landscape photos of a reflecting sky

Waikiki Sky Mirror

View of Waikiki hotels on a bright sunny day, like most days, with the reflecting sky below
View of Waikiki hotels on a bright sunny day, like most days, with the reflecting sky below | Source

Landscape Photos can Look Up to the Sky for Ideas

Landscape photos are the backbone of every vacation portfolio. Pictures by the pool, on the beach, in the forest, on the road. They are usually taken on sunny days; your family in the back yard or on vacation. The universal truth of these moments return when you view them, the great day that was and how lovely the weather was. You feel better under a beautiful sky. What if you could capture that sky as a subject all by itself? Ever wonder how the world would look if the sky became the ground? We only see this in nature over water, when the reflection of the sky on the ocean gives it color, from turquoise to green to angry grey. Tropical skies or storm clouds can be extremely dramatic and, of course, sunsets over water create opportunities for the ultimate travel photo. Now, with the latest magic from digital cameras, you can use the reflecting sky in any landscape and create some dramatic and unusual images as the ground disappears; replaced by the glorious sky above.

Use the Reflecting Sky to your Advantage

Using the reflecting sky can turn ho-hum landscape photos into something remarkable. The sky is always brighter than the earth (except over water where the reflection is a natural phenomenon). Landscape photos of water and sky are classic subjects for photographers, requiring little more than patience and an eye for composition. Nature does the rest.

However, adding a little technology into the mix ramps up the opportunities to display nature in a new light of the reflecting sky. How many times have you seen a great cloudy sky but happen to be travelling in a soul-erasing mini-mall car park? Most of our daily life (unless you are extremely lucky) occurs in dreary, mundane settings. Now, with your mirror setting on your digital camera, you can elevate the lens to the sky and capture the moment in glorious reflection.

Hotels in the Clouds

Another sky mirror of Waikiki hotels floating in Blue clouds, reflecting sky above and below
Another sky mirror of Waikiki hotels floating in Blue clouds, reflecting sky above and below | Source

Bare Tree Branches Spread across the Sky

Here are bare tree branches spreading out in reflecting mirrored glory.
Here are bare tree branches spreading out in reflecting mirrored glory. | Source

Example of a Sunset Reflecting

Of course, this concept is difficult to imagine without a before and after example so here is a typical Waikiki Sunset from my personal collection to illustrate and contrast the natural vs. the digitally-enhanced reflecting sky on display all around us, all the time. You can see the dull ocean below the setting sun, but why not remove it altogether? You can move your camera up to capture more sky and less water, but if you want to keep the horizon in the center of the photo, why not take the best from above and mirror it below? Now that is a perfect reflection of a setting sun on a glassy, calm "water". Not real life, of course. But a reflecting sky effect can be fun.

Typical Waikiki Sunset

A typical Waikiki sunset, but the water is dark and dull...
A typical Waikiki sunset, but the water is dark and dull... | Source

Waikiki sunset with reflecting sky

A reflecting sky Waikiki Sunset picture, taking the best from above and mirror it below, and removing the dull ocean...
A reflecting sky Waikiki Sunset picture, taking the best from above and mirror it below, and removing the dull ocean... | Source

Going beyond the Reflecting Sky

Of course, the mirror effect can be used anywhere, not just on the sky above. Here are a few examples of everyday objects around my house that I reflected just for the fun of it.

A Fractal Evergreen Bush

A small evergreen bush becomes a complex nature-spawned fractal geometric puzzle
A small evergreen bush becomes a complex nature-spawned fractal geometric puzzle | Source

Floating Light-delabra

A hanging chandelier becomes a floating light display, a bit surreal but hey, a fun image.
A hanging chandelier becomes a floating light display, a bit surreal but hey, a fun image. | Source

Now Hear an Expert on Landscape Photography set up a photo

Paris is a great place to Reflect on your life and the sky all around youl

A markertour eiffel -
Eiffel Tower, Champ de Mars, 5 Avenue Anatole France, 75007 Paris, France
[get directions]

take a picture here...

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Comments 2 comments

Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 2 years ago from Essex, UK

Craig; I love this idea! As your examples show, the technique of reflecting / mirroring a sky or some other abstract design can create an ethereal, fantasy vision which can, with the right selection of images to reflect, be quite beautiful. I particularly like the photo from Waikiki, and the picture of the bare branched trees.

But do all modern SLR digital cameras have this mirror setting facility, and does it have an alternative description? I have a Canon EOS 40D, and I cannot find any reference to this function in the guide. If not, it is almost worth while for a creative photographic artist to invest in a camera with this function simply to be able to produce this magical effect. Voted up. Alun.


MarketBOB profile image

MarketBOB 2 years ago from Canada Author

Thanks. I'm having fun with my new camera, it is an Olympus and I figured most cameras have this feature but not sure about your Canon. You can also do the effect after the fact with software photo programs but it's not the same as seeing it "live" and shaping the effect through the lens. It was just an extra I found as I scrolled through all the effects and tried them out. Once I found it, I was hooked.

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