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Thursday, October 9, 2014

The "Optical Illusion" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Checking my emails and found one from Reader's Digest trying to get me to buy a subscription to the magazine.  They did include a few articles that I suppose were published in one of their issues.  When I opened one of the articles I realized I had been at the spot shown in the photo.  Guessed right away what the photo was about.  Thought you might like a story of all photos for once, so I posted the Reader's Digest photo story today.  The first photo will show you a neat photo that you may believe to be an optical illusion, but after looking at the second photo you will realize what the first photo really is. Try not to look at the second photo of each group until you have guessed what the top photo might really be.  I have given credit to all the photographers where I was able to do so.  The final two photos are the one that I recognized right away.  See how well you do.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

hungry baby birds!  Mike Powles/Corbis  and Animal Press
These newborn skylarks and their mama were snapped in Norfolk, England. The eye-catching pattern of the babies' throats is a key stimulus for the parent to feed the chicks. 

...goats.  Adriano Migliorati/Caters
Gravity is no match for these alpine ibex goats. They typically live in very steep, rocky terrain, so this 160-foot-high, near-vertical dam in Northern Italy doesn’t faze them as they roam, licking the stones for salt.

.. pencil shavings.Levi Brown for Reader's Digest Stock
Some people chew on pencils; others turn them into art. “I saw that I could make long, undulating shavings with a sharpener, and I started gluing them to a surface,” says photographer Levi Brown. “Initially, I was going to make a pattern with them, but they started to take on a life of their own and formed a topography.” Attention, students: Don’t try this at school.

.. crayons.
Inspired by a sale at an office-supply store (five cents a box!), photographer Levi Brown assembled 5,000 crayons, playing with color, depth, and pattern to make a mysterious image: a reminder that beauty and possibility can be found in the simplest objects.

.. a man, hiding in plain sight.
Hint: The shoes are the giveaway. Chinese artist Liu Bolin camouflaged himself for a series of photos called Hiding in the City. They're metaphors for government suppression of art, he says. Other scenes he's painted himself into include the rubble of earthquakes in the countryside and a wall with text from The Communist Manifesto scrawled on it.

... fish traps in water.
From high above, the fish traps in Kosi Bay, South Africa, form a mysteriously lovely pattern on water rich with algae. Generations of fishermen have worked in the bay—really a series of four interlinking lakes surrounded by a nature preserve. The area is known for biodiversity: In addition to abundant spotted grunter, rock salmon, and bream, it's home to 250 species of birds, plus crocodiles and hippos. Happily, trap fishing is both successful and sustainable.

.. a llama's eye.
If you ever happen to look a llama straight in the eye, you'll see an unusual pupil: a horizontal oval that might be sky blue. The squiggly frills surrounding it are called iridic granules, and they're believed to provide shade in bright sunlight. The close-up on the previous slide was photographed by Suren Manvelyan, who has shot the peepers of creatures from pythons to people.

Add caption.. icy cold soda. Barry Makariou
Photographer Barry Makariou mixed different flavors of the fizzy stuff and froze the concoction for a color explosion. The image is delicious, especially when it's 99 degrees in the shade.

.. millions of monarch butterflies.Frans Lanting/National Geographic Stock and Joel Sartore/National Geographic Stock
Every fall, millions of monarch butterflies head south from Canada and the United States to their winter digs in Michoacán, Mexico; here they make strange shapes on the trees in the region's Sierra Chincua preserve. Scientists didn't discover the monarchs' wintering grounds until 1975—and they still don't understand how the winged things know where to go. Sadly, they're in decline, occupying a record low 2.9 acres, down from some 22 acres a decade ago.

..sushi. Bobby Yip/Reuters
Got soy sauce? On January 9, a Hong Kong restaurant chain created the world's largest sushi mosaic, breaking the Guinness world record. The edible artwork, built on top of ice, measured about 404 square feet. It included 20,647 tasty pieces, which were quickly packed up that day and distributed free to spectators and the homeless.

...a rice paddy field. Zubin Li/Getty Images,
The land looks flat from above, but these Chinese rice paddies are terraced for a better yield. Farmers have created these "steps" in China and the Philippines for as long as two millennia; they're considered a marvel of ancient engineering. Zubin Li/Getty Images

...a field of tulips. Getty Images 
Spring has clearly sprung in Zuid-Holland, as these vast tulip beds attest. Although the flowers originated in Central Asia, they’re big business—and a major tourist draw—in the Netherlands from April until early May. Some three billion bulbs (red, white, yellow, green, purple, and more­) pop up there each year. But a tulip, like spring, is fleeting; it blooms for only a few weeks.

..a thrilling close encounter.  Kent Miller  and Fyodor Borisov
Most people go to the beach to chill, but tourists who flock to Maho Beach on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten go for thrills. Low-flying planes heading for the adjacent airport can actually blow sunbathers into the water (at least that’s what local government signs warn).

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