How can tiny pools of water create such beautiful reflections? Especially in the desert?
Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.1 Corinthians 12:12
Who Knew a Tiny Pool Could Produce a Gorgeous Photo?
“I should warn everyone,” I said before we started our hike to The Wave, “I stop a lot to photograph things.”
“Don’t worry,” one of my companions assured me, “you’re in such good shape, and I’m not. You’ll be able to catch up.”
“Hopefully,” I said with a grin. “I stop so much it can annoy others.”
“Really, it’s fine,” another lady said, “we’re all here to enjoy the experience. Do whatever you want!”
We started with only a full moon to light our way, and sure enough, I stopped to take photos of a Western Spadefoot (a toad’s cousin) before we’d gone a mile. When the sun brightened the horizon, I noticed a tinaja. Tinajas, also called ephemeral pools or potholes, form in sandstone basins or depressions throughout the desert Southwest.
They range from a tiny pool to dozens of feet wide or long. Filled with fascinating creatures, such as the longtailed tadpole shrimp, the pools provide an essential source of water for wild animals. A tinaja ranges in depth from millimeters to several feet, and each one has a tiny ecosystem of plants and animals. They also create beautiful reflections on windless days.
Photographing Beautiful Reflections
Water acts as a mirror, enabling photographers to capture beautiful reflections. I’ve learned to use water on still days to take interesting photos of beautiful reflections. Even a lowly mud puddle can reflect the colors of a gorgeous sunrise or sunset. I crouched next to the tinaja and snapped photos of gorgeous sandstone formations reflected in the water.
By the time we reached The Wave, the sun had risen completely, but the high walls and formations kept different features in the shadows longer. This allowed me to explore and find multiple beautiful reflections in different tinajas throughout the North Coyote Buttes area.
The golden hour lingered longer than usual on an early October morning amidst the towering rocks. I snapped some of my favorite photos almost three hours after the sun came up. Usually, the golden hours last for a single hour, starting right before sunrise and right before sunset.
Once again, the metaphor of water for the Holy Spirit comes to mind. To shoot beautiful reflections, I must bend near the water. It doesn’t take a lot of water to create beauty. Bookending my days with contemplating my Creator helps me better reflect his love.
Father God, thank you for all the little ways you remind me of your presence and the help you offer for navigating life. I am a tiny tinaja in a barren world. May my life become a beautiful reflection of your love, mercy, and grace.