Photographer Captures a ‘3-Headed Deer’ Optical Illusion

An optical illusion photo of a three-headed deer by Renatas Jakaitis

Wildlife photographer Renatas Jakaitis was shooting in the forests of Lithuania when he managed to capture this unusual optical illusion photo of a “three-headed deer.”

The image may appear at first glance to be the result of some clever Photoshop editing, but it was actually the result of good luck and perfect timing.

The Story Behind the 3-Headed Deer Photo

Jakaitis, a 45-year-old photographer based in Kaunas County, was stealthily and patiently hiding in the woods of Penevezys County back in 2014 when this special unexpected moment occurred in front of his camera. He had been slowly working all day to get close enough to the skittish animals before the opportunity arrived to photograph them.

“I spent hours trying to sneak up on them, so they didn’t know I was there,” the photographer told the Daily Mail. “I think my camera shutter gave me away, as they quickly looked up when I started capturing them.”

Three European fallow deer were walking in a single-file line through a path in the snow in their natural habitat when the sound of Jakaitis’s camera shutter caught their attention and made them turn around to see what the source was. One deer looked over its left shoulder, the other looked over its right side, and the third looked straight over the middle, leading to the curious pose and illusion.

“I was watching the deer, which were stood together in a group,” Jakaitis continued. “I knew that in most cases during the winter, the animals are walking in paths one after the other, so I followed a group of wild deer, and I expected there would be something I’d like to photograph.

“I could never have imagined however that these three deer would all turn at the same time and look at me, and make such a funny image. I didn’t plan it, and I never even thought about taking a photo like this.”

Photographer Renatas Jakaitis with his camera in the snow
Wildlife photographer Renatas Jakaitis shooting in the snow with his Canon DSLR and telephoto lens.

Immediately after looking back and seeing Jakaitis with his Canon EOS 1D Mark III DSLR and Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM lens pointed at them, the deer turned and hurried away, quickly disappearing from view.

“They must have been camera shy,” Jakaitis says.

A Happy Surprise While Reviewing Photos

Jakaitis actually did not realize what he had captured in the heat of the moment while shooting the photos — it was only afterward that he noticed the illusion while going through the images he had shot.

“When I took the picture I didn’t even notice it, it was only when I looked back at the images on my camera that I realized,” the photographer tells the Mail. “I thought, ‘That’s incredible!’

“It’s very funny and very interesting. My timing must have been spot on. Many people are astonished when they see it, and thought it must be some kind of trick.”

You can find more of the photographer’s work on Facebook.

Image credits: Photographs courtesy Renatas Jakaitis