Optical illusions have been a fascinating subject for photographers for a long time. And one photographer who has taken this concept to the next level is Nina Wolfe. Nina has created a series of photographs using optical illusions to make the moon appear larger than it actually is. Her work is an example of how creativity and imagination can bring a unique perspective to the art of photography.
Nina Wolfe is an American photographer who grew up in New Jersey. Her father is the one who inspired her to become a photographer. She started her journey with her father’s Leica ﬂex film camera, which she still owns. At first, she started recreating the frames from postcards from gift shops, and eventually, she became fond of landscapes, cityscapes, and especially moon photography.
Nina’s technique of using optical illusions to create larger-than-life images of the moon is both clever and wonderful. By placing a small object (relative to the moon), such as a building or some structure, in the foreground and positioning the moon in the background, she creates the illusion of the moon looming over the object. This creates a striking and surreal image that captures the viewer’s imagination.
The technique used by Nina Wolfe to create larger-than-life images of the moon is known as ‘lens compression.’ This visual effect is associated with telephoto lenses and makes objects in the foreground and background appear closer to each other than they actually are. It results in the moon appearing much larger compared to the objects in the foreground. The magnitude of the effect depends on two factors: the focal length of the lens and the distance between the photographer and the object in the foreground. The higher the focal length and distance, the higher the magnitude of the lens compression effect.
To achieve this effect in her moon photography, Nina uses a Sigma 150-600mm lens and positions herself 15-20 miles away from her intended foreground object, often climbing to a higher place to wait for the moon to rise. The moon is always captured close to the horizon to utilize the lens compression effect so it creates the illusion of the moon looming over the small objects in the foreground. This positioning also benefits from another optical illusion: the moon appears larger when it is closer to the horizon.
Capturing the moon in the perfect spot is crucial for creating an intriguing shot. Nina uses the Plainit app to track the moon’s path and position herself accordingly. All of these efforts are well worth the amazing and surreal end result of her moon photography.
Nina Wolfe’s creative use of optical illusions in her photography is a testament to the fact that with creativity and imagination, there are no limits to what can be achieved in photography. Visit her website to see her photographs of other genres also. And don’t forget to share your thoughts on these amazingly surreal photographs.