Reflections – My Answer To "What's Wrong . . . Ver. 2"

I recently posed the question “What’s Wrong With This Picture”blog about a modified landscape photograph of a foggy sunrise in Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge in Goodland, Florida. It turns out Deborah Gray Mitchell, one of the commenters, was right; the image was upside down.

To see the Note click here.To hide the Note click here.
Ms. Mithcell has her own website (www.dgmfoto.com), but several other sites have information about her. Just Google “Deborah Gray Mitchell”.


To be more precise, I flipped the image vertically and took steps to remove ripples in the reflection and such so that the answer wouldn’t be so obvious. The original picture can be seen at “Foggy Sunrise” on our website. Now I’d like to discuss reflections and the clues that should have given the answer away.

Reflections

illustration showing different perspective of reflected image
Figure 1: Perspective showing differences between the direct and reflected image

. . . Of Your Subject

First of all, the reflected image should NOT look like a mirror copy of the unreflected image, because the photographer has a different perspective or viewing angle of the reflection. As your high school physics teacher may have told you, in reflections, the angle of incidence (e.g. α2 in Figure 1) equals the angle of reflection (α1), so the view you have of the reflected image would be the same as if the subject had been flipped below the reflecting surface, as shown in Figure 1 above. I know that may sound like I just contradicted myself, but it is the subject itself I just flipped, not the direct image of the subject. Notice in Figure 1 that in the reflection, the two trees appear the same height, as depicted with red sightline C, while in the direct image the far tree looks higher as shown by green sightlines B1 and B2. The further away the subject is, the less of a difference this makes.

diagram of perspective and angles associated with reflections
Figure 2: Alternate perspective of reflected view that’s better for showing effects on the sun

. . . Of Celestial Bodies

Here’s another way to look at the effects of reflection; it is as if you had been flipped below the reflecting surface, as shown in Figure 2, instead of flipping the subject. Although possibly less intuitive, this interpretation yields the same results, as shown by lines B1, B2, & C, but makes the effects of the reflection of the sun more apparent. In the image under consideration, as in most cases, the sun would have been your biggest clue. The sun is 93 million miles from us, but even our closest celestial body, the moon, at under a quarter of a million miles (say 238,900 miles), is much further than what your lens considers to be infinity. All light rays from the sun are virtually parallel (or come in at the exact same angle), no matter where you are.

To see the Note click here.To hide the Note click here.
This detail helped Eratosthenes figure out how large the Earth was 2,260 years agoexplained and was crucial to celestial navigation. It is also important in the creation of rainbows. I might be addressing that aspect in an article about my quest for a midnight rainbow. Stay tuned!


This means that the sun will always be higher in the direct view than it appears in the reflection (compare the angle between sun ray A and line B1 to the difference between comparable sightlines D and C).

So There You Have It

I hope that clears things up. This information should make you better at spotting fake reflections, or as a photographer, help you create better forgeries by knowing what mistakes to avoid. Good luck!

Of course, you may share your reflections on this or any related material (or questions) in the comment section below. Thanks for stopping by.

What's Wrong With This Picture (Version 2)?

It has been almost sixteen months since I submitted my last suspicious photographannouced and I just don’t have enough material to make this a regular feature, but here we go. Nancy took this picture here in Florida. I made a simple change (and cleaned it up just a bit).  So what is wrong here?

an altered sunrise photo

All comments and guesses are welcome. You have at least two weeks to figure it out and respond but don’t dilly dally. Good luck!

Introducing “Royal Terns”

A couple of days after an art festival in Cedar Key two-and-a-half years ago, Nancy took this photograph from the bow of our new canoe on the north end of Seahorse Key before making the return trip to Cedar Key. Although the weather had been good all day, that trip did not finish well. You can read about that on our “new” webpage for the image (that webpage is now six months old).

A flock of royal terns landing

Earlier on that canoe trip. we took Gigapan images of downtown Cedar Key from Atsena Otie Key before moving on to Seahorse Key to get a Gigapan of the lighthouse. I upgraded our computerspecs this summer to make our Gigapan work faster, and hope to get to those images next month. Stay tuned.

“Oak Tree Graveyard” – Our First Night Photograph

Last updated on December 2nd, 2019 at 09:31 pm

When we discovered Big Talbot Island State Parkwebsite north of Jacksonville one morning toward the end of April, 2010, Nancy saw Boneyard Beach and decided we needed to come back late in the afternoon for further investigation.  The elevation for most of the tree-clad island is about twenty feet.  Atlantic storms over the millennia have eroded the bluff to the beach and continue to knock trees down to the beach.  We returned while it was still light, worked our way down to the beach and took “Trees In Their Twilight” just a few minutes after sunset.  The camera was on a tripod for the 0.8-second exposure.

Since we expected a near-full moon to rise within the hour, we stayed around and took “Oak Tree Graveyard” less than an hour later, one third of the way through nautical twilightdefinition.  It was so dark we needed a flashlight to change the settings on the camera.  That picture took a 65-second exposure (about 8,000 times as long as your average selfie), which gave the sensor a chance to pick up light you didn’t even know was there.

To see the Note click here.To hide the Note click here.
This is the one area that the sensor is better than your eye. As I mention in Limitations You Should Know About Your Digital Camera (Or Phone)!, your brain doesn’t benefit from staring at something longer than 15 secondssource.


During that 65 seconds, I took our little LED flashlight (so as not to overpower the almost non-existent ambient light) and shined the light back and forth over those nearest three trees in the foreground.  I recall “painting with light” like this the whole 65 seconds, but Nancy distinctly remembers stopping after fifteen seconds 😕.  If you sweep slowly to cover the target in one pass, you might miss a spot. Or if you linger too long in one area, you will create a “hot” spot.  I recommend sweeping faster and making as many passes as you can to take advantage of the averaging effect.

What amazed me when the image finally appeared on the back of the camera after the shutter closed, was that the orange glow was still there. We’ve since gained more experience with night photography (for example, see Nautical Twilight In The Glades, Seven-mile Bridge At Twilight, Midnight In The Pinelands). Now we know that there are enough photonsdefined bouncing around at even the darkest hour so that if you left your shutter open long enough you could make it look like a bright overcast day (there would be nothing casting a shadow). At midnight, the light level could be about 1/160th that of “Oak Tree Graveyard”, meaning you would have to increase the exposure time, aperture, and/or ISO to gain over seven f-stops to get its sky to that same level of brightness. But the horizon would be blue again by then because the orange glow only lasts an hour or two, depending on atmospheric conditions.

Epilogue

After getting “Oak Tree Graveyard”, we headed back up the bluff and back along the trail to the van. In an open area in the woods along the way, we saw an unbelievable firefly display as we have never seen before (or since), but were too tired to stop for pictures. Nancy has been kicking herself about that decision ever since.

Gray Wolves – The Image

Last updated on November 15th, 2019 at 09:19 pm

Last month, I promised to introduce you to a few of our newer images that had been overlookedblog. Today’s image is “Gray Wolves”, which was added to our collection at the very end of last December. We photographed these wolves in June 2006 in Golden, British Columbia. You can find more information on our Gray Wolves image webpage.

Gray Wolves

A Belated Introduction To “Wild Stallion”

Last updated on November 15th, 2019 at 09:20 pm

Earlier this month, I promised to introduce you to a few of our newer images that had been overlookedblog. The oldest of those is “Wild Stallion”, which was added to our regular collection in January, 2017, just in time for a festival in Wellington.  Wellington is known for its polo and its equestrian community.

Three Florida Cracker horses in Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, Micanopi, Florida

But this isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned this image in our blog. The photograph was taken eight Januarys earlier at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park near Gainesville. And in 2017 I chose it to demonstrate how to use vanishing points to adjust the size as you moved an object around in your image (see Use Vanishing Point To Resize Animals You Move Around In Post-Processing). Nancy liked the results and decided to add it to our collection.

You can learn more about this image on its webpage (Wild Stallion).

We Have Three New Gorilla Pictures

Last updated on November 15th, 2019 at 09:21 pm

Some of you may have noticed that I just recently added a picture of Nancy and a few mountain gorillas to an earlier blog post (We just got back from a two-week trip to Africa), and then added a picture of the two of us with our porters to a related article (A Case Of Over-planning On Our Africa Trip?), and we are even having a caption contest right nowlink for a picture of me near a silverback mountain gorilla. So you may have guessed that I finally just began processing the images from that trip. Now I’d like to announce that we have added three new images to our regular collection.

Mother Mountain Gorilla and Baby
Mountain Gorilla Mother and Baby

The three images are Mountain Gorilla Mother and Baby (shown above), Mountain Gorilla Family, and Silverback. Each image has its own webpage, of course, and the description in each highlights a different aspect of gorilla life. If you would like to own Print #1 of any of these images, you may want to contact us soon.

Although it has been almost sixteen months since we’ve announced a new imageprevious, I see there have been a few I forgot to mention. I’ll try to introduce them as soon as possible.

P.S: It is not too late to enter a caption for our current contest.