The Problem with Reflections

Reflections at Courthouse Towers

I have always been fascinated with reflection shots and often plan them on my landscape shots even going so far as carrying water to make “Lake Roman” as you can see in the image above. I have tried to incorporate this into my macro photography teaching and purchased some black Plexiglas to make on demand reflections. The image below is my first attempt, which I was rather happy with.

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I then decided to push the reflection image even further by using a tiny vase, side lit with two flashlights and an LED light as shown in the image below. As soon as I set the image up and pressed the shutter, I didn’t like it.

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Why? To me it was too static and wound up being too long with competing points of interest. It no longer became an image of the beautiful flower and vase but more about the reflection. I simply moved in and composed the image below.

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How do you feel about the two images? Do you agree or do you feel they both have merit and are OK with the perfect mirroring? I would be happy to hear your thoughts. This is also something I will be exploring all summer and sharing my findings with you.

Bob Oswald - I like the lower on better. It isn’t as busy and the vase doesn’t distract me (and I’m easily distracted) like the entire vase and flower above does. I’ve got to give this a try. You got some terrific shots right out of the gate!

Roman - Let’s see who agrees with us!

Natalya Pluzhnikov - I love the idea but agree with you concerning those two images. However, I think that part of the problem is that the image is strictly vertical. Diagonal subject might do better, or square format, possibilities are endless.

Lee - Love the 3 flowers reflections and the second vase reflection! Will have to try this!

Megg McNamee - No comparison! The second image is much easier on the eye.

Pat Konyha - I definitely love the 2nd attempt better than the 1st. It has more soul, more feeling to it. It brings in an emotion to the Orchid that the fist shot is lacking due to the majority of the photograph being of the vase itself. Reflecting the base of the vase in the second one gives it an illusion that the vase is taller but the viewer can understand the reflection so it does not detract from the image at all.

Marion Faria - I don’t care for the vase seems the glass has too many facets to me and detracts from the shot. However, I love the flowers lying on the black plexiglass.

Sylvia Weisbrot - Did you notice the face in the double flower vase? It looks like jester..2 eyes, nose and long pointed chin.

Arthur Okula - Three gerbera flowers image is simply marvelous, and that is all I have to say about that photo. Both shots with the vase are much less appealing. However the bottom image is a good example of partial mirroring effect used as a creative tool to manipulate desired shape and size of the photographed subject. Unfortunately “competing points of interest” problem between vase (and it’s partial reflection to a lesser extent) and the orchid still exists there. They all equally scream out loud for attention. Matching highlights and overall brightness level of the vase with its reflection may be worth trying though.

Susie Brent - Looking forward to your workshop in St. Louis

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