|Tangled Criss-Crossed Branches - Detail of 11" x 15" Watercolor on paper -
Examination of layers in foreground and background
Cameras focus in different ways than the human eye does. We are fortunate that our eyes can adjust quickly and see whatever details that we want to concentrate on.
A camera just wants to take a picture. The camera sets its focus at a particular distance in the scene, and depending on other settings, the rest of that picture may or may not be in focus.
Sometimes the scene we are looking at is confusing, and our brain uses certain cues to figure out what the eyes are looking at. One of these cues to depth perception is perceiving overlap - what is in front and what is behind.
In this photo of tangled branches, the focal point was supposed to be the raindrop on the branch. (See it?) The camera actually focused on the nearest object, the left-hand side of the red osier dogwood branch, and put the rest of the trees in the scene gradually out of focus the farther away they were. The overlap effect is intensified because of the difference in focus. Meanwhile, the camera flash made the different colors in the branches show up brightly, and that turned the tangle of branches into an interesting geometric pattern of shapes and colors.