner.

There are some photographic techniques that play with our perspective. Vanishing point is a type of visual illusion. Lines disappearing into the distance or the way edges of a tall building seem to converge are everyday examples. These railroad tracks remain parallel and don’t really meet somewhere in the distance, but the look as if they do.

Photo Railroad Tracks
Vanishing point illusion. These railroad tracks are parallel and don’t really meet in the distance – they just look like they do.
Photo Zooming by Westminster
Zooming by Westminster. London is a great place to do close-up long exposures with traffic. The double-decker busses add height to the light trails. This is tourist-central, but everyone carefully skirted my tripod set on the very edge of the pedestrian part of the bridge.

Vanishing point is a natural illusion, but Forced Perspective is a photographic illusion that we plan. This plays with the illusion that people or objects are smaller when they are far away – they aren’t really – they just look that way! Everyone (except me!) visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa seems obsessed with holding up the thing! See examples of Forced Perspective at the Leaning Tower. 

Spinning that zoom on your lens during a long exposure can also create an illusion of light moving or capturing light moving through a long exposure creates the illusion of light trails. If you’ve never played with long-exposure, this is your week (How to Photograph Light Trails)

Layering reflections can also create illusions or moving the camera to create motion blur are also photographic techniques that can add illusion to our photographs.

Photo Firework
How I WISH the fireworks looked over the Mississippi River.

Photographic illusions can be added with digital post-processing. The photograph depicts a scene that really wasn’t there. Reflections are one of my favorite things to add in an image. The fireworks should have been reflected in the river, they just weren’t, the tree should be standing in a pool of water, but was in a boring field. There are apps that will add reflections to photos or you can do this in Photoshop. This week is the time to play!

Photoshop allows all sorts of warping effects that are fun to play with or photo compositing – adding two or more photos together. Your viewer may not even know you’ve changed the scene!

This is the week to look at the world a little cross-eyed and see it for what it’s not.

Share your posts in the Comments below and share with the tag #photoyogaillusions for a chance to have your photo featured on PhotoYoga.

I’m using my Random Inspiration Generator to choose the challenge each week. Use it if you want more frequent inspirations!

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Black and White Mountain Top Poster

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