Shadows and Reflections in Monochrome

I haven’t been highly motivated for posting on my blog lately. This week’s Lens Artist Challenge published by Patti got me thinking and searching files.

The first photo I found meets all three criteria. It was taken on the shore of a lake on Canada’s Manatoulin Island (Northern Lake Huron) as the sun was rising. It was a warm, calm morning so the rushes cast almost undistorted reflection on the water’s surface and the low sun cast long shadows on the lily pads. I continue to struggle with understanding what makes for good black and white photos although maybe it is just my love of color that creates my mental block to learning. When I think of monochromatic I think of all green, or blue, or purple – not black and white. I don’t dislike black and white photography and bloggers have posted some beautiful photographs in response to this challenge. In fact, I really like looking at this one so maybe that is one of the best criterion for a good black and white image.

I am always intrigued by cypress knees – these were taken in the Florida Everglades. It seems that black & white gives them an other-worldly look, especially as they are reflected on the water.

Black and white seems to do well for this structure in the Fredrick Meijer Garden in Grand Rapids, Michigan as the shadows under the roofing structures draw the eye to focusing on the architectural design.

We are currently in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and yesterday we took a stroll around the living museum that is Old Salem. Many of the building of Salem College are a part of the museum and I will be doing a post soon on this very special place. One of the things that caught my eye yesterday was the reflection on the old glass in one of the buildings. I first learned about the distorting properties of old glass when I was being rocked by my grandmother many, many years ago. Probably the glass wasn’t that old way back then.

Thanks, Patti, for inspiring me to think in black and white as I found examples of reflections and shadows.

Seeing Double

Naples Botanical Garden in Florida in 2014, just five years after it opened. Waterlilies and other water plants have since been placed in this pond so it is more difficult to get a reflection without “noise.”

What a perfect topic because our life has been consumed by double vision for almost a year. Jim’s double vision is improving very slowly with the low dose of steroids the neuro-ophthalmologist prescribed. The double vision was very disruptive to his daily living and exhausting. He is a much happier man now that more of his day is spent with seeing just one of everything and is able to keep busy with household tasks. He is once again feeling useful as he is able to do the things that bring joy to our lives and keeps things running smoothly.

His improved functioning has freed up my energy for thinking about photography and I have a lot of photos taken in Florida that capture this idea of double vision. I have gone to the Naples Botanical Garden at least once a week during the winter season for the past 13 years and their water lily collection has grown impressively through their hosting of the new water lily competition each summer. I go early in the morning, usually before a breeze is rippling the water in the ponds and this provides me with wonderful doubles.

After the fact, as I meander through my files of photographs, I find that I always stop to study my favorite reflection photos. The photo above on the right isn’t the most beautiful capture, but it sure intrigues me. There is a breeze rippling the water and you can see the reflections on green pedals that were covering the bud. Is that not a reflection of a reflection?

I especially enjoy when photos of reflections make me a bit disoriented. My favorites were obtained in trips into the Everglades of Florida. In the Bald Cypress stands along the Loop Road in January and February the water scenes are quite monochromatic.

Early spring reflections in the Everglades elicit very different emotion within me.

When I was post-processing the following photo I couldn’t decide the best orientation. What do you think?

Thanks to Jez for this fun topic of “Seeing Double”.

Water Lily Reflection

This is one of my favorite water lilies at the Naples Botanical Garden – so it gets photographed often. I had a hard time deciding if the lily or its reflection was prettier, so I cropped so both are featured.

What a fun way to join Cee’s close-up photography challenge this week.

Weird & Wonderful

I enjoy reflections in water, especially when captured with my camera. They seldom turn out the way I hoped they would, but the surprise I get after playing around with post processing a little is frequently a little weird and almost always wonderful. When I saw Anne-Christine chose “Weird and Wonderful” for this week’s Lens-Artist Challenge, I immediately went looking for photos with reflections.

Frequently reflections leave me a little disoriented, in a very pleasant way, like the first two photos.

There are other times when the reflection of the primary subject of the photograph is clear and pretty, but reflection around the subject add interest, drawing my eye around the photo. The reflections excite my senses and stimulate my curiosity. The reflections in the next photo both excite me and sooth me.

I have also spent a lot of time looking at both the photo above and below, although the one below leaves me unsettled. I find it interesting but just a bit too weird, maybe.

The last two photos come from the Florida Everglades where so much of the landscape seems weird in a wild sort of way and the reflections in the still pools of water make it seem even more wild, like the reflections of these cypress knees that find so fascinating and wonderful.

Sometimes reflections can camouflage the dangerous, weird (as in unfamiliar), and wonderful creatures of the Everglades.