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By on September 14, 2006, with 52 Comments

Check out what comes from National Geographic! Steve Greenwood submitted this fabulous illusion via email: “If you check out the attached photo from National Geographic you will see that the black shapes are NOT the camels, the narrow stripes below the shapes are, the black shapes are the shadows of the camels, as this photo was taken from overhead. Good stuff!”. Now here’s another asignment for you: try to find one that has someone riding it. I’m not sure, but I think I even spotted two with riders on them. Another thing, is there one with two humps on it’s back? Am not sure, but let’s try t find one! Thanks Steve!

National Geographics Shadow Camels


52 Responses
  1. ricardo_africa says:

    really nice picture

  2. Chris says:

    That’s quite beautiful, National Geographic photographers are the cream of the crop, in my opinion.

  3. db says:

    Why do some of the shadows seem to have shadows?

  4. Daft SPARTAN-117 says:

    haha, thats great. I love the pictures taken by Nat. Geo. and this ppic is really cool looking

  5. joe says:

    Very cool image, though I find it strange that the shadows cast by the camels don’t go over other camels. Dosent seem right to me…anyone have any suggestions? The best example of what I’m talking about can be seen on the 4th camel in from the lower left.


  6. Merlijn says:

    thats nice

  7. rohtop says:

    you can say that Chris!
    beautifull picture!

  8. STATIC says:

    Thats totally awsome

  9. Pouch says:

    to Joe… the sun is at a lower angle – the shadow of the camel is going right under the other camels legs. and DB – the shadows that seem to have shadows are caused by the side of the camel that isnt getting sun light – the “dark side of the camel” per say.

  10. scott says:

    Joe, the camels’ shadows do go over other camels, its just that the contrast of the shadow is much easier to see on the sand than on the other camels. Think about it; if you stood in someone else’s shadow, it would go over you, but you wouldn,t look very dark compared to that person’s shadow on the ground.

  11. chris says:

    shadows are cast from each camel downward, no matter how deep down the sun already is. so no shadow from one camels back can cast on another camel of the same size. the shadow of your 4th camel from the lower left is of course cast onto the legs of the camel next to it. but that can’t be seen from the top, since the foto is taken from a 90° angle

  12. grant says:

    the reason shadows aren’t cast on the camels themselves is because of the angle of the sun, the shadow goes under the camel, i guess a little bit of shadow on the legs, but can’t see that from the angle

  13. grant says:

    actually i was wrong, didn’t look enough. there are shadows. simply look over one more camel, the group of two just right of the ones joe was talking about, you can see that a shadow is indeed cast onto another camel

  14. joe says:

    Thanks guys and gals for clearing up the mystery of the camel shadow for me :)

  15. dylan says:


  16. Dylan!!! says:

    Veeery clever picture!! I can see more than two riders on the camels though.And there are’t camels with two humps on their backs,they’re the riders.

  17. fabio says:

    great pic!!!

  18. lymon says:

    dylan with the little d is stupid. why did you say boo you loser.

  19. Francis E. Lawlor says:

    Why are the camels white? Are they all albinos ?
    Or was the Photo “doctored” ?

  20. HighDesert says:

    Strange! Where are the SHADOW PEOPLE????

  21. quirky-gal..x says:

    neat picture ♥in it

  22. kittypoo says:

    Neat cool awsome!!!

    Meow!! oops!

  23. Anonymous says:

    How come they have 2 shadows each?

  24. Anonymous says:

    i think some of the camels cast shadows on each other and some dont is because some of the camels are up on dunes and some aren’t

  25. Anonymous says:

    Beautifull!!! especially the colors of the sand.

  26. Tawn says:

    Wow..this is a beatuiful picture! I see at least 2 camels with riders.

    BTW…love the Random Illusion!!

  27. Anonymous says:

    No riders, just crossed shadows. Beautiful picture!! Love it!!

  28. Anonymous says:

    ITS BLACK CARDBOARD CANT YOU SEE!!!! the ‘shadows’are standng up…. but it might be becouse of somthing else

  29. s says:

    this is awasome ,what is it?

  30. OuRaNoS says:

    I think I saw a deer on the near middle left…..

  31. Anonymous says:

    Reply to joe: one reason why the shadows of particular Camels do not cross those that are near by may be, every Camel isnt the same height, there could be a shorter camel next to a taller one. it also depends on the geography of the land as well. Because it is a “satelite” shot, it is dificult to see whether certain Camels are higher up due to higher points in the dunes.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I found 3 camels with two humps but its quite hard to see the second hump in the shadows.
    As for finding the camels with riders I wasn’t quite shore what to look for. I mean, where abouts on the camel would the rider be?

    Really good photo by the way.

  33. w00t no name says:

    this is realy good you can see the real camels and were looking at them from above

  34. Lou says:

    Why do the shadows have shadows? It doesn’t matter what angle the sun is at, there can’t be 2 shadows of the same animal.

  35. jesus says:

    my balls are huge..!!!1

  36. Grace says:

    You sikko!!

  37. Angela says:

    I think it’s a painting…

  38. brian says:

    there are no riders, i think, it just seems that way when 1 camel’s head is very close to another camel’s (the camel in front’s) body (midway – at or near the hump).
    all of them have 1 hump each or so i could decipher from the shadows

  39. Dan says:

    I couldn’t find the illusion. When I did find it, I tried to find a person on the camel. I haven’t found any.

  40. Pam says:

    Can I pin this picture on Pinterest or would that be wrong? I love this picture.

  41. Kiley says:

    i did not bother tying to figure the ollusion out, all i did was admire the amazing picture they took, so incredibly pretty. :)

  42. thegreatgramcracker says:

    ah! now i see!

  43. Ken says:

    Click on the image to get the larger view and what we are seeing becomes much clearer.

  44. Sceptic says:

    How come all the shadows are those that would be produced by a light source at right angles to the direction of travel of the camels yet the direction of travel of some camels is at (or very near) right angles to others? Also, how can camels with outstretched necks produce shadows showing a U shaped neckline? I smell a spoof – but a pretty impressive one all the same. Good on you George if you really did manage to sell it to National Geographic!

  45. katybug says:

    You guys. The white looking things are the real camals. Look really close and youll see it. And the ones with two humps are the one being ridin by a person!

  46. Rafael says:

    The first time I saw this cool image was with a motivational metaphor written aside: like the shadows in relationship to the camels, your problems usually seem way bigger than they actually are when you take a better look.

  47. 0vidiu says:

    the efect can be replicated like this :

    one blanket, a few pillows, randomly on ground, a few animal toys from my daughter, scattered arround the blanket, some on tops, some on “valleys” one 100w bulb under a table next to the area, sit on the table and take the photo exacly downwords, like shooting inside a well.
    Try it, the effects are very nice. the result is very very confusing for the ppl that do that know exaclty what it is at first glance.

  48. Luara says:

    On “it’s back”, really?

  49. AAA says:

    The big shadow on the desert land is an Arabic word for ALLAH (google it) its been written side way, if this true that’s very serious

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