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Photographing the Lady of the Lake

Updated on June 22, 2015

Most of you are familiar with the legend of King Arthur and how he was given Excalibur. This, like many other legends, can be turned into a photography project.

"The Lady of the Lake, Lady of Avalon, is the title name of the ruler of Avalon in the Arthurian legend. There are several related characters in the role which include giving King Arthur his sword Excalibur, enchanting Merlin, and raising Lancelot after the death of his father. Different writers and copyists give her name variously as Nimue, Viviane, Elaine, Niniane, Nivian, Nyneve, Evienne and other variations." Wikipedia

Since this particular legend has many aspects it is worth it to concentrate on single parts of it one at a time and for this one the focus is on portraying the Lady of the Lake. The idea is pretty straightforward.

You have to photograph a lady or ladies that are in a lake, perhaps dressed in clothing that resemble that of the actual story, holding a sword similar to depictions of Excalibur. But this is not crucial, the main point is to photograph the lady on the lake.

However if you can ad props such as "Excalibur" then the project is that much better. Aim to capture images of a model who appears to be rising from the water and use an angle as if the viewer were standing and looking at her as she is rising and about to hand "King Arthur" the sword.

No other models need to be shown. It is understood that if you are photographing a lady rising from the bottom of the lake and she is dressed in Arthurian style clothing and is also holding a sword in her hands she then must be The Lady of the Lake. Let your viewers apply their imagination and fill in the rest.

You should also count on doing some digital manipulation such as adding digital backgrounds. A good technique is to use two images like a model and a lake surface and combine both images. If doing this technique, then use a polarizing filter on the lens. They eliminate reflections from most surfaces and it will make the water surface appear clearly recognizable and without any glare disrupting the shot.

This last technique is the easiest to do since you can photograph a model in a standing up pose and simply add the water later. Otherwise you really have to have a model immerse herself on a lake and capture images as she is rising. This is better done if the water used is rather shallow as she can lay under the surface for brief moments and just raise her head as she needs air.

A pool will also work as the emphasis is on the water, however make sure that if using a pool there are no visible pool markings which can frequently be found as painted pool informational warnings such as depth.

A good technique is to have a model floating on the surface, perhaps holding a sword, while you take the photos from below. Pay attention to avoid catching reflections of distracting elements that may be present as you aim your camera upwards towards the water's surface.

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© 2013 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Jamie Brock: Thank you

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 5 years ago from Texas

      I remember watching a movie when I was a little girl.. I remember there was a lady laying in a beautiful lake or maybe it was a pond.. she was pretty, her eyes were open and I believe she was holding a sword. I think the name of the movie was Excalibur but it was way back in the late 70's early 80's. Talk about a blast from the past! A sword, a beautiful lady and some water would make a beautiful photo indeed. Thank you for sharing.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      sminut13: Thank you

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Minnetonka Twin: Thank you

    • sminut13 profile image

      sminut13 5 years ago from singapore

      i especially loved the first and second pictures, thanks for sharing.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 5 years ago from Minnesota

      I too love legends and myths and your pictures to accompany this hub is icing on the cake. Thanks for a useful and fun article.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Londonlady: thank you

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      JanMaklak : thank you

    • JanMaklak profile image

      JanMaklak 5 years ago from Canada

      Great work Luis. Photoshop can be so much fun once you get the basics down. Keep up the good work

    • Londonlady profile image

      Laura Writes 5 years ago

      I think my favorite interpretation of the Lady of the Lake is the one in Arthur Rex by Thomas Berger where we find out at the end that she is in fact the Green Knight who has challenged Gawain. Great hub and very nice background on her. Voted wayy up

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Lady Guinevere: Thank you

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 5 years ago from West By God

      Oh you struck my fancy with this one. I love the legends and myths.


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