Nikon Learn & Explore

One Shot: See a Puddle, Make a Picture...or Two

Nice going—to start out with a puddle and end up with eye-catching photos.

Of course, Randy Ziegler had the great benefit of the puddle's reflection of the building across the street, specifically its pattern of windows and the corner abutment that caught the afternoon sunlight.

It was, he recalls, "one of those walkabout days when I look for pictures and hope to capture some special moments." He was in Mineral Wells, Texas, and he came around a corner and noticed nearby the puddle of water and its reflection of the Baker Hotel, a long-closed, once-famous destination that's on the National Register of Historic Places.

"The whimsical nature of the breeze was shifting the form of the image," he says. "The windows would change as the breeze came up stronger or lighter. That's what intrigued me, and I took a series of images that were my starting point."

"Starting point" because although he didn't know exactly what he wanted, he knew it was something more than he was getting.

He could have changed his physical position on the sidewalk, or zoomed his lens in or out, or crouched down, or held his camera high above his head. But he did none of those; he simply waited.

"I got some cars coming by, so there were streaks of color—that was good, and I tried some slower shutter speeds. Then I saw a bicyclist coming."

It was a slim chance that the cyclist would ride into the exact spot Randy needed him to be. Still, Randy was ready with five-frame-per-second advance set on his camera as the cyclist, pedaling leisurely along, did just that. "I got three shots of him, and the second one in the sequence was ideal."

Randy's been exploring the visual possibilities of reflections in a series of photos that include reflections in water, in windows and in the shiny metal of automobiles. "But this was such a quick moment that I didn't think of it as part of that project as I was taking the picture. Later I realized it fit in."

It also fit in with his method of always looking for another visual possibility in a scene, of trying to capture an image beyond what's offered initially. "That possibility may be just a moment away," he says, "and when I know a picture needs more, I have the patience to wait. The circumstances here took maybe 10 or 15 minutes."

Which is more time than most people would spend with a puddle.

The specs for the building reflection alone: D810, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR at 175mm, 1/80 second, f/11, ISO 640, aperture priority, Matrix metering. For the bike: D810, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR at 155mm, 1/125 second, f/8, ISO 400, aperture priority, Matrix metering.