Buddha Reflections On Saiging Hill, Myanmar

Reflections of a beautiful Buddha statue on Saiging Hill, Myanmar.

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

Cameras Do Not Recognize Subject

Photographing reflections provides an interesting problem. Cameras do not recognize subject. They have no idea as to whether you are photographing a baby, a bar mitzvah or a birthday cake. As the camera has no concept of water or mountain, how could it possible 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 (e.g., water, glass) on which the reflection seems to appear. More than likely this will emphasize surface scum, smears and the like and render the actual reflection, which occurs slightly underneath the surface of the water or mirror, somewhat soft.

How To Focus On A Reflection

The solution is to either manually focus on the reflection itself or to move your camera’s auto focus point so that it focuses more critically on the reflection in question. You can also employ Depth Of Field (i.e., 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 draw attention to it and use the surrounding mirror work to provide a kind of layered appearance, thereby emphasizing the illusion of three dimensional space.

The Beauty Of Medium Format Film Photography

It’s a very old film based image which I made, way back in December 1999, with a Hasselblad 503CWi camera and a Hasselblad 150 mm f/4 Sonnar lens with Kodak Portrait 160VC (i.e., vivid color) film.

I’m very much committed to digital photography but, as I have such a large archive of film based images, it’s great to bring a few of them back to life and share them with you here.

Photograph So You Won’t Forget

On a personal note, every time I post a photo from days gone by, memories come back and are refreshed in my mind. I’ve had the good fortune to carve out a rich and interesting life. Many moments from my years of travel are preserved through my images. But those photos also allow me to remember the people, experiences and adventures that are associated with my travels.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru