I love Scott Kelby’s photography books, especially the sections that explain exactly how to get a certain type of shot. I think these quick “recipes” as he calls them are some of the best tips and tricks I’ve seen written down in the past 30 years. So here’s my take on getting this type of shot!

I also love walking around the edge of the lake with my camera and tripod slung over my shoulder and hearing the local fishermen joke about the length of my “fishing pole”. Tripod envy?


Ripples – Bastrop, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 17mm, f/16 for 1/13th of a second at ISO 100 with a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

View Location on Panoramio & Google Earth: Ripples – Bastrop, Texas

Characteristics of this type of shot: The classic wide-angle shot of beautiful white clouds reflected in the perfectly still water of a lake or pond, found in most outdoor photography magazines during the summer months.

  • The key to this shot is the weather. Here in Texas we have over 300 days of sunshine per year, making this shot much easier for me to capture than my friends in the Pacific Northwest. (You could always grab Ray and come visit Texas, Sabrina)
  • This type of shot is best taken in the late evening when the light is soft and warm and there’s as little wind as possible. If you live in Chicago like I used to, you’re out of luck. Here in Texas you can always count on the hot, humid and utterly still summer evenings. You can also count on the Texas size mosquitos, but that’s another story.
  • A good sturdy tripod is a must in a situation like this. Yes, I know you could hand-hold this shot with your new “IS” or “VR” lens but why risk it? Setting up a carbon-fiber tripod like my Gitzo takes only seconds and what’s your hurry anyway? We’re supposed to be enjoying this experience. Setting your camera’s mirror lock-up is also a good idea as long as we’re taking our time here.
  • A final key for this type of shot is having the little boy standing next to you drop a rock in the water at just the right moment. No, I did not pay him but his father did ask me what the going rate for an assistant was. 🙂

10 thoughts on “Ripples

  1. Love this…it’s just what I needed for our grey day today! Don’t laugh but Ray and I are already planning for the trip that Jerod suggested (The Beardos Visit Texas). I’m coming along to drop the rock in the water because I’m beardless 🙂

    • Sabrina,

      I can’t wait. I hope you’ll love Texas as much as I do. You should pick up Josh Bradley in California since he knows the way. I may have to grow a gray beard and tell everyone I’m Ray’s “younger” brother. 🙂


  2. I also agree with you about Scott Kelby. It was reading his books that helped me “crack” the digital photography puzzle. What I like best about the lessons is his books is how he walks you through steps very easily that are actually, sometimes, complex stuff. Also, he’s pretty funny.

    You did a very good job in your post explaining your photo. For example, it is helpful to know how critical the weather is to such a shot.


  3. It seems that you almost always use a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter on your landscape shots. I typically use a normal dark gray polarizer and then warm it in LR if needed using the cloudy or shade WB and adjusting the saturation to get the look I want. Is there a specific reason for the warming filter or an advantage to using it over LR?
    It would probably benefit me to schedule some time with you and visit the Bastrop/Smithville area since I live in Austin.

    • Harold,

      I do use a Singh-Ray warming polarizer for most of my spring, summer and autumn landscape shots. During the winter months I may use my other CP filters depending upon the scene and the light. I tend not to make global white-balance adjustments in LR3 unless I’m going for a certain effect. I’m always available for an afternoon of one-on-one coaching at any of the state parks in the area. Just send me an email via my blog’s “Contact Me” page and I’ll get right back to you.


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