Stereo Photography Fun in the Duke Forest

You probably remember staring hard at the ‘Magic Eye’ images as a child. If you followed the instructions and relaxed your eyes in just the right way, the complex colorful patterns printed in newspapers and kids’ magazines would reveal dazzling three dimensional shapes above or underneath the patterns. These images use a process called stereoscopy, which is defined on Wikipedia as “the production of the illusion of depth in a photograph, movie, or other two-dimensional image by the presentation of a slightly different image to each eye, which adds the first of these cues (stereopsis). The two images are then combined in the brain to give the perception of depth.”

While ‘Magic Eye’ photos are quite complex, freeviewing (i.e. without special googles) stereoscopic photographs can be relatively simple with just two slightly different side-by-side photographs. Duke Forest Volunteer Photography Corps member Jeff Soo shared these nine beautiful stereoscopic photos of different scenes from the Duke Forest that you can try to merge to see a surprising depth of field.

Instructions from Jeff: “If you’re like most people and have never tried ‘freeviewing’ a stereo pair, look at one of these on your phone (or on any device but at small size, about five inches wide at most), relax your eyes as though looking into the distance, and see if you can get the two images to ‘fuse’.”

We hope you enjoy this new way to see the Duke Forest from home. Have fun!

For more information about stereoscopy and ‘how to’ techniques for seeing 3D depth of field in stereoscopic images click here.

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