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Posts Tagged ‘reflection’

I love trying to capture unusual reflections, like this cityscape of Vienna that was reflected last week in the tuba of a band that was playing in the center of the city.

Reflection of Vienna

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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What’s your first reaction when you see a snake? I was walking through the woods at my local marsh this past weekend when I spotted a snake curled up on the leaves. My first reaction was to move closer to get a shot of the snake.

The area was relatively open, but there were lots of leaves and sticks on the forest floor, so it was not really possible to get an unobstructed shot of the snake. I took a shot anyways, fearing the snake would leave, and include it as a second image here so you can see how the snake was positioned. I noticed that the snake’s head was in an uncluttered area and a clear shot seemed possible. I changed lenses from my telephoto zoom to my macro lens, set up my tripod as low as it would go, and moved really close, until the snake’s head almost filled the frame of my viewfinder. I took some shots in natural light and some with my popup flash. The snake seemed unbothered by my actions until I inadvertently moved a small branch when adjusting my position on ground and he slithered away.

When I looked at the images on my computer, I was struck by the degree to which my reflection is visible in the snake’s eye. If you click on the first photo, you’ll get a higher resolution view that shows me taking the shot (with flash this time).

I am not sure what kind of snake this is, but it looks a bit like a Northern Black Racer snake (Coluber constrictor constrictor) as described on the webpage of the Virginia Herpetological Society. I’d welcome a confirmation or correction of my identification from anyone with more experience with snakes.

snake_reflection2_blog snake_reflection3_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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In the weak early morning light, the sky and the water merged together, providing an uncluttered backdrop for this portrait of a Great Blue Heron.

I’ve taken quite a few photos of Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodias), but rarely have I encountered one as cooperative as this one was early on Monday morning. He looked to be cold and may have been trying to snooze as he huddled near the edge of the boardwalk. He let me get pretty close to him and didn’t seem to object to my presence, though he did follow me with his eyes. As a result of his tolerance, I was able to capture more detail in the heron’s feathers than I usually can manage.

After a few shots, I left him in peace to catch a few more winks.

heron_morning2_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Although I usually try to get close-up shots of dragonflies, there is something really peaceful about this longer distance shot of a male Common Whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia) from this past weekend. I really like the arc of the branch and the reflection of both the branch and the dragonfly in the still water of the marsh. If you click on the image, you’ll see that there is a pretty good amount of detail in the dragonfly—I chose not to highlight those details in this posting.

Click the photo to see a higher resolution view.

Click on the photo to see a higher resolution view.

Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I don’t usually take photos of buildings, but the unusual blue color of this roof of this building and its beautiful reflection in the water prompted me to take this shot. The building, is a boathouse, I believe, and it is located along the Potomac River, just north of Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. In addition to its colors, I really like the angled lines of the tin roof and the lines and geometric shapes in the rest of the image.

Blue_roof_Blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Last night I saw a beautiful almost-full moon as I was driving home from work, so I got up early this morning with hopes of seeing the moon setting before sunrise.

The moon was bright in the cold pre-dawn sky.  Although it was partially obscured by clouds, the moon illuminated my way along the darkened path to the boardwalk of my local marsh. There were geese sleeping in the fields just off the boardwalk and I attempted to photograph them (I’ll post a photo or two of them later). I tried photographing the moon itself, but the overcast sky prevented me from getting any details of the moon, which looks like a blob of light in all of my photos. I had somewhat greater success in taking photos of the moonlight reflecting off the water. I had my camera on a tripod for extra stability, but focusing in the dark was difficult and I couldn’t see the dials of the camera, so my settings were not always right.

Here is my favorite image that shows a pathway of reflected light from the moon. The subject that I photographed is pretty mundane, but I really like the overall atmosphere of the photo.

Moonlight

Moonlight in the marsh

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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It was a beautiful weekend and I did a lot of walking. I came across an assortment of ducks, including some Hooded Merganser ducks (Lophodytes cucullatus). Most of my photos of them were from a good distance away, so I may need to work on them before I post them. This image was in such a beautiful setting that I thought I’d post it first. (It looks better if you click on it and see it in greater resolution.) I took this photo from a little bridge looking down on the ducks, which is why the heads do not have the distinctive look associated with Hooded Merganser ducks. I’m making the call on the identification on basis of the color and markings, but would welcome a correction if I am mistaken.

Hooded Merganser ducks in a stream

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Yesterday afternoon, I took some photos of a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) in the little pond in my suburban neighborhood. He seemed amazing mellow and content to relax in the shade. Consequently, he was pretty tolerant of my presence and that of the nearby Canada Geese. Here’s a sneak preview of the shoot, an image that captures the heron with the reflections of the remaining fall foliage.

Fall reflection of a Great Blue Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It seemed like this beautiful male Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) was posing for me on the dead log, somehow knowing that this position would provide for an equally beautiful reflection.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Do you have aspirational shots, i.e. images that you really want to be able to take? This past weekend I took this shot of two ducks, a male and a female, coming in for a landing in the water, with reflections of the fall foliage in the water in the distance. This is the kind of shot I aspire to shoot, for both technical and artistic reasons. I didn’t manage to produce a great image during this first attempt this past weekend at a local suburban pond, but I gave  myself something to shoot for, a future goal. With practice and good fortune, I hope to be able to produce a better image. In the mean time, I’m happy with my initial effort at shooting synchronized duck dancing.

Duck pas de deux in the fall

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Life’s pleasures can be so simple, like watching a floating leaf on a sunny day as it is propelled across the water’s surface by a gentle breeze.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The water level in the area of the marsh where I photographed herons and egrets earlier this summer is so low that it is now just a big puddle. Therefore, I was surprised early one morning this past weekend to see a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) wading in the water. The light was not very bright, but the surface of the water had a really beautiful reflection of the orange of the fall foliage. The heron was a pretty good distance away and I was on a boardwalk, so my options were limited for framing my shots. Here are a couple of my favorite shots of the heron, surrounded by the reflection of the fall colors.

Great Blue Heron in the fall at Huntley Meadows Park

Fall reflection of a Great Blue Heron

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Reflections often look much better than the original objects that are being reflected. The water (and the objects in the water, like the rocks in this photo) can distort the “reality” and add a different tonality and texture to the reflection. As I was walking along the edge of the water, I was happy to finally find a patch of foliage with the fall colors of my childhood, but the beauty was marred by the utility poles and traffic signs of my suburban area. The reflection seems to have cleansed the image of those blemishes and shows a purer, more beautiful view, a view closer to what my heart was seeing.

Fall reflection

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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This morning I captured this photo of a bullfrog. I was able—with gyrations that would have been hilarious to a spectator—to get almost low enough to look him eye-to-eye. I was happy also to get a reflection of the frog with a considerable amount of detail. As I was reviewing the images on my computer, I noticed the bubbles under his chin (do frogs have chins?), a delightful detail that adds a sense of whimsy to the frog. Blowing bubbles is something that I always associate with being a child, and I remember how much fun it was to blow bubbles in my drink with a straw or to blow soap bubbles with one of those little wands.

Perhaps this bullfrog was blowing bubbles in the water, remembering too when he was little, presumably in a post-tadpole phase.

Bullfrog with bubble (click for higher resolution)

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I am still away from home with my point-and-shoot camera and decided to play a little with reflections. Usually I end up trying to show both the object and its reflection, which makes for an image that is centered in the frame. This, of course, violates the usual photographic best practice of not having center of attention in the center. Feeling exceptionally bold, I decided to show just the reflection and only a minimum of the scene itself in a city park. I like the effect that I achieved, although it is probably too busy. Nonetheless, I hope to experiment some more with landscapes (or cityscapes) and other subjects that draw me out of my normal focus on small objects and their details. Sometimes it is undoubtedly good to see the literal “big picture.”

Reflections of a city park

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I took this photo at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, Virginia, a marshland area that has lots of wildlife. I have managed to get lots of shots of Blue Dasher dragonflies but have had trouble getting a properly exposed image of the Common Whitetail dragonfly. The white body is usually blown out and overexposed in my images. (If you want to know some more about this type of dragonfly, check out the article in Wikipedia as a start.) This past Friday was mostly overcast and I finally got some decent photos.

I like the way this particular image turned out because of the dragonfly’s reflection in the muddy brown pond water, the little stump that pokes out of the water, and the green stalk that runs diagonally across the photo.

Male Common Whitetail dragonfly (Plathemis lydia), also known as a Long-tailed Skimmer.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As I was wandering this past weekend through the local garden where I take a lot of my photos, I came across an enchanting scene. A child-sized wrought iron table and chairs were set in the shade, with a multi-colored teapot in center of the table. In the spout of the teapot was a single red, trumpet-shaped flower.

Had a child placed the flower there earlier in the day while serving tea to real or even imaginary friends? I like to think so. For a brief moment I was transported back to the days of my youth, carefree days when summers were full of dreams and exploration.

I captured this image as a reminder of the feeling of that moment, as a reminder not to let the “serious” cares of my adult life extinguish that child-like spark of innocence, sensitivity, and creativity. It is still very much a part of me, even if it struggles to find a way to express itself.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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