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-   -   New Challenge -- August 27th to September 9th (

calr Aug 27, 2008 12:07 PM

We have had a couple challenges on reflections in the past and the participation was very good. Several people have recently asked for a reflections challenge. However, this challenge is in response to a photo posted recently by NotDadsW41 showing a tree reflected in a birdbath.

We have had two challenges on depth of field in recent weeks and this challenge ties in with both of those.

This challange has two parts:

Part 1 -- You are to go out (or stay in, as the case may be!) and shoot reflected images that are sharp. Consequently, the reflecting medium should be flat glass, mirror, polished metal or stone, or water that is perfectly smooth (e.g. no ripples) The idea is that the reflecting medium should yield a sharp undistorted image of your subject.

Part 2 -- Part 1 makes it sound easy. However this part makes it a bit more difficult and hopefully more aesthetically pleasing. Watch your depth of field. You can go for maximum DOF where the reflected image as well as the reflecting medium are in sharp focus. On the other hand you can go for a shallow DOF where only the reflected image is sharp. The idea is everything in focus or just the subject, nothing in between.

If the reflecting medium is colored such as polished marble or polished, painted metal, that's OK as long as the reflected image is clear and undistorted.

Please put Reflections with Depth in your subject line.

As usual I encourage everyone to reread the forum guidelines, especially the section on image size. I have noticed over the past several weeks, that posted images are getting larger. Large (wide) images create a problem with the forum software. With a wide image, it is not only necessary to scroll horizontally to see the entire image, but it is also necessary to scroll horizontally to read all the replies to the posting. Let's try to limit the image width to 700-800 pixels.

Thanks and enjoy yourselves.


(addendum) There was some confusion when NotDadsW41 posted his shot, concerning distance to the subject. I would just like to make sure everyone is on the same page. When the camera produces a depth of field, it is the optical distance to the subject that is important. That is the distance light travels from the subject to the camera. For example, let's say you are photographing the reflection of a tree in a mirror. The mirror is five feet away and the tree is 200 yards away. The optical distance is 200 yards plus 5 ft. The DOF will be determined by a combination of that distance and the aperture setting used. The distance to the mirror is not a factor. However, if you stop down the lens to its smallest aperture, theoretically you should get both the tree and the mirror in focus. I hope this helps.

calr Aug 27, 2008 12:23 PM

A note to our anxious members, I tried to post this last evening (Tues) but I could not get access. The forum website would not come up. I reloaded my browser (Firefox) and could get into other websites just fine. I was using Linux at the time but that was not the problem. I have Firefox installed in both Linux and Windows XP so that I can access the web regardless of which OS I have loaded. I'm in Windows righ now.


nhmom Aug 27, 2008 8:23 PM

calr wrote:

You can go for maximum DOF where the reflected image as well as the reflecting medium are in sharp focus.
Maybe it's just cause I'm not feeling well, but I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean here. By "reflected image" do you mean the subject we are reflecting. Because I would think the reflected image and the reflecting medium would both have to be in focus.


calr Aug 27, 2008 8:39 PM

Look at it this way. When you look at the object being reflected, it is as if you were looking through the reflecting medium to see the object. The reflecting medium is "transparent". You know it's there but the camera doesn't. The camera "sees" the reflected image the same as if it were viewing the object directly.

Play around with this. It is a difficult concept to grasp. Leave your camera in auto or program mode and select manual focus. Focus on the reflecting medium. Is the reflected image still sharp? It shouldn't be. Now, focus on the object. Is the reflecting medium sharp? It shouldn't be.

The reflected image doesn't exist at the reflecting medium. It exists in the camera or in your eyes. The light rays coming from the object are bouncing off the mirror or glass and entering your eyes.

I hope this helps. If not, I need help!

Think about this. If you are shooting a DSLR, when you look through the viewfinder, the image you see is being reflected first off a mirror and then three or four times from the surfaces of a special prism. However, you can't see the reflecting media inside the camera--only the image.


NotDadsW41 Aug 27, 2008 11:01 PM

I feel so special...

I'm kind of choked up here...
I have inspired a challenge! :D

I better get out and take some pictures now!


calr Sep 3, 2008 6:37 PM

From the photos I've seen posted during the first week of this challenge, I am thinking that people don't understand what they are being asked to do. There have been a lot of objects photographed on mirrors or water subjects where the reflection is immediately beneath the subject.

I think you are restricting yourselves too much. The idea was to photograph distant (that's a relative term here) objects reflected from the side of a marble building or by a large window. The idea was further to try to have that reflection in focus at the same time that the building or window is in focus. So far, I have seen only one photo posted that meets that criteria.

I is not necessary for the subject to be resting on or in direct contact with the reflecting media.

Thanks for participating.


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