Reflections In Water – Common Photo Theme


In my own observations over the years, I can confidently say that water is one of the few elements that nearly every photographer seems to be attracted.  Maybe it’s the chaotic manner in which water moves that begs to be frozen in time.  No…I think it’s the way that water can take on so many forms and be presented in so many different ways.  Today, we’re going to focus on it’s reflective properties as we explore this month’s common photo theme:  Reflections In Water.

“It Was A Moonlit Summer Night…” by Reina Smallenbroek

"It Was A Moonlit Summer Night..." by Reina Smallenbroek

“It Was A Moonlit Summer Night…” by Reina Smallenbroek

Water can be a glass-like surface if completely still.  Sometimes, it requires a very wind-free day.  On the other hand, you could take your camera out at dusk and get a little bit longer exposure and that glass-like surface will magically appear as captured by the camera.  I could be wrong, but I believe that’s what Reina Smallenbroek did for this beautiful shot, It Was A Moonlit Summer Night….  Of course, shooting at dusk gives a whole new character to the water.  Reflections in water tend to darken, but not so noticeably in the daylihgt.  As the sun starts to go down, that water becomes smokey.

“Bike Trail Sunset” by Phil Kirchmeier

"Bike Trail Sunset" by Phil Kirchmeier

“Bike Trail Sunset” by Phil Kirchmeier

When the subject is presented both in its true state and within the reflection, the subject becomes the juxtaposition between the two existences.  But when only the reflection is presented, there is a great deal more intrigue.  The puddle in Bike Trail Sunset, a photo by Phil Kirchmeier, is more like a window into another world.  It’s a world that we’re familiar with, but one that looks just slightly off.  Shooting reflections on the ground is quite appealing simply because it’s a perspective that viewers aren’t used to seeing.  People don’t look up much from such a low vantage point.  But that’s why photographers like Phil are here:  To provide unique perspectives.

“Redridge” by David Clark

"Redridge" by David Clark

“Redridge” by David Clark

I don’t know what it is, but when you capture a photo of a lake, you have to make sure it’s on a partly cloudy day.  Clouds reflected in the water is a prerequisite for feeling and believing in the fresh air.  I really like how David Clark exposed for the reflection in this photo, Redridge.  Deep water tends to eat the light, reflecting somewhat inefficiently, and so the actual sky in this photo appears to be blown out.  This brings our focus to the water and the rippled clouds reflected in its surface.  And what could possibly be more inviting?

“Small Boats” by Darren Moore

"Small Boats" by Darren Moore

“Small Boats” by Darren Moore

Pattern is one of the key building blocks of design, and it’s one that holds a great deal of power.  Photographer Darren Moore recognized the pattern in these Small Boats, of course, when he took the shot.  But did you notice how much stronger the photo is simply because of the reflection?  The initial pattern of the boats gets morphed into a reflective pattern – one on less than still water, so it looks warped – in the water.  It’s a fun contrast that doesn’t fully break the inital pattern, or at least it introduces a second mimicking pattern under the other.  It’s a cool delivery that a viewer can truly admire and appreciate.



About Author

D. Travis North is a professional Landscape Architect, a Freelance Photographer and founder of Shutter Photo. Ever since he picked up his first SLR, his father's Nikon N2000, he's been hooked on photography. Travis likes to photograph urban environments, architectural details and has a new-found interest in close-up photography. His work can be found at D. Travis North Photography. Follow Travis on twitter: @dtnorth.

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