Behind the Shot: The Watchers

Hi everyone! I hope you are all enjoying the Photo Challenge so far. This week’s theme is “Reflections,” and it is a personal favorite of mine (okay, I guess they are all personal favorites of mine, but this one is a favorite favorite).

Here’s a shot of mine to get your reflection creative juices flowing. I took this several years ago in Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge of Florida, where I was lucky to witness a massive gathering of snowy and great egrets fishing for minnows during a spawn.


This photo nicely illustrates how your camera position can affect the way your reflections look. Whenever I show this image during presentations, I always get asked “how did you Photoshop this?” I think I get this question because the reflection, at least at first glance, doesn’t seem to quite match up with the snowy egrets arranged on the bush.

If you look closely though, you’ll see that each reflection matches one of the birds in the shot, but because of the seeming initial mismatch between the reflection and the subject, there is a bit of “cognitive dissonance” that creates some mystery and invites the viewer to further explore the composition. The mismatch is completely the result of my position relative to the reflection and the subjects, not the result of any Photoshop trickery.

This is part of what makes reflection photos so powerful. When shooting reflections, make sure to experiment with different positions, and pay close attention to how those variations affect the final look of your photo.

I can’t wait to see what you come up with this week. Make sure to share your work in the special Facebook group we have set up for the Photo Challenge.

Good luck!


About the author: World-renowned professional photographer and Tamron Image Master Ian Plant is a frequent contributor to several leading photo magazines and the author of numerous books and instructional videos. You can see more of Ian’s work at

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One Response to “Behind the Shot: The Watchers”

  1. Cathy

    How did you pull out the yellow of their feet? It looks like the background is darker and that pulls the white of their feathers.