Through the Lens: Reflections

Painted turtle at Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge, MN
Credit: Gabby Salazar

Have you ever looked at your reflection in a pool of water? Reflections are fun to photograph because of the way they both mirror and change the way objects look.

You may have noticed how your reflection in a pool of water changes if it is windy or if there are ripples in the water. The next time you visit a large lake, river, or another body of water at a national wildlife refuge, bring along your camera and experiment!

Tips for Photographing Reflections:

  • For clear reflections visit the body of water on a day with no wind so that the water is still. On the other hand, I like it better when there is a little wind so that the reflections change each time the wind moves the water.
  • Try tossing a small pebble into the water to create ripples and other patterns in your image.
  • Take pictures of flowers or leaves reflected in the water – they may be crisp and clear over a still lake or blend together in a moving river. Try taking a landscape image including the reflections or focus just on the reflection to create an abstract picture.

Take a picture of a bird, animal, plant, or person in or on the water and include the reflection to create a mirror-image as in this picture of a turtle. Flip the image upside down to fool the viewer — if the water is still enough you may not be able to tell the difference between the real object and its reflection.

Gabby Salazar is founder and editor of the online magazine Nature's Best Photography Students, where young people submit photos for contests and online publication, blog with each other about nature photography and view student photo galleries.

Read all of Gabby Salazar's columns — especially written for kids  — and learn more about photography on refuges.


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