Weekly Photo Talk: Reflections   25 comments

Mount Rainier, Washington is reflected in the blue waters of Bench Lake.

Mount Rainier, Washington is reflected in the blue waters of Bench Lake.

This post dovetails with the weekly photo challenge – Reflections.  I’ll be brief and to the point.  Here are some things to keep in mind when photographing reflections.  By the way, all of the images here are copyrighted and not available for free download without my permission.  If you are interested in one, just click on it to go to the gallery part of my website.  If you have any questions or special requests, please contact me.  Thanks for your interest!

One of my favorite night images, the moon and Jupiter times two in Mt. Rainier's Reflection Lake.  Please click on image if interested in it.

One of my favorite night images, the moon and Jupiter times two in Mt. Rainier’s Reflection Lake. Please click on image if interested in it.

      • Seek out reflections, especially when the light is nice.  Don’t worry about being cliche or boring.  Reflections multiply a beautiful sky or other nicely lighted subject.  They add zing to any photo.  They also help to control contrasts, evening out the light and making exposure easier.
This scene had subtle, rather dim but beautiful light, and Lake Crescent (Olympic Peninsula, Washington) reflecting that light made the shot.

Lake Crescent on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington.  Light was subtle, rather dim but beautiful, and the reflection multiplied that light and made the shot.

      • Reflections can close shapes or complete patterns.  Just look at the image below and imagine how the shadow and mountain would look without the reflection.  They would make half a shape.
Appropriately named Blue Lake near Mt. Rainier, Washington.

Appropriately named Blue Lake near Mt. Rainier, Washington.

      • As always, variety is the spice.  In order to avoid the same old look of upside down subjects, move in close, angle your camera down to take in only the reflection, work the light and subject both.  Do abstracts and close-ups.  Try reflections off buildings and use bright rocks too.  For times when the reflection is disturbed by wind, view them as opportunities to get a different kind of shot.  Watch carefully what the light does as the wind blows.
These trees along the Columbia River are flooded in spring's high flows, creating the opportunity for an abstract-like composition.

These trees along the Columbia River are flooded in spring’s high flows, creating the opportunity for an abstract-like composition.

      • When you have a fairly standard situation, like for example a reflection of a mountain off a lake, try exposing for the reflection.  Put your camera on manual and point the center of frame at the brightest part of the reflection (or if that is very bright just to the side of it).  Set the aperture you want and then adjust shutter speed to center your light meter reading.  Then move the camera to recompose and get the shot you want.  Shoot and then review the image on the LCD, paying attention to the histogram.  You want to make sure the histogram isn’t climbing up the right edge (overexposure) or way too far over to the left (underexposure).
The Grand Tetons in Wyoming are reflected in a high alpine tarn.

The Grand Tetons in Wyoming are reflected in a high alpine tarn.

      • In general, reflections are a little dimmer than the light source.  Remember that when you’re using a graduated neutral density filter, whether in the field or on the computer later.  Using the example from the point above, keep the reflection from becoming brighter than the brightest areas of the sky.
Don't forget night-time reflections:  Milky Way over Mt. Adams, Washington.

Don’t forget night-time reflections: Milky Way over Mt. Adams, Washington.

      •  When the sun glints directly off the water, those often beautiful highlights are normally the same or very close to the brightness of the sun.  So if they are blown out, so that they make the histogram hit the right edge, don’t worry about it.  Just like you don’t worry about blowing out the sun, who cares if those details lack highlights?
A winter sunset from Timberline on Mount Hood, Oregon reflects from the snow.

A winter sunset from Timberline on Mount Hood, Oregon reflects from the snow.

      • When you are shooting reflections in windows or mirrors out on the street, pay special attention to everything in the frame.  Of course this is always a great idea, but it’s even more important with street shooting.  Now I know it’s very cool to be surprised later on the computer when you see something you hadn’t noticed at the time.  But in general you want to control what is appearing in your composition.  It pays to be very observant with reflections.

I hope you are blessed with great reflections on your upcoming photography forays.  In my opinion, they are worth their weight in gold.  I also hope your weekend is as beautiful as ours is in the Pacific Northwest.  The first weekend of spring, yippee!

This house and the Mendocino Coast (California) headland it sits on are reflected beautifully off wet sand.

This house and the Mendocino Coast (California) headland it sits on are reflected beautifully off wet sand.

Fall along the Animas River of New Mexico.

Fall along the Animas River of New Mexico.

A glorious sunset sky is reflected from the Columbia River in Oregon as a seal cruises by.

A glorious sunset sky is reflected from the Columbia River in Oregon as a seal cruises by.

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25 responses to “Weekly Photo Talk: Reflections

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  1. Great and inspiring collection of reflections!

  2. Great images. Regards Peet

  3. Nothing less than glorious!

  4. amazing reflections… salute

  5. Stunning as always.

  6. Thanks everyone! I’m a little surprised to have such a dramatic response. Guess I’m not used to it, haha! Thanks so much!

  7. Oh wow – so gorgeous.

  8. Absolutely stunning

  9. There are no words to describe how magnificent these photos are. They are beyond beautiful.
    ~~~~~~~ : – )

  10. Talk about a killer entry for this weeks theme, WOW!

  11. Stunning! Every single one of them!

  12. I love the Mt. Rainier reflection lake shot… But the one of the trees is my favourite. Paths movement in the water gives such a magical quality to the reflection.

  13. Amazing views !!

  14. Lovely examples of beautiful reflections. I especially liked your tree shot and the way the trunks are angled in the water.

  15. Gorgeous images and great tips. Have a good week.

  16. Stunning and Great Info

  17. Goodness me! Beautiful!

  18. Wow! This is breathtaking!!!

  19. These are beautiful. I can see why the Mt. Rainier night shot is one of your favorites.

  20. Pingback: Weekly photo challenge: reflections | Jean's Photography Blog

  21. Wonderful… 🙂

  22. Beautiful as always. You inspire me.

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