I’ve always loved photographing reflections when I’m out shooting landscapes. Who doesn’t?
Reflections can make for such interesting subjects, and there’s a lot you can do with them, aside from the ultra-classic “perfect mirror image” of the mountain scene reflecting in the lake that’s such a staple of this genre.
Essentially, reflection images allow us to juxtapose the “upside down” with the “right side up,” and there are lots of ways to approach this. These are all shots I’ve made within the last couple of weeks during my recent trips out to the glacier.
One of my favorite techniques is to zoom in and narrow down my composition, so that both the reflection and the “right side up” subject matter are reduced to mere abbreviations that contrast and play off of each other in the frame.
You can take this to extremes so that either the main subject or the reflection end up as very small parts of the frame. You’re including just enough to merely suggest this single abbreviated element, which creates a strong visual contrast between the two subject.
This also helps to increase the viewer’s own imagination and engagement with the image, because the “story” of the scene isn’t quite so apparent. They have to work for it as they disseminate the shot and try to figure out exactly what’s going on inside the frame.
In other cases, you’re not creating so much of a mystery, you’re simply including a very small bit of reflected material as a splash of “different” visual interest in an otherwise stragithward scene, as I’ve done here in the last few photos.
You can add even more interest when you combine this with other compositional technique like selective focus, shallow depth of field and the juxtaposition of opposing elements like warm and cool, near and far, big and small, etc…
Have fun with this technique as you’re out shooting this summer, and look for ways that you can create intriguing reflection photos that go behind the normal “perfect reflection” motif.