10 Vivid Rorschach Tests, Made By Camera

You can call them Rorschach tests, or you can call them inkblots. But what happens when you merge the idea of abstract symmetry with photography? You get the incredible entrants in this week's Shooting Challenge.



"Demon"—My approach to this challenge was pretty simple: take a picture of something colorful then mirror and overlay it using GIMP. As I was looking for potential subjects, I spotted a croton that was growing forgotten next to a road sign. I imagined that the color in the leaves would provide an great start for a mirrored picture. Little did I realize that in this plant hid a demon until I started adjusting the image. Canon 60D — 1/50" — F8.0 — ISO160 — 28.0mm

- Mike Case


I'm currently on a 3-month retreat/sabbatical on the beautiful island of Hawai'i (Hilo side). This little chunk of paradise has a ton of interesting (to this Sacramento native) flora to use as subjects. This is a composition of 2 photos, one of a hibiscus stamen and the other of a leaf off some or another awesome plant in my yard. The process was pretty simple: 1. Mirror each photo and set their top layer transparency to multiply (in the case of the leaf) and lighten (in the case of the hibiscus) . 2. Merge the leaf images and set as the bottom layer. 3. Merge and then duplicate the hibiscus layers; flip the top layer vertically. 4. On the newly created middle hibiscus layer, mask the highlights; set transparency to darken (This basically creates the top part of the image where the hibiscus stamen effectively is a screen of the leaf). Camera Deets: Nikon D90 Shutter 1/60 sec ISO 200 Used the kit 18.0-105.0 mm lens @ 105

- Bob Ueckerlele

Elephant Eating Thai


This is a picture of the elephant statue just outside a Thai restaurant close to my house. I recently had a pretty intense dream about being chased by elephants so I guess that is why I was attracted to the image. I like how the building behind it reflects the sky and clouds, making a little rorschach inside the bigger image, which to me has a very dreamlike feeling to it. CAMERA: Canon EOS 60D LENS: EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM EXPOSURE: 1/800 sec; f/5.0; ISO 100

- Juan Parada

Christmas on Carpet


So I was bored and decided to throw some Christmas lights on a carpet ,I plugged them in, and took a few shots. I edited it in Photoshop, messed with the hue, and that's about it. Taken on a Canon t3i, with stock 18-55mm lens. 1/30 sec, 39mm, 3200 iso, f/5.

- Robert Hartley



I got this Absolut Vodka bottle last Christmas and thought it was too cool to through away and I'm glad I didn't because it ended up being the perfect prop for this challenge! Once in Photoshop I started messing around with orientations and warping and the next thing you know I was using splatter brushes to delete portions of the photo. I shot the original photo with a Nikon D300s fitted with a 70mm-300mm lens. I shot this photo at 1/30 f4.5 ISO200 105mm with two flash units, one with a blue gel. I had been going through my entire lens bag trying to get a feel for what was going to give me all the colors and textures I wanted out of the photo. The Lensbaby almost took the final shot until I decided to back up a bit with the 70-300. I'm really happy with what came out and I'm glad I took this as my first Giz challenge and I can't wait for the next!

- Trevor Silva

Through the Clouds


Nikon D600 Nikkor 28-70mm Lens set at 70mm ISO 100 f/5 1/2000 sec The side of the cloud was embracing the sun and the tops of the trees were at the bottom of the frame as I took the shot. Then off to photoshop to rotate the frame 90 degrees and merge it with the same flipped horizontally. What I got was to me an interesting Rorschach.

- Duane Sager



I'm not a big "flower" person but I do love orchids. They have such a surreal look to begin with and I thought they would be perfect for this Rorschach assignment. Camera is a Lumix LX7 with Leica DC Vario lens at 90mm, f2.3 for 1/15 sec. Manipulated in Photoshop Elements 11.

- Lynn Salce

Cup of Milk


I took a close-up of a cup of milk with some drops of blue and red food coloring dropped in the center. After allow them to mix for a couple of seconds, and adding another light source, I took the shot. I then mirrored the image in photoshop. Canon T3 EFS 18-55 kit lens Vivitar screw-on macro attachment f/5 ISO 1600 Focal Length: 40mm Exposure Time: 1/250 sec.

- Jason Dennett

Beat Up '89 Honda CRX


I was walking through a parking lot and happened upon a beat up '89 Honda CRX; the rear bumper was undergoing some extensive sanding, exposing layers of paint. The colors and scratches were gorgeous on their own. I played around with several versions in Photoshop and settled on this one. My wife sees a cat; I think I can see some owls... Sony SLT-A65V Tamron 70-300mm, f5.0 1/400sec ISO 250

- Julian De Puma

Frosted Flowers


I think this was as much of a challenge in image manipulation than it was in the actual photography. My base image was taken with a Blackberry Curve, and it was of the flowers of a hosta against the grass. To convert it to a Rorschach, it was put through Paint.net to produce the symmetry, then the filer "Frosted Glass," and finally the colors were inverted.

- Jonas Demuro

Fantastic entries all around. It's remarkable how much variety we see, even within what would seem a relatively confining idea. These entries are like the ever-shifting innards of a kaleidoscope, fundamentally related but ultimately unpredictable. Snag the bigger versions on flickr.


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