Reflections in Life . . .

“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.” ~ Thomas Merton

Most photographers, including me, purposefully go in search of reflection and refractions of light. Using reflection is a popular and extremely powerful photography technique, it makes the ordinary scene appear magical. I love how reflections add depth, contrast, symmetry, and light to a photo. They can also distort and change visual perceptions to make the photograph more interesting, more thought-provoking. Reflections can make you wonder what is real and what is actually being reflected (see the example links I provided at the end of this post). Photographs with reflection are sometimes abstract, almost always richer, and can be very artistic creations.

In life, reflection takes on many forms. It’s as simple as an image reflected off a mirror, glass or water. It is a geometric transformation that can be explained with mathematics. In physics, reflection of light, sound and water waves is a common scientific wave phenomenon. It is also the very personal process of introspection.

“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.”
~ Leonardo da Vinci

Great power can be found in all types of reflections. Reflections allow us to the see the world from different angles, different eyes, and different perspectives. Reflections bend and twist light and thoughts. They can trick our eyes and lead us down false paths or enlighten us to things that were hidden from sight. What we see in our personal reflections has the power to change us. What we reflect back to people has the power to change them, too.

“It is not so much the example of others we imitate as the reflection of ourselves in their eyes and the echo of ourselves in their words.” ~ Eric Hoffer

(Do you see eight geese flying or sixteen?)

Photographic reflections are best in the calm and quiet waters of morning or evening. Clear reflections of images in mirrors or in or through glass also require light at just the right angle and strength. The same is true for our inner personal reflections. To contemplate ideas and examine our thoughts, we must slow down to find the calm waters within and a light of wisdom to see what we need to see. Growth comes when we take the time to examine the reflections (of all kinds) in life.

“No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.” ~ Taoist proverb

Links to beautiful reflective photography:
44 Impressive Examples of Reflection Photography
50 examples of reflective photography


~ by bearyweather on August 6, 2011.

18 Responses to “Reflections in Life . . .”

  1. Absolutely beautiful post. I have always loved the concept of reflection, and you link it powerfully to our visual perception. Really lovely – thanks.

    • Thanks.
      I enjoy looking for reflections when I go out with my camera … they can not always be found. They were especially nice the evening I went out and took these.

  2. Beautiful post, Bearyweather. Calming and soothing. Thank you. 🙂

    • I am glad I could contribute to some calming and soothing. Sometimes reflections are the opposite … more of a puzzle. I like the puzzle ones, but mine tend to be more of the relaxing variety … because of my subject matter I guess.

  3. Your photos and thoughts are so beautiful, Bearyweather. Spent some time down at a pond taking reflective pictures this morning, but you have added the insightful words to the experience. Thank you. I especially like the first quote about letting others be perfectly themselves. That can be so challenging. Even after 32 years of marriage, I have not perfected this…

    • I am patiently waiting to see your reflection pictures. I agree, allowing others to be perfectly themselves is hard sometimes … especially if you care about them and see them doing things leading them to future problems.
      thanks for commenting during your silent month 🙂

      • Bearyweather, I posted a couple of them the other day–it is the blog “Pause quietly on this blog and breathe deeply.” Before the words started asserting themselves again!

        • I am sorry I missed that one, I will go back and look … I love reflections.
          My health has made it hard for me to keep up with blogging (and everything else) very well lately.

  4. I love these photographs. It is so much fun taking water reflection photos. “To contemplate ideas and examine our thoughts, we must slow down to find the calm waters within and a light of wisdom to see what we need to see. Growth comes when we take the time to examine the reflections (of all kinds) in life.” -most beautifully and truthfully stated.

  5. Beautiful reflections in photos and in words!

  6. Hi Bearyweather, Great post! I love the waterfowl and deer in your pictures! I enjoy seeing reflections in photographs, too. Have a super nice evening and a joyous day tomorrow!

    • That deer was a surprise, I rarely see them around the lake especially when I am standing there. But, she was being very cautious … she was on the opposite side of the lake and did not stay long. It was one of those times I wished my zoom had more zoom.

  7. I am sorry you are not feeling well, bearyweather. Hopefully you will be better soon. Just thinking about you & the school year starting up in a few weeks. Was hoping you were enjoying the last weeks of a carefree summer. Sorry that’s not the case…

  8. What a great theme- I hope you feel better soon!

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