Shooting for Success: Reflecting on the Image

I wanted to talk about good light and bad light in terms of sunlight but every time I went to take a midday shot this week the sky was a nice solid blue and I didn’t see the washed out light I wanted to use as a bad example. But I’ll keep trying, and will go through some of my old images to see what I can find.

Lake Oesa Reflection
Lake Oesa, Yoho National Park. Copyright Tim Reynolds.

In the meantime, lets look at reflections. Like all photography, it’s all about the light. Some reflections are perfect mirror reflections and sometimes the details don’t need to be reflected in order for the image to work.

In this first image the reflection in Lake Oesa is simply of darks and lights, leading the eye up to the tree silhouette which leads up to the mountains themselves.

Vancouver Reflection
Vancouver at Night. Copyright Tim Reynolds.

In the next one, of Vancouver from Stanley Park, because of the wind on the surface of the water, the reflection is reduced to streaks of light and colour pointing straight up to the nighttime lights and details of the city.

The next shot is the reflection of Rundle Mountain which I entered in the National Geographic Traveler photo contest and although it didn’t win, they asked if they could use it in their calendar.

Mt. Rundle & Vermilion Lakes
Mt. Rundle & Vermilion Lakes. Copyright Tim Reynolds.

This is a near mirror reflection. so there’s no leading of the eye through the use of the light, but the compositional lines of the snow-covered Mount Rundle certainly leads the eye to the full moon.

MGM Grand Las Vegas Reflection
MGM Grand, Las Vegas. Copyright Tim Reynolds.

For a mirror-like reflection, small areas of water are best. This next shot is from the Theme Park at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where the pond is much smaller than any of the lakes or the harbour in the other images.

Now, the last shot is one of my all time favourite images because of how the clouds, the light, the shadows and the colours all come together in the reflection and the reality. The only thing I would change is the use of a graduated neutral density filter.

Cokin ND Filter 120
Cokin ND Filter 120

The use of the filter would allow the sky to be a slightly darker, to match the richness of the reflection. If you look at the last three reflections, you’ll notice that the reflection is slightly darker that the source. Water acts as a natural filter for some of the light. If you want a balanced image, the graduated neutral density filter is a great tool.

Herbert Lake Reflection
Herbert Lake, Banff National Park. Copyright Tim Reynolds.

So, whether you’re capturing reflected details, the highlights and shadows or simply the colours and shapes, reflections can be some of your most stunning images. Day or night, urban or rural, keep your eyes open for reflective opportunities.Yes, even in Las Vegas.

And enjoy.



NEXT WEEK: Something to do with light and cameras and images I expect. Possibly simplicity. Yes, that sounds good. Simplicity it is.

All images here copyright Tim Reynolds, except filter image, copyright Cokin Inc.


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