Glimmering Skypools

February 23, 2015


Photographer: Ray Boren
Summary Authors: Ray Boren

The glimmering orange-gold in this photograph is actually light reflecting off gently flowing water in a fountain in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. The photo was taken on the evening of December 16, 2014, so the colors are courtesy of holiday decorations — lights on nearby leaf-free deciduous trees, and another towering tree that is essentially a cone adorned with bulbs and topped by a white star. 

Water in the small fountain is moving left to right. The abstract imagery in the water is created by horizontally stretched reflective elements called skypools, so-named because such liquid spectacles usually present a distorted reflection of the sky overhead. In this case, the nighttime sky is represented by black slashes amid the color, while the festive lights and white star splash the rest. Caught in a photographic instant, one side of a skypool wavelet reflects an erect image, while the other side shows an inverted image. Skypools are generally noticed when the observer’s line of sight is greater than about 15 degrees, so that most of the surface of the wave can be seen.

Photo Details: Camera Model: NIKON D3200; Lens: AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED; Focal Length: 300mm (35mm equivalent: 450mm); Aperture: ƒ/5.6; Exposure Time: 0.0031 s (1/320); ISO equiv: 3200; Software: iPhoto 9.5.1.