Sunday, May 1, 2011

Light and Water: Post Nine

I went hiking today and couldn't help but take this photo of water acting like a mirror and a window.

In the picture, I am standing on a wooden platform looking down into a vernal pool. Where the sun shines directly onto the water, you mostly see all leaves at the bottom, but where I block the sun, you mostly see the reflection of the trees above.

In this photo, the wooden platform creates its own a shadow (as well as a shady tree to the left), and we see the same effect.


  1. This is the same principal, in reverse, behind the one way mirror. With the sun overhead, a tremendous amount of light from the sun is transmitted through the water, and illuminates whatever is at the bottom of the lake. This also overpowers any reflections that you might otherwise see. When the sun is obscured, you see the much more feint reflection off the surface of the lake.

  2. I agree, and like your analogy with the one-way mirror.

    I think what is happening here is very similar to what is happening in my third post–it's just not me casting the shadows on the lake (it's the trees by the lake)...and we aren't seeing to the bottom of the lake.

  3. I was looking into a puddle today, noticing how I could either see through the puddle to the pavement or through the puddle to the reflection. It's so interesting how I was in control of what I was seeing, depending on the focus. It was very gestalt like, like looking at 2D projection of a 3D cube and watching it "flip". I must have looked crazy looking into the puddle by my car... cause it lasted for like 10 minutes. Wished I had had my camera and could have manually controlled the focal length to capture what I was experiencing.