Specular Puddle Reflection

July 11, 2008

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Provided and Copyright by: Rob Bruner, NOAA
Summary Author and Editor: Rob Bruner

Light reflects off of surfaces in a very predictable manner. A smooth surface (for example a mirror or still body of water) produces a specular reflection, where the angle of the light hitting the surface will reflect off of that surface at an identical angle. Light reflected off of a rough surface (for instance porous concrete or water that’s moving due to wind or current) is called a diffuse reflection. In the example of specular reflection shown above, the church steeple is reflected in a still, shallow puddle of water left over from a morning rain shower. This is the steeple of Bruton Parish Episcopal Church, circa 1674, in Williamsburg, Virginia. Photo taken on February 18, 2008.