These Pictures Will Make You Do a Double Take

In these photos, there's more than meets the eye.
A man walks next to a pool of water
Careful! You don't want to... get your toes wet © Darrell Staggs
By Josh Sampiero and Lukas Pilz

Looks can be deceiving. Especially in photography, where the right setup and a little help from Mother Nature can create something truly surreal. In these pictures, things aren't always what they seem.

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Watch out for the cliff

You might need to take a closer look to comprehend the shot above, taken near Utah's Lake Powell.

"This canyon housed a pool of water that was sheltered from the wind, making it a perfect mirror for the canyon walls, lit by the late afternoon sun," as photographer Darrell Staggs has explained. "This view creates the illusion of a hiker walking right along the edge of a cliff canyon wall."

 

The Festung Hohensalzburg sits above the clouds in Austria
Castles in the sky... © krewenka.com

The castle in the sky

Normally, the Festung Hohensalzburg, or Hohensalzburg Castle, sits above picturesque Salzburg, Austria. But if you catch it on the right day, fog cover envelops the city, laying just low enough for the 14th-century fortress to stick out above the clouds. If you want an excuse to see one of the largest medieval fortresses in Europe and walk in the clouds, it's easy — you'll only need to climb nearly 300 feet of steps.

 

Cyclists chase their shadows in a French road race
Shadows of cycles... © ©Sebastien Boue

Shady cyclists

This Red Bull Illume Image Quest shot, taken directly above riders in a French road bike race, shows the cyclists' shadows more than their actual bikes. But the sun is running out — the shadows seem to be moving faster than the riders.

 

A motocross rider holds a picture of himself
Look close... then look closer © Dan Vojtech

Where’s the camera?

Sticking a GoPro on a helmet is great, but sometimes you've got to get creative.

Photographer Dan Vojtech explains: "This is rider Libor Podmol during our trip to America. I attached my Nikon D3 to Libor's handlebar with a clamp and a lot of duct tape, and fired it with a remote control. We took a couple of photos, but we couldn't check them or change any setup on camera because it was under all the duct tape. The next day we printed the photo, attached it to Libor's helmet and did everything again."

 

A giant aquarium in a hotel lobby in Berlin
Diving in... inside © Karl Johaentges / Getty Images

City swimming

When you visit Berlin, the sea probably isn't the first thing on your mind. But if it is, you need to check out the famous Radisson Blu Hotel on Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse. Inside the hotel, guests marvel at this 82-foot-high aquarium. It holds close to 300,000 gallons of water and houses 110 different species of marine life — that means over 1,500 fish and other critters live in the aquarium. The massive tank is kept clean by a 240,000-gallon per hour filtration system. If you look closely, you can spot a scuba diver.

 

A skateboarder plays with perception
Simon Stricker skating sideways © Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

Shifting gravity

Is this room flipped 90 degrees, or is Simon Stricker flashing some truly insane skate skills? Let us know what you think in the comments.

 

A Turkish freerunner puts his parkour skills into practice in Istanbul
Pavel Petkuns puts it all out there © Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

Laid back

Pavel "Pasha" Petkuns hangs out above the streets of Istanbul. While he may look relaxed, he's actually engaged in the high-energy sport of freerunning, or parkour, where athletes use their surroundings to move in creative, unexpected ways. Check Petkuns running all over a couple of Volvo Ocean Race boats.

 

A BMX cyclist reflected in the eye of a cat
This image was made for the internet. Why? Cats © Jaanus Ree/Red Bull Content Pool

This picture was born for the Internet

It's not a secret — the Internet loves cats. And that's why we love this shot of Erik Orgo on his BMX bike — seen through the eyes of a cat. Our only question: How many snaps did it take to get the cat to hold still for this one?

 

Polish Kite surfer Maciek Kozierski in the Sea of Galilee
Walking on water... © Predrag Vuckovic

Walking on water

This next shot is an example of great timing. Kiteboarder Maciek Kozierski lets his kite loose and does his best impression of Jesus on the Sea of Galilee (and, yes, this picture was taken on the Sea of Galilee).

 

An underwater waterfall

If you fly into Mauritius from the right angle you'll see a waterfall pouring into the deep ocean.

The illusion is caused when sand from the interior of the lagoon flows out toward the ocean. This high-altitude view offers a perspective that takes a second to process.

 

Surfing the sky

Off the coast of Australia you'll find this incredible cloud formation — if you're there on the perfect day. This 60 mile-long tubular cloud forms when the weather is right. And when it does, it rolls across the Gulf of Carpinteria at speeds up to 37 mph. Check out this video from Johnny Durant to learn more.

Check out 10 places that are as surreal as these pictures.

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