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Phil Douglis | all galleries >> Gallery Twenty Six : Using reflections to transform reality > Serenity, Lijiang, China, 2006
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Serenity, Lijiang, China, 2006
31-MAR-2006

Serenity, Lijiang, China, 2006

The elegantly landscape garden surrounding our hotel provides subject matter, but itís the early morning light that gives the image its serene beauty. I chose to meld reality to reflection here, matching the repeating diagonals of the rocky shore of this pond to the diagonal in the reflected hotel building. Reality and reflection overlap, making the building seem to be almost transparent.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ30
1/200s f/5.6 at 25.1mm iso80 full exif

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Phil Douglis01-Jul-2007 19:37
It is difficult, at best, for me to choose a favorite from among my own images, Ceci -- but if I had to do so, this one would certainly rank towards the top. I usually find that moving water abstracts reflections more effectively than still water, but this is a case where the mirror-like images of the black rocks fuse and as you say, float free. So much in this image is a product of the early morning light -- it abstracts the subject by creating powerful shadows that are at the core of the surrealistic effect here. The smooth water, dark shadows, and geometric reflection interact here to, as you put it so well, "challenge the eye mightily." What is real? What is illusion? I leave such answers to the imaginations of my viewers.
Guest 01-Jul-2007 04:55
This has to be my favorite of all your reflection pix, Phil! In its form, balance, color and strangely wonderful elements it challenges the eye mightily, even though it's clear WHAT it is...There is something alien about these large rocks that seem to float free in the air against the beautiful creamy building, and I love the angles of the roof in the water. The hairy grass adds an animalistic feel, and those pale curliques in the lower left corner, mixed with plants and rocks, give an added surreal quality to the image.
Phil Douglis06-Nov-2006 05:52
It is wonderful to hear from you again, Lisbeth. And thanks for coming to this image. I do try to drop an incongruously large stone in the midst of a serene scene, and you are right -- the water accepts it with nary a ripple. The intruder only increases the feeling of serenity, as you say. This image is not just about reflection -- it is about the incongruous, juxtaposition, and life itself.
Lisbeth LandstrÝm06-Nov-2006 01:24
This picture is catching – first the eye, then a thought about water when it is the friendliest! The water carefully presents the house - smooth edges, straight lines, bright colours. The flying/lying big black stone is a provocative interruption right through this presentation - but the water just answers by calmly embracing it. Perhaps underlining even more the serenity.
Phil Douglis18-Apr-2006 18:42
I find your interpretation fascinating. I thought of nothing but serenity. Yet you see this scene as impending doom.
We are all the products of our imaginations.
Carol E Sandgren18-Apr-2006 18:23
I see the rock first, large and dark, precariously sitting there as if it is teetering on it's level, about to topple into the water any second, destroying the reflection of the building.
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