Monday, 9 January 2017

Allan Wright - Using Reflection

Fairly recently I have become more aware of the subtle power that the element of “reflection” can contribute to the success of an image. For the longest time I confess I maintained a rather dismissive approach which regarded the use of conventional reflection as a bit of a cliché. Not necessarily creative in itself just a reliable feature of physics and nothing to get overly excited about. Learning to be more open to possibilities is I believe part of the journey to upping one’s game in photography.

Scallop Dredger homeward bound River Dee, Kirkcudbright.

As the boat turned I noticed how the soft curves of its wake picked up and gave a curious little swirl to the reflection of a nice lumpy big white cloud. I find it interesting because it is the secondary element in what is otherwise a simply pleasant description. To me there is a lingering fascination in the serendipity of the shapes, you can look at either aspect as your inclination takes you.

The riverside path from Palnackie at dusk.

It was fine for an evening stroll although heading seawards the light was not looking very productive. A call of nature meant I was looking back towards what seemed to be a rather reluctant sunset, however after a minute or two observing it as it matured, the colour intensified and I saw how the characteristic shape of the estuarine phase of the river was responding to the reflection on the water. These happy combinations are not easy to control or predict, open eyes and an open mind in photography is worth cultivating.

Portling, low tide rockpool.

The Solway Firth offers unlimited scope for shoreline detail in all kinds of light quality. Deconstructing this image we note the eye predominantly drawn to the starburst reflection on the water surface (no filter used). From there we might then scan around enjoying the graphic shapes and textures. Underlying how these elements work however is a less conscious awareness of the sky’s reflection, we cannot see the sky but we accept its presence, thus all is well with the world.

Carlingwark Loch, early dog walk.

The components are all in place, i.e soft warm light and a touch of moisture giving a misty feel. Add to that human/canine interaction and we have a picture. If you cut out the lower half, the image still works still but we lose the holistic symmetry that the tree reflections provide. In fact the reflection has much more content to savour that its source, above, offers.

Southerness Lighthouse.

This iconic structure gets plenty of photographic attention through any given season. On a recent visit I become motivated at the shoreline response to the cool haar-like mist that was lingering in the late afternoon. Although engaging this mist was not in itself sufficient inspiration to get busy. Knowing there some handy rockpools at its base I sought opportunity to use reflection for that extra little dimension. Note how an awareness of the lighthouse reflection arrives only as a subsequent aspect to viewing the image.

Allan Wright

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