Monday, August 24, 2009

Optical illusion

The back side of this leaf is extremely three-dimensional -- the veins stood up and way away from the plane of the leaf. I lighted the leaf from the side to emphasize the amount of depth the leaf had. But when I look at the photograph, I have to remind myself that the lighter-colored veins are much higher than the rest. In the photograph, they look lower than the rest.

I find that if I stare at the center vein, down toward the bottom, that eventually the leaf's depth is visible. But if I have trouble seeing this, I can just imagine the problems you have, not having seen the original leaf to begin with. (If you think of this shot as a topographical map, with the darker areas the valleys and the lighter-colored veins as ridges, that might help.)

I even burned in the shadowing on the right side of each vein and slightly dodged each vein so that the depth would stand out better, but I don't think it worked. Back to the drawing board. ©Carol Leigh


Jim said...

Owww. My brain hurts.

It's much easier for me to "see" this correctly in the thumbnail. Cleverly, you've assisted us by making the Macro class thumb a clear example. However, when I look at the image full size, I find that I really have to work to see it as you intend. Without effort on my part, I always revert to the veins being lowest.

Does the brain "assume" that it is lit from the right? You did light this from (on?) the left, correct?

Carol Leigh said...

You know what, I'm having a hard time myself seeing it the "right" way. I find that if I look at the lower right corner and then let my eyes sort of glaze over, it all pops, but it doesn't pop for long and then I have to start all over. Weird. And yes, it was lit from the left, so the shadows fall away from the "ridges" toward the right. (And the Macro Class thumbnail on the right -- totally different leaf.) Ack! Enough! The photo's not worth it! -- Carol Leigh

CJ said...

OK, this is strange. I immediately see the veins as higher than the leaf. Even though I've tried staring at it, I can't see it the way you describe seeing it. So...who has the weirdest brain???

At any rate, it's a cool shot, and I love the one you placed by the Macro Class Info. So simple, but so visually appealing.


Carol Leigh said...

Ha! Who has the weirdest brain? Um, that might be you, CJ! I swear I have a tough time seeing it "veins up." I always have to start in the lower right corner to "pick them up." Otherwise it looks like hills and canyons as seen from an airplane.

And thanks for your comments on the macro class photo, which I'll be changing out in a couple of days. Even though I've got thousands of images to choose from for the class, I'm finding I want to take just a few more, and then just a few more, and then . . . Insanity reigns. -- Carol Leigh


Okay, I am going to jump in here. I have been staring for two days and no matter where I start, the veins are still canyons... deep canyons. However, I enjoy the challenge of optical illusions. Now I have something new to obsess on everyday until I "get it".

Carol Leigh said...

Carol D., think of the photo as a picture of a very old person's hands and think of the "ridges" as the veins standing out very clearly on the "hand." I hope that helps. Remember those "Magic Eye" books/posters that were so popular in the 1990s? How did you do with those? -- Carol Leigh


OMG!! I just quickly looked at the thumbnail and the veins were higher than the leaf. Then I enlarged it and they were canyons again. Well, I got to be excited for a couple of minutes anyway. Yes, I remember the posters and I actually did well with those. It's fun.