Shadow Play: Baffling Pictures Of Shadows That Need A Double-Take - Doc Journals

Shadow Play: Baffling Pictures Of Shadows That Need A Double-Take

We all like seeing optical illusions because we like challenges, and we like guessing if our assumptions are correct or not. Being right gives us satisfaction. Optical illusions often have loud colors and crazy patterns that scream, “Look at me” and are often designed to deceive people. However, we enjoy subtle things. Shadows can be just as interesting as optical illusions. As children, we often thought that our shadows had minds and wills of their own, but as adults, we know better. Or do we? What causes shadows? Why do they sometimes result in optical illusions? Why do they depend on the position of the sun? So many questions. But we’d rather not dwell on the exact science; we just want to admire them. Here are photos of baffling pictures of shadows that will make you pause and think.

Assembly not yet complete

This is one fantastic picture because the guy looks like his assembly is not yet complete. Look at that; he is missing a piece on his chest. We wonder where it went, and we wonder if he can function well without it.

Image courtesy of ComradeReindeer/Reddit

He seems to be missing his heart. Did somebody run away with it? Did somebody break his heart? We can only speculate as of now. We do hope he finds his missing piece so that he can function fully again.

This looks like a 3D printing

When there is heavy snow at night, you can expect most of the objects left outside to be covered with magical white dust. When the sun starts shining, you can bet the snow will melt. That’s precisely what happened here.

Image courtesy of yonkerrs/Reddit

However, for some reason, the snow where the bike’s shadows are were not melted. It made the picture look surreal, as if it’s a 3D painting. Isn’t it just delightful? We love how this turned out, and it made us look twice.

Now we know who the Dark Knight is

It has always been a riddle to the people of Gotham who the man behind the mask is. Who is Batman, and why does he do the things he does? Is he one of the good guys, or is he a villain?

Image courtesy of IchiNiisan/Imgur

Well, it seems that we have the answer to those old questions and more. If it’s not apparent yet, we’ll clue you in. It’s no one else but this lovely little doggo. But we have second thoughts though; is he the Batman, or is he secretly a cat?

The smiling cat

Creativity is something that should be encouraged in children because it will take them places, and not only far away in the future. This photo is proof that you just need imagination and creativity, your best friends, and the sun a fun angle.

Image courtesy of cactuscrash/Reddit

Look at the little ones enjoying their time while creating a huge cat face with their shadows. It looks nice, and we love it. Shadow play is a fun outdoor activity that children and even adults can do and have fun with it.

Where does the arrow lead to?

The shadow of these two mailboxes lined up to form an arrow. Is the arrow telling us to proceed? Where does it lead? It looks like one of the things you see in games that shows you where you should point and click.

Image courtesy of merax_cc/Reddit

Is there a hidden treasure there or a clue? We imagine this is to be the start of a fabulous treasure hunt. It is pretty fascinating to see the shadow of ordinary objects forming curious shapes and figures at times.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Ever thought that some people have two personas, a benevolent and sinister one? Sort of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? That’s what we feel when we look at this photo, a good side and a bad side that is often concealed.

Image courtesy of aelment/Reddit

Looking at the Dr. Einstein poster on the window, it seems like an uncle-type character who’s ready to mentor everyone interested in science. But when you look at the shadow it casts in the interiors; you see that it turns into a monster.

Don’t let this prevent you from taking a dip

This might scare people with arachnophobia and turn them off from taking a dip in the pool altogether. The spider’s reflection on the pool is really cute, though. It makes it look like an unidentified flying object or a cartoon bug.

Image courtesy of lnk7332/Reddit

If you looked at the shadow and guessed what it was, the last thing on your mind would be a spider. After all, the shadow looks adorable. You wouldn’t think it’s a hairy creature with too many eyes weaving webs.

What a lovely tree

“I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree.” Did anyone else think of this poem when seeing this photo, or just us? The beautiful shadow looks like it was perfectly painted on the ground.

Image courtesy of DanRG02/Reddit

While some may have pointed out that this looks like male pattern baldness, we don’t think so. It seems like a lovely stained glass that you mostly see on windows of churches and other old buildings. Nature is indeed marvelous.

Is it closed or open?

A chemical called auxin causes flowers to expand and grow. It’s also the same thing that causes flowers to open. The flower in the photo can’t seem to make up its mind. The flower is still closed, but its shadow is already open.

Image courtesy of huskydaisy/Reddit

How did it do that? It must have been the way the flower is positioned that the shadow looked like that. At first glance, it seems like the shadow doesn’t quite belong to the flower, and we even thought there was a mistake.

The mighty Mount Everest

First off, we’d like to say just how much we admire this person for climbing Mt. Everest. Such a feat is on the bucket list of many people, but only a few get to accomplish it. It’s something that’s not easy or cheap to do.

Image courtesy of bug_eyed_earl/Reddit

On the way down from the summit from his third successful attempt, he caught the shadow of the mighty mountain and thought of taking a photo, and we must say it’s epic! Look at that perfect triangle! The view is just awesome.

The shadow with the identity crisis

If you’d like to see cat food that suffers from an existential identity crisis, we’d recommend purchasing cat food in plastic packaging and not cat food in boxes. We know that the packing is not usually interesting, but this one makes for an exciting story.

Image courtesy of MarkSputnik/Reddit

This cat food wants to be a cat if you look at its shadow. However, it wasn’t lucky enough to be given that privilege. It has to satisfy itself with being nutrition for cats. Perhaps in your next life, cat food.

Children having fun in the playground

Looking at objects from different points of view makes them more fascinating because you see things you might have otherwise missed. Looking at things from the ground is very different from looking at things from up the sky, even though it’s the same geographical location.

Image courtesy of Katrin Korfmann/KopeikinGallery

This photo is a case in point; if you were standing on the ground with the kids, you’d see children having fun, laughing, and playing. However, when you look at them from an elevated point, they look like a painting of a village.

The merging of man and dog

Have you ever wondered how shadows are formed? The scientific explanation is that light travels in straight lines, and when something is placed in the path of light, and that something is solid, shadows are formed. Not that mysterious when it’s explained that way, right?

Image courtesy of burritopalace/Reddit

But enough of science, let’s just marvel at how this man and his loyal companion’s shadow merged and became a centaur. Their shadow looks like they are one creature taking a stroll and having a good time on the beach.

This is appropriate for the Fourth of July

Oh, say, can you see what we see? This shadow looks as if it would be appropriate to display during July 4th because it screams everything American! After all, it is the American flag (backwards). No, this isn’t the shadow of a flag.

image courtesy of thatonefunnyguy/Reddit

The shadow wasn’t made to deliberately made to look like that. We call this serendipity. These are the shadows of someone’s blinds and outdoor table coming together to form a charming American flag. This doesn’t happen very often, certainly not every day?

Did Batman propose to this lady?

This ring looks like it’s something Batman would give to his girlfriend if he proposed to her. This would always remind her who she is engaged to. We don’t know if that is good or bad, but the ring gets the job done.

Image courtesy of sushi17/Reddit

Look at the shadow it casts on her ring finger as if it’s saying, “I am the Batman, and you belong to no one else but me. I always have my eyes on you.” Seriously though, we like the size of that rock, and many women would love to have that ring.

So, that guy wasn’t photoshopped?

This photo looks more like an optical illusion to us. We couldn’t help but think that this was a poorly done Photoshop job. We felt that the guy in the back couldn’t join the fishing trip with his friends, so he asked them just to put him in the photo.

Image courtesy of frameRAID/Reddit

We hate to be wrong, but boy, were we wrong on this one. The guy at the back was present during the fishing trip, but the shadow on his friend’s shirt made him look like he’s been edited and added in the photo.

Instant car decal

Some people who find their car’s exterior finish too dull opt to put decals to make their vehicle stand out. Car decals come in various patterns, styles, and sizes. They can be outrageous, and they can be subtle or delicate.

Image courtesy of NoahM107/Reddit

Car decals are an excellent way of livening up your car without spending much money. This guy hit the jackpot because he doesn’t have to pay a cent. The way the plant’s shadow looks against his vehicle makes it seem like it’s a car decal.

A miniature park in the kitchen

How would you like to have a miniature park in the kitchen complete with rides, parkgoers, carousels, and the whole shebang? It will make the kitchen a livelier place to be, and all you’re missing is the live band and laughter.

Image courtesy of felixtre/Reddit

How do you do that? Just get some fruits such as bananas, avocados, pineapples, and tomatoes and arrange them as in the photo above. This effect necessitated the perfect angles and lighting. We love how this happy accident turned out.

Well, hello there!

Early morning commutes can be a bummer. No one wants to get out of bed too early in the morning, but things have to be done. Sometimes, life can get so hectic that we don’t pay attention to little things.

Image courtesy of Hadouken617/Reddit

Instead, we grumble and complain. This shadow of a truck saying hi to commuters is something nice to see in the morning. It instantly makes you feel better and puts a smile on your face. Have a nice road ahead, truck!

Who would have thought?

Dracula casts no reflection in the mirror, and flames cast no shadow. If you need proof of that, look at the photo below, and you’ll see what we mean. Is there any relation between Dracula and flames? We’re not sure, but it looks like it, though.

Image courtesy of empw/Reddit

This piqued our interest, and we experimented to find out if it was true. Well, surprise, surprise, there was no shadow, so this photo is not an optical illusion, and it wasn’t edited. We would never have thought that flames didn’t have shadows if we hadn’t seen this.

Such a sweet proposal

Proposals are some of the sweetest moments in life. It takes courage and conviction for a person to decide once and for all that they only want to be with this one other person for the rest of their lives.

Image courtesy of Orion_91/Reddit

Proposals have come a long way. They are no longer the simple events that people decades ago were used to. Nowadays, proposals are extravagant, all-out events. The bigger and louder it is, the better it seems. We’re sure of one thing about this proposal though, the heart on their shadows is a very good sign.

Ready to take the plunge

Who would have thought that a nondescript spray bottle can cast a shadow that looks like a man ready to take a plunge and wow you with his diving skills? This proves interesting things happen in the most mundane places.

Image courtesy of mocroflavour/Reddit

Look at his form! Look at his physique! He looks like he’s ready to win that Olympic gold medal in diving. What do you think? Will he wow audiences? We all think he would be the next champion, if he was, ya know, real.

Are those bubbles on the wall?

When looking at this photo, we immediately saw bubbles. Do you agree with us? Or do you see something else? Well, these aren’t bubbles; they are not even close to bubbles at all. These cool shadows were cast from a typical tree in the yard.

Image courtesy of xXISCOPEIXx/Reddit

So, what gave the side of the house that unusual look? It happened during a solar eclipse and created this spectacular effect. An eclipse is just one of nature’s wonders. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, nature pleasantly surprises you.

Colorful shadow

If you think shadows only come in black, you’re badly mistaken. Shadows also come in different colors; look at this glass bowl! The shadow is just as colorful as the real thing. It’s stunning and unusual, and we would love to paint our table this way!

Image courtesy of Coltons13/Reddit

We like the bowl and all, but what bothers us the most about it is the price. $365 for a bowl? Even if the shadow looked as lovely as that, we wouldn’t shell out that much. Call us cheap, but that’s just extravagant.

This guy won’t be forgetting his number

Bar codes and serial numbers, what do these things have in common? Some people believe that they are the mark of the beast. Is there any truth to that? We’ll never know, because we aren’t super interested, but there are plenty of speculations.

Image courtesy of xUnCloakedx/Reddit

We guess that this guy doesn’t have to worry about that because even if he has the number 55 on his forehead, it’s just the shadow of his hair. Nothing menacing or evil about that, right? He can sleep well tonight.

This one’s amazing

This has got to be one of our favorite pictures of unusual shadows on this list. We know that the plane is big, but its shadow makes it look even bigger, and the way it looks in the clouds is otherworldly.

Image courtesy of Ghost_Animator/Reddit

Does it look ominous to you? As if something terrible is about to happen? It seems that way to us. We are expecting the heaves to open up anytime and swallow the plane. This photo should come with a warning.

The imposing Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier is the highest volcanic peak in the United States, and it also happens to have the most extensive alpine glacial system outside of Alaska. Many people go to visit Mt. Rainier National Park to see the imposing mountain with their own eyes.

Image courtesy of Reddit

Also known as Tacoma or Tahoma, it is located a few miles from Seattle. If you haven’t been there, you should visit. Just to give you an idea of just how big the mountain is, look at this photo. This was taken from someone’s backyard, and we have to say we love their backyard.

Kiss from a rose

Roses symbolize love; it is a beautiful and classic flower that has captivated people for many centuries. The rose has been an inspiration for writers, poets, composers, and artists from all over the world. Each color of rose has a different meaning, but all relate to love.

Image courtesy of SMatyac/Reddit

The shadow of this juice glass has got to be one of the loveliest and prettiest roses we have ever seen. It’s not a natural flower per see, but it can give a real fragrant rose a run for its money. If only we could frame a shadow.

Is it too early for Halloween?

We know it’s still too early for Halloween, but it’s already September, so we think that this witch is quite excited for the big night. Look at her flying on her broom and ready to spread fear among little children.

Image courtesy of shadow-boxer/Reddit

She is starting her journey in someone’s room, just beside the clothes steamer. Aside from a witch, the shadow also looks like it could pass as a garden gnome standing on stilts. They have never been known to do such a thing, but maybe sometimes they walk on stilts, so they seem taller.

We like how the shadows of the tables and chairs turned out

Sometimes, the most beautiful patterns come out of the most unexpected places, like this. We bet you’re curious to know where this photo was taken. You’re in luck because we happen to know. This is the outdoor seating area of the J.P. Getty Museum.

Image courtesy of babbettebaboon/Reddit

They have beautiful views, and the ambiance is nice. Anyway, this pattern is something that we would like to have printed on a shirt or a cloth. We’d be proud to showcase it because it would definitely get people talking.

Who lies here?

Cemeteries are known as fascinating places. More people think they’re scary; just think of all the dead bodies lying there, especially at night time when it’s dark and quiet. What if the dead start coming back to life at night?

Image courtesy of abyigit/Reddit

Let’s just put that thought aside first and observe how this tombstone is designed. It’s a masterful work of art. We wonder if this was a coincidence or intended to make a man’s shadow appear. Who lies there? We’re curious to know.

Who is he?

We bet the woman in the photo did not know her shadow has a life and face of its own! We have all seen rocks and other things in nature that make human-like faces, but this is a beautiful coincidence.

Image courtesy of jubogabo/Instagram

The shadow very clearly looks like the profile of a man, although her legs make it look like a man with a giant head and tiny legs! We hope she had this photo printed and framed because it will be a great conversation piece.

This would make an excellent anti-racism campaign poster

We seldom want to be political, but we think that this shadow photo would make an excellent poster for an anti-racism campaign. What do you see? We see two cows, one back and another white, standing by the water, casting shadows.

Image courtesy of spicedpumpkins/Reddit

The shadows show that no matter what color the cows are, their shadows are the same color and even look almost identical. It’s a great reminder for all people that no matter what color we are, we are all human.

Shadow play during an eclipse

This is another example of insane-looking shadows produced during an eclipse. So why do eclipses have some of the most incredible shadows? In the event of an eclipse, the moon casts two shadows towards the Earth. One of the shadows is called the umbra.

Image courtesy of MuffburgerSandwich/Reddit

Umbra is the dark center of the moon’s shadow, and it becomes smaller as it reaches the Earth. The second of the two shadows are called the penumbra, and it becomes larger as it reaches the Earth. You learn something new every day.

How come the shadow is different from the real thing?

Ask anyone, and they will tell you just how frustrating it can be to untangle wires, especially electric wires. If you forget to unplug them first or turn off the switch, there is the risk of bolts of electricity running through you.

Image courtesy of icanbenormaltoo/Reddit

But how do you untangle a wire’s shadow, such as this one? How come the shadow is different from the real thing? Is it the position of the wire that caused it? We know the answer is yes but we still enjoy looking at it and pretending we don’t.

He didn’t know he kept Yoda as a pet

How surprised would you be if you found out that your dog’s real identity was Yoda? What if it started speaking in riddles and talking in sentences that have the object-subject-verb pattern? Or, if it began to be pensive and start talking about Jedis?

Image courtesy of im-so-g***amn-tired/Reddit

Fortunately for this person, the revelation wasn’t so complicated. His dog revealed its real identity to him through his shadow. Look closely, and you will see Yoda. The dog sure knows how to break the secret to him gently.

This is how a Halloween mask is supposed to be

Forget all those expensive Halloween masks sold at specialty stores because they won’t give you bang for your buck. If you’re looking for a mask that will scare people without even trying, you should get this unassuming, typical plastic one.

Image courtesy of iBoba/Reddit

The best thing about it is that it only costs a single dollar, and we all want to get our money’s worth these days. Look at the mask casting a menacing and evil shadow! It’s genuinely creepy, and it deserves to be called the best Halloween mask.

Everything is not what it seems

On this list, we have seen a lot of pretenders. We have seen Batman pretending to be a dog and Yoga pretending to be yet another dog. Now you will see a rat pretending to be a cat. The psychologist B.F. Skinner was one of the biggest fans of rats.

Image courtesy of Ri-RiY/Reddit

He said that rats taught him more than he taught them. We don’t want to argue with that, but no one can deny that rats are clever. Perhaps that’s the reason why it pretended to be a cat because it’s much safer being a cat than a rat.

This is truly glorious

Shadows are fascinating, especially for science buffs. It’s delightful to find out how and when they are formed, but we’re not big science nerds, so we won’t bore you with perplexing explanations because we might end up obfuscating you rather than enlightening you.

Image courtesy of emcdeezy22/Reddit

The photo above is an excellent example of how mysterious shadows can sometimes be. The plane’s shadow formed a rainbow around it, referred to as “glory.” It’s an optical illusion that is defined as “resembling a saint’s halo around the shadow of the observer’s head.”


This image scares us not because there’s anything sinister about it, but we don’t like the idea of going around in circles and going nowhere. That’s so much energy and effort wasted! We’d hate going around and around with no results.

Image courtesy of hey_baberuba/Reddit

But we have to admit that the shadow of the infinite staircase is impressive. Just imagine seeing this while any kind of intoxicated. Would you just stare and stare, or would you wind up on the stairs? Also, where do they lead?

How do you know you’re in Scotland?

Scotland is famous for its bagpipes, haggis, the Loch Ness monster, Scottish wool, kilts, whisky, and plaid. The Scots love their plaid, or to be more correct, tartans. The traditional highland cloak has been worn there for centuries and is a distinctive feature of the culture.

Image courtesy of BookerDeWittsCarbine/Reddit

If you want to know when you’re in Scotland, just look around for some plaid. This guy is so deep in Scottish country that even the shadow of his surroundings is in plaid! Who would have thought? Well plaid, Scotland, well plaid.

Is that a ghost dog?

Should we be scared when looking at the photo below, or should we think it’s adorable? Perhaps it’s right to say we are in the middle ground because dogs are certainly lovable creatures. After all, they are man’s best friends.

Image courtesy of mike_pants/Reddit

However, we don’t like ghost dogs or shadows of ghost dogs. Anything that has ghosts in it is scary. This one isn’t even afraid to show itself during the daytime. It’s just chilling there and taking all the sun in.

Did the man just become a horse?

Horses were man’s reliable “vehicle” before motors, and became a big thing. Initially working animals, athletes, and companions, horses can sleep standing up although they can’t breathe through their mouths. They are brilliant animals, and they have lightning-fast reflexes.

Image courtesy of Figment_HF/Reddit

There are various horses or horse-like creatures in mythology, and one of the most feared and famous is the centaur. It has the torso, arms, and head of a man but the legs and body. We reckon it looks something like this man’s shadow on the horse.

Shoe climbing or mountain climbing

Mountain climbing is a recreational pursuit that a lot of people are interested in. It brings them closer to nature and takes them away from the daily stress and demands of modern life, such as bills, work, and the people at work.

Image courtesy of htownaliens/Reddit

This man must like mountain climbing very much, but he hasn’t had the time lately. You can see his desire reflected on his shoelaces. Because he couldn’t go anywhere, his shoelaces were doing the job for him. Way to go!