Allan Flagel of the Don Mills Camera ClubAllan Flagel of the Don Mills Camera Club

Rarely do I ever walk past a puddle or pool of water without checking out the reflections on its surface.

If there is a slight breeze blowing, the gentle ripples can produce some amazing abstract designs. These lend themselves to colour images with blobs of luscious hues or black and white prints with interesting patterns, graphic shapes and lines.

The trick to getting artistic-looking results is to use the correct lens, filter and shutter speed. Here I am taking for granted that you have already had plenty of practice in honing your sense of seeing (not just looking) and that you have a good grasp of what constitutes a pleasing composition. These of course are prerequisites, before you even start walking around your reflecting surface, hunting for your image.

For you see, just very minor shifts in camera location can produce totally different results. In fact, every picture that you take of the moving surface of the water will be unique. It is virtually impossible to take two identical images!

  1. Correct lens: this would be a telephoto zoom in the 70-300 mm range. This makes it very easy to isolate many different great images.
  2. Filter: a polarizer is often used to reduce reflections, but here we are using it to just take the sheen off the surface, to intensify the reflection, colours and contrast. You should rotate the filter to get just the correct amount of reflection that you desire.
  3. Shutter speed: this is the most important part, to produce clean, crisp reflections and not blurry messes. Usually 1/250 s or faster is preferred. This also allows you to shoot hand-held for easier hunting while you are stalking your amazing reflections.

These abstracts have the feature that they can turn the most mundane objects into incredible works of art. This technique can also be used on reflections in shop windows, chrome on cars and curved mirrors.
Images can be totally abstract, with unrecognizable subjects, or just altered enough to be intriguing.

It is totally up to you and your imagination plus the conditions of course.

Having said all that, you can still have fun with a simple little P & S (if you don’t feel like dragging out all of the suggested gear above) as the pictures included will illustrate, taken while I was on holiday in the Caribbean.

Yacht Reflection

Yacht Reflection

Glass Roof

Glass Roof