Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Illusions

with 42 comments

Two days ago, a post at Pairodox included a photograph in which part of a rock appears to be the head of a bear. Today being April 1, a day on which people celebrate illusions, it seems appropriate—and not at all paradoxical—to follow up with a picture from Great Hills Park on July 17th of last year. I won’t influence you by telling you what animal I saw here; you’re free to use your own imagination.

Rock Looking Like Animal's Head 1968A

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 1, 2016 at 5:06 AM

42 Responses

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  1. Thick lipped turtle.

    Sherry Lynn Felix

    April 1, 2016 at 5:31 AM

  2. Hi Steve. Usually a living creature springs to my mind quite easily, but for some reason the rock reminded me immediately of the character, “Jar Jar Binks” from one of the Star Wars movies (I’m not even a huge fan of the movies.) Perhaps it is the lips? Thinking more about it now, a certain dog breed springs to mind, or maybe a sheep or a hedgehog. After a while it’s possible to see so many types of creatures! An interesting pic for the imagination. 🙂

    Jane

    April 1, 2016 at 5:47 AM

    • I hadn’t heard of that Star Wars character so I looked online and found pictures. It’s clear why you were reminded of that character.

      The picture certainly lent itself to your imagination, Jane. Who’d have expected four for the price of one?

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 1, 2016 at 8:10 AM

      • Yes, you know how to please your readers, Steve. 🙂

        Jane

        April 1, 2016 at 8:36 AM

        • But the four are coming from you rather than me.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 1, 2016 at 8:38 AM

          • But you stimulated my imagination. Without the picture the thoughts wouldn’t have occurred. 😉

            Jane

            April 2, 2016 at 1:32 AM

            • Okay, we two will split the credit for the four. After all, 2 plus 2 = 4 and 2 times 2 = 4. There’s double the fun with two 2s making 4.

              Steve Schwartzman

              April 2, 2016 at 7:19 AM

  3. Hello Steve
    It’s seems or look a bear
    ps : sory for my english I hope your’ understand

  4. Perhaps my recent exposure to Rocky Bear predisposed me to see a bear, but that’s what I see. On the other hand, what I love best about the photo is the expression of wide-eyed surprise. See his little round eye? Doesn’t it look as though he sees something in the water, and is astonished, or curious, or both?

    shoreacres

    April 1, 2016 at 8:10 AM

    • The one who was astonished was me, because although I’d walked along that part of the creek many times I hadn’t noticed a figure in the rocks till then. Could I really have missed that? Might it be that a portion of the formation had broken off since my previous visit to create a new profile? Maybe I really was that unobservant.

      You’re the third to see a bear here. You might have been predisposed by Rocky Bear, and all three of you might have been predisposed by the mention of the bear from the Pairodox post.

      One question about the “little round eye.” I see that hollow in the rock as a big eye.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 1, 2016 at 8:37 AM

      • This is funny. I saw that hollow in the rock as an ear. The “little round eye” is just in front of it.

        shoreacres

        April 1, 2016 at 8:51 AM

        • Obviously you can tell little from big, so I knew from your “little” that you must have seen that small formation as the eye. We’re in the realm of the imagination, where one person’s “eye” is another’s “ear”. Now I wonder how many people saw it your way and how many mine, or even in some other way.

          Steve Schwartzman

          April 1, 2016 at 9:03 AM

  5. I see some sort of snub-nosed lizard … is there such a thing? Thanks for the mention. Our thermometer reads 71F at the moment and the ice is finally off the pond. We’re expecting snow early in the week so I suppose that winter is not quite done with us yet. But, there is hope! D

    Pairodox Farm

    April 1, 2016 at 8:12 AM

  6. Looks like the Geico gecko to me.

    David Moll

    April 1, 2016 at 11:13 AM

  7. After reading shoreacres’ comments, I can only see the larger structure as an ear, with the smaller eye anterior to it. What it most reminds me of is one of the Elders in the wonderful animated film The Dark Crystal.

    krikitarts

    April 1, 2016 at 11:29 PM

    • It’s just like life: people can look at the same thing in different ways. In this case you were amenable to persuasion. I can understand the little eye but I still keep seeing the posterior hollow as the eye.

      I’m afraid I wasn’t familiar with The Dark Crystal, but I looked up pictures of the Elders so I could see why this formation reminded you of them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 2, 2016 at 7:27 AM

  8. Hmm..
    Looks a bit like Bob Hope to me.

    Bill

    April 2, 2016 at 4:48 AM

  9. Pareidolia (/pærᵻˈdoʊliə/ parr-i-DOH-lee-ə) is a psychological phenomenon involving a stimulus (an image or a sound) wherein the mind perceives a familiar pattern of something where none actually exists.

    Common examples are perceived images of animals, faces, or objects in cloud formations, the “man in the moon”, the “moon rabbit”, and hidden messages within recorded music played in reverse or at higher- or lower-than-normal speeds.

    Sheila T Illustrated

    April 2, 2016 at 12:01 PM

    • Thanks for that great word. In it I recognized the Greek root eid-, which is cognate to Latin video. If I’d known the word I’d probably have used it as the title of this post.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 2, 2016 at 3:26 PM

  10. Kind of reminds me of the whitefish my father used to sell at his deli back in the day.

    Steve Gingold

    April 2, 2016 at 6:13 PM

    • You’ve sent me back 60 years in memory to the whitefish we used to get from the deli in the town on Long Island where I grew up. I didn’t see that in the photograph but your memory triggered mine.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 2, 2016 at 10:19 PM

      • I would bus the tables so saw many a whitefish skeleton with just a head and tail remaining…so many disturbing images in my head. 🙂

        Steve Gingold

        April 3, 2016 at 2:09 AM

  11. Did anyone see a porcupine?

    Susan Scheid

    April 7, 2016 at 3:21 PM

  12. […] as I learned from a comment last month about the photograph of a rock formation that looked to me like an animal, is a phenomenon in which the mind creates an image of a certain thing from unrelated features of […]

  13. […] Hills Park’s main creek, a tributary of Bull Creek. At the far left is the rocky outcrop that you saw from the other side on April Fool’s Day in a view that lent itself to […]


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