Reflections are a powerful compositional tool. A tool that, until this point, I had never considered using. I had read about reflections but dismissed the thought of puddles as offering an opportunity for a reflection photograph. I thought puddles were too small to reflect anything. Have you ever looked down into a little pool of water? It’s like a mirror.
When the group got to this field, and I saw that it was flooded, I just wanted to turn around to leave. Instead, each photographer took off their shoes and socks, rolled up his/her pants and trekked through the water. When we reached the far side of the puddle and looked back towards Half Dome, the picture was obvious. The water was still and the reflection so strong, that looking on the camera’s screen, it was hard to tell which end was up.
I set up my shot and waited for the sun to go down. The sky lit up with a soft palette of colors, while Half Dome still had a glow. I’ve never looked at a simple puddle of water the same way, since that evening.
Although this was a large puddle, you can get reflections from any size. I’ve found it important to explore them from differing angles to get differing views. I no longer avoid puddles—fearing getting wet. Instead, I investigate to see what I can find in them.
Initially, when I went there, I was going for a sunrise image. As you can see, that did not happen. It’s not because there wasn’t a beautiful sunrise or because cloud cover obscured the view, but because I was unaware of my positioning. I, simply, missed the mark and chose a location where the sun didn’t rise over the water—instead it rose over the land.
There is an app for phones and web browsing that allows you to see the position of the sun throughout the day. IF I had used it, I would’ve known about where to go for the kind of shot I was looking for. The app is called The Photographer’s Ephemeris.
Fortunately, I stuck around the location even though I wouldn’t have a shot with the sun in it. The light was beautiful! Blues, pinks and purples throughout the sky. When the sun rose, the light hit the fence, from the side, adding a nice glow.
Quickly, I setup my camera, adjusting the setting, and took a series of photos. When I got back to my pc and saw the image, I was happy. I think the shot worked. I love the colors.
Most of the time, I tend to try to shoot at sunrise. I just love to watch as the sun comes up, signaling the start of another day. Now, I have learned, that I don’t need the sun in every shot I take to make them compelling. Indirect sunlight can make for a beautiful picture too. I’ve learned that the colors before the sun rises are beautiful and that I can capture them as well. AND I’ve learned to use The Photographer’s Ephemeris to help me plan my shots.
If you’re interested in the app, you can find it at: https://www.photoephemeris.com/
So, that’s the story behind this photo.
I took my time, used manual mode to adjust the aperture, ISO and shutter speeds plus my other settings. I searched the beach for an appropriate composition. Once the sun rose, I saw the pattern in the sand and knew that was my shot!
I had learned about leading lines and patterns in composition, but this was my first intentional use of those in one of my photographs. For me, this image had what I was looking for. The lines in the sand offered a foreground interest as well as a draw for the eye into the picture, and it leads you to the sunrise, in the background. Besides the pattern in the sand, I was blessed with a beautiful sky. I got excited, took my images and rushed home to see what I had captured.
It's always a surprise to see the image on the computer. The little LCD screen on the back of the camera, in my opinion, never does the image any justice--it's just too small to see. I was thrilled! I couldn't believe it. It was as if everything I had learned finally made sense to me. From that day forward, I have seen my photography in a whole new way.
I've slowed down. I've made a conscious effort to use the composition techniques that I am constantly studying, and I've started to delve deeper into light and color theories.
I had a new confidence in my work and for the first time, I entered a photo into a competition. I competed against other photographers from around the world and landed in the top 5! I was ecstatic!
So, that's a little bit about why this image is so special to me.
What Is This Page?
Since I love photography and teaching, I thought I would start a Blog page and share how I take my images, what I was thinking and about me.