... from their new book: The BetterPhoto Guide to Photographing Light: Learn to Capture Stunning Light in any Situation
Reflections offer abundant opportunities for creating fascinating and beautiful mirrored images, as well as abstract pictures. They can be found anywhere, from rain puddles and small ponds to lakes and oceans.
Right off the bat, water reflections spark interesting design decisions. For instance, you can go for a full view that lets you record two elements for the price of one - the subject and its reflection. Or you can zero in tight on just the reflection itself. It’s your artistic choice.
Besides composition, there are several other considerations to take into account. Windless conditions - most frequently found in the mornings - make for mirror-perfect images. But although the natural tendency is only to think of reflections for their looking-glass qualities, you also can make mild ripples work for you. With wind affecting the surface of the water, rich tones and bold patterns can turn into a kaleidoscope of colors.
Lighting makes a difference, too. Look for a colorful subject near water, where the sun illuminates the scene directly and, especially, when the water is in the shade. For example, if you are photographing fall foliage, find a spot where the trees and leaves are receiving direct light but where the water has slipped into the shadows. A situation like this can increase the intensity of color in the reflection. Of course, the light of very early morning or very late day provide captivating conditions as well.
Mountain Sunset - (c) Jim Miotke
Mount Shuksan, North Cascades, Washington. With the mirrored lake reflection, Jim chose a balanced composition (with the image split in half by the distant shoreline) in order to emphasize the scene's symmetry and tranquility. 1 sec. @ F/11, ISO 100, 16-35mm at 30mm, tripod
Coastal Abstract - (c) Kerry Drager
Capitola, California Coast. A telephoto let Kerry zoom in tight on just the reflections of the village's shops. He also slanted the camera slightly in order to create a more dynamic diagonal composition. f/16 at 1/100 sec.; ISO 400; 70-300mm zoom lens at 165mm; tripod