Buddha Reflection_Saiging Hill_Myanmar

 

Hasselblad 503CW camera and Hasselblad 150mm f4 Sonnar Lens with Kodak Portra 160VC film Hasselblad 503CW camera and Hasselblad 150mm Sonnar f4 Lens with Kodak Portra 160VC film

Despite their relative expense and technological sophistication cameras remain relatively dumb tools that need to be mastered and given direction by the user.

Photographing reflections provides an interesting problem. Cameras do not recognise subject: they have no idea as to whether you are photographing a baby, a bahmitzfa or a birthday cake. As the camera has no concept of water or mountain, how could it possibly know what area of the scene should be focused upon. In the case of a reflection an auto-focus camera will usually focus on the surface of the mirror-like subject (water, glass, etc). More than likely this will emphasize surface scum, smears and the like and render the actual reflection, which occurs underneath the surface of the water or mirror, somewhat soft.

The solution is to manually focus on the reflection itself and use Depth of Field (DOF) to control the relative sharpness of surrounding areas.

The above image was made inside a temple on Saiging Hill, not far from Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma). Critically focusing on the reflection of the Buddha statue allowed me to place emphasize on it and use the surrounding mirror work to provide a kind of layered appearance, thereby emphasizing the illusion of three dimensional space.

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Glenn Guy, Blue Sky Photography
Glenn Guy