The internet just can't figure out this latest photography optical illusion

This is a real picture taken by photographer Keinichi Ohno. It's a single photo of a bird standing at the edge of some water with a wall and its reflection creating a fascinating optical illusion. from r/interestingasfuck

A Japanese photographer has caused some confusion with his recent image that the internet can't figure out. It depicts an Egret bird wallowing in shallow water, but the incredible composition of the image has left a few photographers scratching heads. 

Kenichi Ohno submitted his amazing image of the Egret to a photographic nature competition, and aside from receiving an honorable mention, the photo accidentally went viral as an unintended optical illusion involving a color split down the middle. 

• These are the best lenses for photographing birds

As photographers, we should be pretty good at spotting obscure optical illusions and understanding how an image can be affected by factors such as light, color tones, and exposure levels. But this image from photographer Kenichi Ohno has left even photo competition judges stumped, experts who are supposedly adept at spotting image composition errors and any editing inconsistencies. 

The Nature in Japan photo contest in which Kenichi entered his image, titled Gap, saw some other amazing photos submitted by members of The All-Japan Association of Photographic Societies (AJAPS), but none as mesmerizing as the accidental optical illusion featuring Kenichi's bird in the water.

The image features a perfect split down the center, with the left side showing the natural blue shades of the marsh water, whereas the right side appears to be a totally different muddy brown color with the white Egret dead center in the frame. 

None of the best editing software was used to create this effect, so how was it done? Plenty accused Kenichi of having photoshopped the image or even using AI to create it. But what the image actually shows on the right side of the split is a wall, followed by the waterline underneath it, causing the brown reflection of this wall to appear in the water, changing the color to a muddy brown.

To shed some light on how the image was composed, and to help viewers understand what they're really looking at, the AJAPS has shared an image on its Facebook page (above) that offers some clarity in a zoomed-out perspective of the exact location whereby Kenichi's image was captured. 

It's amazing how our brains work. Do you remember that photo of a blue/gold dress that divided the internet back in 2015? Well, Kenichi's Egret image requires some real perception-altering to figure out what's going on, but once you understand the image and how it was created, the eureka moment occurs and it all makes sense. 

You might also be interested in the best free photo editing software, plus the best bird box and best bird feeder cameras to use in your garden, and not forgetting the best portable hides and camouflage gear for wildlife photography.

Take a look at these 6 ways to improve your composition, as well as how to photograph an optical illusion using a magic mirror, and understand how forced perspective can be used to create optical illusions that bring your toy photography to life

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Beth Nicholls
Staff Writer

A staff writer for Digital Camera World, Beth has an extensive background in various elements of technology with five years of experience working as a tester and sales assistant for CeX. After completing a degree in Music Journalism, followed by obtaining a Master's degree in Photography awarded by the University of Brighton, she spends her time outside of DCW as a freelance photographer specialising in live music events and band press shots under the alias 'bethshootsbands'.