I have written previously of my fascination with Claude Monet, the quintessential Impressionist painter who is possibly best known for his dreamy water garden paintings.
I love the fresh way in which his paintings managed to capture the fleeting impressions of moments in time where the dappled sunlight filtered through the trees and flowers, creating rippled reflections in muted colours on the surface of the water.
His style was neither polished and ‘finished’ nor realistic, and his subjects were most often elements of nature, providing him with an endless palette of colours.
From time to time, I have tried to find ways to incorporate some of Monet’s impressionistic style into my nature photographs, usually by following the sunlight as it dances through the petals and leaves, softening edges and running the colours into one another.
A few days ago while paging through a book of Monet’s paintings, it suddenly occurred to me that I could achieve a similar effect by photographing the reflections of trees and flowers on a surface rippled with slow movement, a kind of inverted world transfigured by water. This could be especially effective if I got the light and shadows right.
Yesterday, I had a rare couple of hours to myself and I decided to head off to the local Botanical Gardens to experiment with reflections.
It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon with a slight breeze, plenty of light and shadows on the lake, and gardens filled with gorgeous spring colour ~ perfect for what I wanted to achieve.
I’m not sure if Monet would approve of the results, but I feel I am just a little bit closer to understanding how he felt when he looked out across the elaborate water garden he created at his home in Giverny, and then painted what he saw.