This Water Glass Optical Illusion Is Simple But Effective

Conceptual photographer Alexandre Watanabe uses the science of refraction in his colourful water refraction series to portray the bending of light through a wine glass.

While images seen through water droplets create upside down refractions, a wine glass filled with water will horizontally flip whatever is in the background as light rays bend their way through the shape glass.

Watanabe tells DIY Photography that he wanted to set up a basic composition that would convey symmetry. The Complementary Refraction series achieves this by posing a wine glass, filled to the rim with water, in front of a solid background featuring two primary colours.

The wine glass inverts the colours in the background and creates a complimentary illusion that is not only soothing to the eye, but also highlights how light can be distorted through optics. This extends to the optics found within a camera and shows why a pentaprism is needed to correct DSLR images in a roundabout way.

Watanabe took the images using a Nikon D5100 with a 50mm f1.8 lens and a Nikon SB-800. The compact speedlight allowed for a smaller bright spot which created a natural vignette when taking the photos. He also zoomed the speedlight head all way to 105mm to generate more light over a single point. That’s basically it.

With the exception of photo cropping and some dust removal, the images are all taken straight out of the camera. To see more of Watanabe’s work be sure to visit his FacebookInstagram, or 500px page.

Images used with permission