Macro Monday: Pareidolia

Monday, May 29th, 2017

This week’s theme for the Flickr Macro Monday group is “Pareidolia.” From this week’s instructions:

Pareidolia is a theme we had about 2 years ago and it is time to do it again simply because it is a great way to learn to actually SEE common things differently. The concept of Pareidolia has always fascinated me. I’ve been finding unexpected faces in objects for years.

Perhaps I should offer a definition of Pareidolia for those of you not familiar with the term. Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon that makes a simple sound or image into something far more noteworthy. The human brain is masterful in organizing visual data into meaningful and significant shapes. It is a way to make sense of random or ambiguous patterns where none really exists. Some common examples are seeing animals in clouds, monsters in cracks on the wall, or gnarly faces on tree trunks.

For this theme, you are to look for and photograph faces in everyday objects or in your surroundings. I don’t want you to “create” faces by drawing on your fingers or cutting eyes into a piece of fruit, or arranging tiny candies into a smiley face, etc. You are to find the faces as they appear in the world around you. In addition, I ask that you do not Photoshop or manipulate your images in any way to make faces appear. There are plenty of faces hiding in plain sight. They are just waiting to be found in tools, stones, flowers, leaves, outlets and plugs, wood, fabrics, etc.

I’ve put together a gallery of Pareidolia images for inspiration and to help you understand what this theme is about. Hopefully, these fun images will get you started on the task of looking at the world with fresh eyes. And I can guarantee you that once you start hunting for faces, you will be surprised at how many you find—and wonder why you didn’t see them before.

Pareidolia Prickly Pear

This theme has been by far the hardest so far. I’ve been looking for tiny faces everywhere and not finding any at all! I photographed a dying flower a few years ago that reminded me of this theme but I had a heck of a time finding something new. A few hours ago, I set out on a walk with my macro lens and tripod and voila! I found a tiny face rotting in a cactus. I had to give up pretty light, bokeh, and background in order to get this shot, but I do have a hint of a golden spiral in my composition.

New Braunfels nature macro cactus photographer

Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/9 | 1/250 | ISO 800

Smily Contraption

This piece of metal totally works for the theme but is slightly larger than 3″ so it would’ve been disqualified. But it’s cute, isn’t it? Made me smile.

New Braunfels photographer

Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/7.1 | 1/320 | ISO 500

The Inside of an Orchid

I see many faces inside of flowers, especially this beautiful orchid which is blooming on my window sill. It was a gift from a neighbor when I had my thyroidectomy and hysterectomy a year and a half ago. But I like the cactus shot better for submitting to the theme.

New Braunfels nature macro flower orchid photographer

Nikon D750 | 105mm | f/11 | 1/320 | ISO 500

Thanks for looking!

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