Want to learn how to capture the interplay of light and water in your photos? These six photographers share their favorite tricks for shooting reflections in stunning landscapes.
Landscape photographers have long shared a love affair with natural reflections. Think of Ansel Adams and his fascination with Yosemite’s looming Half Dome, often seen reflected in the still waters of the Merced River. Carlton Watkins photographed that same recognizable scene as well, though he did so in a different light. And like Adams before him, Brett Weston carried the torch by photographing the puffy white clouds that form over the smooth black surface of Mono Lake.
Today, reflections are as popular as ever. This year, we highlighted landscape reflections as one of the top trends on Shutterstock’s Instagram feed. There are currently almost 20 million images tagged #reflection on Instagram; similar hashtags include #reflectiongram, #reflection_shotz, #splendid_reflections, #reflection_perfection, and even #puddlegram. We asked six outstanding landscape photographers to tell us about incorporating reflections into their pictures. Below, they take us on a journey to some of the most stunning places on the planet, and they also share their best tips for using this particular trend to your advantage.
1. “The key to great reflection shots is the weather, mainly the wind!”
Image by Daniel Kay. Gear: Nikon D7100 camera, Nikkor AF-S DX 18-105mm. lens. Settings: Focal length 105mm; exposure 1/60 sec; f8; ISO 100.
What’s the story behind this photo?
This photograph is from Autumn 2016; I took it at the River Brathay in the Lake District National Park. I had a bit of a disappointing sunrise in a different location and decided to have a small walk in this area. On arrival, I was astonished by conditions I hadn’t really witnessed before: a stunning hoar frost, mist rising from the river, and lovely autumnal colors on a Great Oak tree.
The key to great reflection shots is the weather, mainly the wind! Ideally, you want the wind/gusts to be as low as possible. Anything below 3 mph wind speed and 5 mph gust speed should give you those mirror-like conditions, but the lower the better. There are various forecasters that will give you an indication on the wind speed; the hard part is finding a source that is consistently reliable. My current favorite app is called Weather Pro by MeteoGroup. You do have to pay for their premium service, but it’s only a small charge. Also, when different sources all seem to agree on similar forecasts, there’s a stronger chance of that forecast actually happening.