Pictures of Reflections

One of my favourite subjects are reflections. Reflections of all kinds - buildings reflected in glass facades  in a puddle or a pool, or landscapes reflected in a lake.
Now, why take a picture of a reflection, when you also can just shoot the original?
The fun part is that the reflective surface acts as a part of natural but highly artistic filter: often, the reflected image is coloured differently, it may be distorted to the point of abstraction or it may even look almost truer than the original, more contrasty and darker.

Also, you do not have to stick to the reflection only, - it is fun to include some of the surroundings or even the subject itself.

Once I had started, there was no turning back: I realised that there are reflections all around us: the metallic surface of a polished car, shop windows, small puddles or the ocean, and even polished granite.

Of course, water is a special challenge: from one moment to the next, the image in your viewfinder may change dramatically, due to a bit of wind producing ripples or a cloud obscuring the sun.
Not so long ago, I aroused the interest of several passers-by in Montreal by setting up a tripod near the Olympic stadium but ignoring this famous sight and shooting its reflection in a puddle instead.

So be warned: shooting reflections is addictive!
Here some examples, mostly from the China-section of Travelphoto.Net:


Lampions reflected in the Northern Lakes, Beijin This picture was taken at the Northern Lakes, Beijing.
While the reflection fills two thirds of the photo, the subject itself is clearly visible. The water is calm ant the image reflected by it clear, but a bit darker.


Souzhou Street, Beijing, China.Souzhou Stret at the Summer Palace, Beijing.
The water is very calm, but the buildings themselves are not visible.
The lotos plants on the water make it immediately clear that this is a reflection.


Gate reflected in a modern glass facade, Beijing (China).The reflection of an ancient gate reflected in a modern glass facade - quite a contrast!
But then, this is Beijing...



Angling in Kamakura, Japan.Here, the reflection and the original are equally important.
The symmetry adds to the calm atmosphere (hopefully) and make the silhouette appear even more graphical.
(Kamakura, Japan at sunset)


An abstract picture: reflection of a sunset
This almost is an abstract painting - and there’s no clue providing you more information.
Some may like this others not.
Actually, it’s a sunset at the Summer Palace, Beijing, reflected in the lake and photographed using a polariser


Photo of a boat in the sunset, Summer Palace, Beijing.
This version is less challenging, the small boat shows that this must be a sunset over water...



Park, Hida Folk Village,  Takayama, Japan.The reflection is not the main subject of the photo, but is supposed to add to the atmosphere.
this is the lake at Hida Folk Village, Takayama, Japan.



One technical tip: a polariser filter can cut through reflections in a glass window, but it also can enhance the reflection, add to the overall saturation of the reflected image and is maybe the only special kind o equipment you need for this subject.

Of course only, if you do not get so much addicted to reflections that you bring along your own mirrors, tin foils, or mylar paper.
And, using a metal sphere, or even a light bulb and a macro lens one can even produce fish-eye like panoramas...

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