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Optical illusion

25 minutes

At some time or other you have probably taken a ‘peculiar’ photograph, with someone standing right in front of a tree trunk. It seems as if the tree is growing right out of their head. How does that work exactly? And can you deliberately take these kinds of peculiar photographs yourself?



Step 1

Look at the photo above. What surprising effects can you see? How are these effects created?

Step 2

Now look at the photo above. How was this photo taken?

Step 3

Here you can see how the previous photo was created. Could you try this yourself?

Step 4

Try to work out how you could take a photo like this, one that seems to show something that is totally impossible. See also the example shown above. Place a small object close to the lens. Use distance to make the object appear bigger or smaller. Can you make it seem like one of your friends is driving a toy car?

Step 5

Take the photo and check the end result. Can you think up any other trick photos?


What did you discover

Images like this create an illusion. This is why they are called optical illusions – they are not what they seem to be. They always include a combination of different objects or different people, and a difference in distance is almost always involved. You only notice the difference if you look very closely indeed.