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Light in Photography -   LIGHTING - Diffuse and Specula Reflections

Reflected light is usually diffused in character, that is, the reflections occur about equally in all directions from a surface that has a matt or textured finish. Polished mirror like surfaces also yield specula reflections where most of the source light is reflected in a beam. The gleam of sunlight on automobile chrome is an example, but less extreme examples that occur in nature where many surfaces produce both diffuse and specula reflections.  Any surface that appears 'shiny' such as certain leaves or rock surfaces, or wet pavement can produce specula highlight, as can crystalline substances like ice, sand or snow. They are direct reflections of the light source, they are far brighter than a diffuse area and they can lend a sense of brilliance to a photograph.  When observing light on the subject that you are photographing it is important to observe the relationship between the diffuse areas and the specula reflection. It is also important to see diffuse well-lit areas and deep shadows
When light hits and object it reflects off at the same angle it. It is a similar principle to shooting a pool ball.  The angle light hits the object is called the angle of repose while the angle it reflects off at is called the angle of reflection.


For this image of the river for the Homage to Baxter Mythology of Place project I waited until the sun had moved into a position where the reflection bounced off the water.


While reflections can be create visual distractions in our images that we might not see when we take the image, they can also be used a a key aspect of the image.

Here the sun is reflecting from the copper facade of this building is a key aspect of the image

Wet surfaces like in this image can enhance the subject

However in this image the flash of the camera has created a distracting specula reflection in the mirror.

Here the reflection in the glass window divides the frame and offers aesthetic appeal to the image

Here the reflection of the sky in the glass window is a key aspect of the image

Reflections can offer visual abstractions


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