Saturday, January 25, 2014

Water Reflections (by guest blogger George McLennan)

Look to the water for endless possibilities for reflected images. Reflections are fun because you can capture great images under a wide range of conditions. Any sort of water will do – streams, fountains, canals, ponds, lakes, birdbaths, and puddles after a rain. There are great shots to be found at any time of the day under any kind of light – early morning, later afternoon, direct sun, open shade, cloudy or sunny.

To get a smooth-as-glass surface go out in the early morning before the breeze comes up. But don’t stop there. Ripples and moving water can lend a very nice abstract effect. Dusk is another good time because lights start to come on, which can add a nice touch to the reflection.

Reflections can be bold, bright and colorful like the first image above. Or can be more realistic and subtle like the second image above.

The first image above shows reflections from brightly colored kayaks on rippled water. This abstract pattern was taken mid-day under direct sun. Like many abstract reflections this one benefits from a few adjustments in Lightroom to increase contrast and bring out the color: Blacks at -40; Clarity at +30; Vibrance at +55. Clearly these are heavy handed adjustments, but after all this is an abstract. You will have to experiment with your own shots to get the look to your satisfaction.

The second image was taken near a caretaker’s cabin along the C&O Canal. It is near dusk and the outdoor lights have just come on. My Lightroom adjustments were much more subtle: Blacks at -20; Clarity at +24; Vibrance at +15.

Most water reflection shots can be made with a hand-held camera since much of the time the shutter will need to be fast enough to stop the water from moving.

TECHNICAL DATA (first image)
Shutter Speed 1/640 sec.  Aperture f/6.3.  ISO 200.
Lens: Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 set to 70mm.  Camera: Nikon D40X.  Handheld.

TECHNICAL DATA (second image)
Shutter Speed 1/80 sec.  Aperture f/4.5.  ISO 100.
Lens: Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 set to 55mm.  Camera: Nikon D40X.  Handheld.

TODAY’S QUOTE: “Without reflection we go blindly on our way, and [fail] to achieve anything useful.”  --Margaret J. Wheatley

 George McLennan bio:
I am a photographer residing in Falls Church, Virginia. I have been taking pictures since my parents gave me a camera when I was 12, but it has only been the past several years that photography has become a passion more than a casual hobby. I began working in film, of course, but turned exclusively to digital several years ago and find the digital world much more to my liking.

While my photographic interests vary, most of my work is about landscapes and nature. I take great delight in nature’s details and often find those details provide great abstract images. Sometimes these images are abstract on their own. Sometimes I create the abstract after the shot is taken.

One of my specialties is photography for artists and collectors that need high quality images for juried competitions, insurance records and catalogs. I have served a number of fiber artists, fashion designers, painters and sculptors.

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