When both the virtual image and the subject are both at infinity then this focusing issue need be of no concern. Some old storage sheds on a fjord in Norway – made an interesting composition of colour at play on the water even though the sheds and their surroundings weren’t all that interesting.
In The Shadows
When working with reflections you will not only have to pay attention to the depth-of-field required, but to shutter speed as well. Not all reflections may be static, even if the subject producing the reflection is. In the case of Image 4, the water was in motion although the sheds weren’t. This required a fast shutter speed to render the texture of the water sharp and free from motion blur.
If a large lens aperture is required for a shallow depth-of-field and a slower shutter speed is required than that aperture will allow, I often use neutral density (ND) filtration. I prefer this approach to altering the ISO setting because I always like to shoot at the camera’s native ISO setting.
On occasions, using a shadow and transmitted light together can be an effective way of gaining a viewer’s interest. In Image 5 a highlight and a splash of colour was produced by light being transmitted through a glass of coloured water. The surrounding edges of the glass created a shadow outline on the plane it was resting on. Shadows aren’t actually reflected light, but the absence of it. They are also the two-dimensional evidence of an existing three-dimensional subject.
It was achieved in the studio by using a point source of light positioned several metres from the subject at a low angle. This created a long, well-defined shadow umbra. Some general fill was used to lower the contrast between the white table top and the densest shadow area. Again this can be a method of auto suggestion, provoking viewers to create their own vision of what the glass of wine actually looked like through previous visual experience. The shadow’s shape and perspective is distorted and therefore have to be interpreted. It’s a case of how much apple do you have to show to say it’s an apple?
Shadow signatures can also create what is known as a figure of confusion. This is where the shape of the shadow generated by an object is inconsistent with the shape of the object generating it. A good example would a magic lantern show where signatures representing known characters like rabbits or birds are created by a person holding his or her hands in the path of a light source.
Sometimes the shadow signature, although inconsistent with the object creating it, will be another recognisable shape. This is known as a figure of confusion. A well-known figure of confusion uses the negative space of a silhouetted vase to create a reversed image of two people facing one another