The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Reflections can give you some of the most interesting and creative photos. Many times the subject at hand may not be something that I find particularly interesting. But rather than dealing with the subject as a whole – I look for parts, pieces, and bits that I do find interesting. One of the most universal parts to find and do a lot with is a reflection. Many surfaces have a reflection.

Just recently I added a couple hanging yard ornaments to the backyard. They look fun and colorful. One is black metal, thick wire twisted in a spiral with colored marbles enclosed in a tiny wire spirals hanging from it like water drops. The piece as a whole is an interesting object for me. I like taking photos of the entire piece. BUT – when you get up close – macro close – you can see reflections in the glass marbles.

I have another similar piece, but it is not a spiral, hanging from a large metal flower sculpture. This one has a cluster of green glass marbles that give a wonderful reflection of the butterfly bush behind it.

Last year when I was looking through my photos for something to fit a category of the Georgia National Fair Photography Contest – I happened up on a photo I took in my dining room. On one side of my table I have an old church pew for seating. My camera is usually on the table or somewhere close at hand. One day I happened to look up at the light fixture above the table and notice the reflection in the brass of the entire table top (and all that was all over it!). Thus, the photo "The Dining Room Table is a Mess" was born. It was good enough for the contest to get me a fifth place. I ended up converting this one to black and white. I did not want to colors in the photo to be the subject – I wanted the reflection to be what everyone noticed first. Taking the color out made sure that the interest would be in the reflection.

People like reflections – they are like those goofy carnival mirrors that distort what we see. You can tell by the interest that has developed in garden art and the reflection globes becoming popular again. Ponds and water features bring reflections into the garden. There are a lot of great photos out there using water as a reflection tool. A window looking over a garden is a great reflection subject.

If you are stuck in the house and want to try your hand at reflection experiments – look in your kitchen. There are too many shiny objects to mention them all. One of the simplest is to think of a spoon. Using either side of the spoon can give interesting effects. We have a couple pieces of NambĂ© metalware. These are super shiny – like mirrors and very fun to work with. What you use for a reflection does not have to be metallic – just shiny. On my stove I have a red tea kettle that is very reflective.

A couple days ago a friend asked me to go along to a mini car show. I am not super interested in cars. But – the reflections afforded me at a car show was something I could not pass up. Most of the cars there were not that old – and not that loaded with chrome. There were two that were wonderful; both Auburns, one vanilla colored and the other black. I, of course, liked the black one much better – the car color was perfect for reflections – the vanilla color was not. But both had beautiful hood ornaments – in chrome. Also they had spectacular hub caps and lights that were like mirrors.

The biggest issue was that it was the prime time of day for sunlight – just after lunch. I have a couple hood ornament shots that are not bad. I still don't know if I plan to show them to anyone. I got a great one of the front end of the black Auburn. Using the Lensbaby, I got a great blur on one side and crisp sharpness on the other. I spent some time trying to get a decent "self-portrait" in a reflection – without looking too much like an Oompa Loompa – sometimes that distortion can really make you look super large in places you would rather not!

Check back a little later to this blog – I will get my web guru to post some photos. Some of my regular readers may know that I have not perfected my posting of the photos with the words. I have done so a couple times and not been happy with the results. Usually I will write the blog and then email the photos to someone who knows a lot more about this than I do. Until I get it figured out – that is how it is done – so the photos may not appear for a day or two.

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