So what's the deal with reflections? At home they pretty much rule our lives; in nature they attract us like magnets. On one level we all understand that reflections are the primary medium for our own relationship with our physical self. They're the closest we come to seeing ourselves as the rest of the world does (albeit completely and ironically reversed). Each morning a reflection guides and verifies our worthiness to face the world, and as we navigate the day, periodic encounters with reflective surfaces allow us to blatantly or surreptitiously validate or adjust the way others see us ("Gee, safron is sure a nice color on me," or "Yikes, has that spinach been there since lunch?").
But when we're in nature, the insignificance of reflection-reinforced vanity is underscored by the boundless majesty surrounding us. Here reflections are not about us; in fact they often dwarf our presence, actually doubling the beauty and furthering the comprehension of our own insignificance. Reflections also convey the tranquility we long for in our frenetic city routine--it's just hard to be stressed in the presence of a snowy peak reflected in a mountain lake or fall leaves glistening in a meandering river.
A mirror reflection like the one in this Mono Lake scene requires an absolute and rare stillness. When both air and water are this quiet I feel the urge to pantomime or whisper any communication, and notice others doing the same. What's particularly unique about this scene is that it happened at sunset. Mono Lake is often still at sunrise, but rarely is it like this at sunset. Because this South Tufa perspective faces east, sunrise reflections include the brightest part of the sky, requiring the tufa to be rendered in silhouette. But when the reflection happens at sunset, the brightest sky as at my back and I can expose for the tufa's detail without sacrificing the color in the sky, a real treat.
I tried many compositions that evening and finished with several others I like a lot. But I decided to feature this one first for its simplicity. Sometimes a scene's beauty is so basic that imposing a conscious composition cheats it of the simplicity that makes it special. So I broke the "rules" here, putting nothing in the foreground and centering both the horizon and subject. To my eye this composition provides a balance that best conveyed the moment's utter tranquility.
* Website: Eloquent Images
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