There are classic images of mountains reflected in water that most landscape photographers hope to photograph during their careers – the Tetons reflected in the beaver ponds at Schwabacker’s Landing and Mount Moran reflected in Oxbow Bend in Grand Teton National Park; Maroon Bells reflected in Maroon Lake near Aspen CO; Mount Shuksan reflected in Picture Lake in Mount Baker Wilderness/North Cascades National Park; Mount Rainier reflected in Reflection Lake in Mount Rainier National Park; and Sundance Mountain, Mount Chaplin, and Mount Chiquita reflected in the Sheep Lakes at Rocky Mountain National Park. Alternative perspectives to the iconic images abound in the many lakes and streams that typically surround these areas. One only needs to get away from the parking lot, hike a bit, and look for these grand images.
A certain serenity and peace comes from such images and I’m constantly looking for pools of calm water for potential reflections. They don’t need to be “grand” reflections to be effective images. I captured several during a recent trip to Zion National Park in Utah and Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. There had been a decent amount of rain in the week previous to our arrival and I hoped for some water filled pockets in the Many Pools area on the Zion Plateau. Although we saw evidence of recent flooding, the pools weren’t as “many” as anticipated. One in particular, however, with a very low tripod and wide-angle lens provided the imagined image.
I visited Valley of Fire in February 2016, and noticed a few areas I thought might provide decent reflections given the right conditions. During that visit, this particular watercourse was dry, but again, I hoped for pools and ripples in the surrounding mud due to the recent rains.
In both cases, the key was a very low tripod to realize the reflections and a wide angle lens to capture the surrounding terrain and interesting skies.