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Photo a Day Challenge: Day 16

Photo a Day Challenge: Day 16 - Pool Ripples on Ilford Delta 100 filmPool - Irvine, CA
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 2:43pm
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It was a hot summer day on Day 16 of my Photo a Day Challenge. I had to work the morning and evening so I took an extended lunch break in the middle of the day. With my Mamiya RZ67 and a roll of Ilford Delta 100 film in my backpack, I ventured to the pool to soak up some light. As I lounged by the poolside I observed the gentle ripples in the water.

I'd been recently reading a fascinating book titled Color and Light in Nature by David K. Lynch and William Livingston. This book was recommended reading by the great Galen Rowell because it explains in great detail some of the most interesting optical phenomena in nature, a topic that should be important to all outdoor photographers. From the science behind rainbows to the physics of alpenglow, this book is endlessly educational.

In this book, I'd just read about the science behind water ripples. And like almost anything else in life, once you learn more about it you tend to respect it more. So as I watched these undulations in the water I thought about how the light bouncing off the bottom of the pool was bent by refraction as it escaped the water's surface. I admired the illusion created by this effect as the tiles beneath the surface appeared to bend and kink and dance wildly. Then it became abundantly clear to me what I should photograph.

I pulled out my camera and light meter, attached my 110mm lens, and started testing out compositions. Diagonals tend to look good in most compositions so I positioned myself at an angle to the tile strips. I metered the scene at 1/400 at f/11 - I knew I'd need a fast shutter speed to catch the motion. Then I carefully dipped my foot into the water and started making ripples. I fired off 2 frames, this one having the most interesting pattern in the tiles.

It's interesting how such a simple thing can seem amazing once you know how it works.

Read the backstory on this Photo A Day Challenge here. See previous days here.