Reflecting on Reflections

April 06, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Why are we drawn to reflections?  Be they from water, windows, fast cars or the smooth texture of a well-polished table, reflections seem to validate our reality, but in a different way.  They are upside down, sometimes distorted, but always there and always dependable.  We expect to see a reflection in a mirror or a window, but do we think about it and reflect on it?

When we see a reflection, there's a subconscious acknowledgement that it exists...as you walk by a store window and see the movement of yourself, or when you pass through a shadow cast against a wall...you see a reflection, a shape, a movement.  But do you really study it and "see" what it has to offer?

Cedar River in MarchCedar River in MarchEven cold, snowy days in March can have its beauty. Near Palisades State Park in Linn County, Iowa.

Obviously we cannot do that consistently since we have lives to lead and things to do.  But as a photographer, I sometimes search for  reflections just to study their patterns, colors, shapes and above all, their portrayal of reality, which can be quite fascinating.  In the photo here, the reflection was very life-like and detailed, but had an other-worldly, strange quality to it that was vaguely familiar at the same time.

Reflections mirror our reality, but they also twist, turn and mock our world in unique ways.  When the sun shines on a river or lake during the day it's almost impossible to look directly at the reflection, but wait until dawn or dusk, when they take on colors and shapes that transform the entire scene.  I like to think of reflections as the ever-changing artistic aspect of nature that brings delightful variance and inspiration to us.

Water has got to be one of the most amazing reflective surfaces in the world, but what about smooth rocks, shells or the hundreds of man-made objects that reflect?  Those are all worth exploring for sure.  

One thing to remember about photographing reflections...pay attention to your focus area, and if there is movement (like the surface of water), be sure to increase your shutter speed a little unless you want some blur.  Reflections are notoriously hard to capture in some instances, especially when the light is constantly changing.  But that's what makes them such a wonderful part of the world! 

 


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