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Can You "Spot" The Hidden Dots? by David McMahon

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Can You "Spot" The Hidden Dots? by 

If you look at this image for a few seconds, you can actually see white dots appearing at the intersection of each square.

I’m accustomed to the usual 3D images and the genre of optical illusions, but I don’t think I’ve ever really seen a photograph function as a visual illusion. At the point where your focus is strongest, the dots actually appear to flash – singly or as a group.

We’re in the middle of a heatwave here (with a Code Red bushfire warning today) and I shot this yesterday afternoon (January 10, 2010) when we had lunch at Cafe Medici, a waterfront restaurant in the Docklands area.

We chose to dine outdoors (under cover, I hasten to add) and as we walked to out table, I noticed the square shadows cast on this outdoor plate-stacking galley.

I do not crop, enhance or post-edit my images in any way. Shot with a Pentax K100D, using a Sigma 18-125mm lens. F8, 1/500, ISO 200, focal length 125mm.

Featured in LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE LENS, January 2010.

Featured in CEE’S FUN ARTSY FRIENDS, January 2010.

Top 10 in PLATES/ CROCKERY Challenge, August 2011.

Featured in PHOTOGRAPHY CHALLENGE, August 2011.


Walkley Award-nominated journalist, novelist and wedding photographer at

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  • Linda Bianic
    Linda Bianicalmost 5 years ago

    Ohhh yeah,,,,, this is great David,,,,,, fantastic optical illusion,, how was lunch??
    Ilvoe that area,,,,,

  • Lunch was brilliant, Linda – great service and wonderful food. And the view was amazing!

    – David McMahon

  • Woodie
    Woodiealmost 5 years ago


  • So strange, Neil – I’ve never been fortunate enough to see anything like it.

    – David McMahon

  • Scott  d'Almeida
    Scott d'Almeidaalmost 5 years ago


  • Thanks Scott – says a lot about the way in which the human eye functions!

    – David McMahon

  • Ranald
    Ranaldalmost 5 years ago

    Well we’ve started to thaw (got water back in the kitchen after 4 days without it) so maybe you will begin to cool down too.

    This is an unusual image created by the everyday and, as normal, well spotted by you.

  • Been monitoring the weather there very carefully – was hoping you were OK. Hope your thaw continues. Today (Monday) we have a Code Red warning – which is ``catastrophic fire danger’’ with evacuation options in the Wimmera region. Glad you liked this image!

    – David McMahon

  • Linda Bianic
    Linda Bianicalmost 5 years ago

    so.. anyshots of the amazing view????

  • Plenty – watch this space for the next coupla days!

    – David McMahon

  • Karen E Camilleri
    Karen E Camillerialmost 5 years ago

    What a great eye you have, love the flashing dots, fantastic work David! todays a good for hibernation, keep cool! cheers Karen

  • Thanks very much, Kay. Delighted that you liked this shot. Definitely a day for hibernation!

    – David McMahon

  • Linda Bianic
    Linda Bianicalmost 5 years ago

    Like a bee on honey, huney!!

  • Thanks very much, Linda!

    – David McMahon

  • Eric G Brown
    Eric G Brownalmost 5 years ago

    Love the light and all the patterns!

  • Thanks very much, Eric. It’s a good thing I had my camera bag slung over my shoulder. Would have been kicking myself if I missed this.

    – David McMahon

  • AliceDoodles
    AliceDoodlesalmost 5 years ago

    Your cohosts Cee and Chris

  • Thanks very much, Chris and Cee.

    – David McMahon

  • Shulie1
    Shulie1almost 5 years ago

    I looked and looked, but couldn’t see them

  • Like me, when I try and do those 3D “magic eye” puzzles – I can NEVER seen ’em either!

    – David McMahon

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