by Brad Herndon
Every morning I get up, go to the bathroom, look in the mirror, and say, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall who is the second fairest of them all?” I’m lying. Actually, I look in the mirror and say, “What happened?”
Yes, while mirror images are interesting, sometimes they can be less than flattering, especially in instances where the viewer is of “geezer age”. Which brings me to this week’s subject in our creative photography series, mirror images.
Last week I discussed the rule of thirds and how important it is in creating meaningful pictures. Well, there are times when this rule can be broken. I previously mentioned a circle as being one possibility, which I will discuss next week. For today, however, I want to discuss capturing mirror images, an image usually associated with a calm lake. In mirror image landscapes the bottom of the subject line goes in the middle of the picture, not in the rule of thirds, and as you will see, the results are awesome.
Perhaps the most well known mirror images are of the Grand Teton Mountains in Wyoming. The Tetons are strikingly beautiful, but where the images are taken may surprise you. Just north of Jackson Hole a little noticed gravel road takes off the main highway and travels a short distance to a parking area, which is Swabaucher Landing. At this point a small stream has a beaver dam backing the water up for a distance. It doesn’t really look like much—until you are there at first light in the morning.
Then this little pool literally jumps to life because the glory of the Grand Tetons is reflected into the waters of this small, seemingly insignificant reflecting pool. I have attached an image Carol and I captured there several years ago. We didn’t know about the little pool until another photographer gladly shared the location with us.
When looking for mirror images, just about any pool of water can produce them, from potholes, to small ponds, to large lakes. The calmer the water is the better the quality of the reflected image. A little ripple on the water will still work though. Mirror images can be of the surrounding terrain, birds, people boating, fly fishermen, and there are many more opportunities if you watch closely for them. Capture all of them you can, for people truly enjoy seeing a double dose of beauty working together.
If you are photographing birds or animals of the exact same type, watch for a mirror image occurring when you focus on the front bird or animal and the one behind it is blurred out like in a reflection. These pictures are true eye catchers, and people marvel at them because of their uniqueness. I have a few wild turkey pictures of this type, and one is shown with this story.
You can do the same thing if you are photographing a set of twins and dress them exactly the same. You do have some control over this situation so you can produce this type of mirror image easier than you can the ones of birds or animals. If you like to photograph kids, a picture of this type will really impress parents.
God is truly a majestic God. His glory is in evidence all around us in His creation, and we photographers work hard at capturing His handiwork. But there is much more to God than the created world. What I am talking about is His character. His character, in fact, is perfect, and astonishingly, He wants us to also be perfect.
In Matthew 5:48, the Bible tells us, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Just think, God wants His light to shine on us and for our lives to be a mirror image of His character. Isn’t that just absolutely incredible? Along about now you’re probably thinking, “But I can’t be perfect.” No, you can’t, and neither can I or anyone else. But with God helping us with His Holy Spirit, we can be much better.
Let’s go back to the mirror images in our pictures. The best ones are when the water is calm. Even then, though, the reflections don’t look quite as good as what the light was reflected from. If the water is rippling there is even more deterioration in the image, but it’s still a thing of beauty.
These pictures are kind of like our lives. We can’t be perfect like God, and if our life is troubled (full of ripples) for sure we won’t come close to reflecting his perfect love. Despite these shortcomings, when people see us working closely together with God, showing love, kindness, joy, generosity, patience, forgiveness, and all of His other wonderful attributes, they will see the most amazing mirror image of all. And, perhaps, the light reflected from God to us will be the means by which someone will be saved.
Until next week, let’s all strive to capture those amazing mirror images, both in our photography, and in our Christian lives.
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16