1 Focus and compose
A rock in the shallow water was used here as foreground interest and positioned in the bottom right, according to the rule-of-thirds, because the water and reflection extend all the way from the front to the back of the shot. Once you’ve composed the image to emphasise the reflection, manually focus one-third of the distance into the scene beyond the foreground.
2. Camera settings
For this type of shot, normal landscape settings apply, so set ISO 100 and shoot in aperture-priority or manual mode. Set the aperture to f/11 if shooting on an APS-C camera, or f/13 if shooting full-frame. For the latter, this gives you a touch more depth-of-field without introducing diffraction. If shooting in aperture-priority mode the camera will select an appropriate shutter speed.
3 Use filters
If you have ND grads you may find that these are useful for retaining sky detail, so use the most appropriate strength and graduation for the scene. The most important filter, however, is a polariser; depending on your angle to the sun and the reflection in the water, by rotating the filter you can accentuate or remove the reflection. Obviously, we want to make it stronger for this image.
4 Take the shot
With the composition and filters in place, and all the settings dialled in, it’s now time for the most important part – taking the shot. If you’re shooting in conditions that are favourable to landscape photography, chances are that the shutter speed will be too slow to release the shutter by pressing the shutter button, so you’ll need to use a remote release or the camera’s self-timer.
5 Keep completely still
If you find yourself standing in the water you’re shooting for the reflection, it’s imperative that you remain still to avoid creating ripples – even the smallest ripple will ruin your perfect reflection. If you have a wireless remote, stepping out of the water and waiting for it to settle before releasing the shutter is one way to avoid this, but if you’re using a remote release or self-timer stay very still.