Chris Carr: The Curious Findings in Puddle Reflections

All images by Chris Carr. Used with permission.

“As a photographer I pride myself in always looking at things differently.” says photographer Chris Carr. “My photography has come from my desire to share the beauty of this world from many years of traveling. From these travels I have developed an eye for capturing images which elicit a particular feeling, time or place.” Carr’s images have a surreal feeling to them in some ways–or at least his “Puddle Reflections” series does. These photos look to capture landscapes from reflections in puddles. They’re fun and they seem to merge worlds into one another.

Phoblographer:  Talk to us about how you got into photography.

All the Leaves Falling from the Sky onto Downtown Orlando_ChrisCarr

Chris: Photography for me came after I took a break from being a musician. I loved music, but after many years of trying to be a full time musician I needed a break. I found myself burned out and in need of a new creative outlet. Once I started photographing, I immediately knew I was hooked on capturing the world through the lens of my cameras. And now, over a decade later I am still just as passionate about it as the day I started shooting.

Phoblographer: What made you get into shooting reflections? Not many people really have a workable body of work consisting of them.

Blue & Pink Fall Sunset_Chris Carr

Chris: Shooting reflections came about for me from some experimentation and a little luck. Over the years I have always been observant of how water reflects our world around us. Through much trial and error, I have developed my own style of capturing these reflections. I have become particularly fond of using puddles due to their shallow water and asymmetrical shapes. No two puddles are every the same and this allows to shoot similar scenes with different results.

Phoblographer: So obviously you find these reflections and photograph life in them, but do you ever feel that particular things about the reflections will make an image better? Like, say some water puddle has a dash of motor oil in it, or the color of the water isn’t so clear, etc.

Cable Cars Passing Along the Brick Sky _Chris Carr

Chris: Interesting subject matter is what I feel makes the best image. I look for interesting subjects in all of the puddles I come across. I do not alter any of my images, so if there is something in the puddle, ie a cigarette butt, trash, a leaf, etc. I leave the object in its place. One of my most popular pictures, Oil slick among the clouds, was shot in a puddle that had oil and gasoline in it. There are times I see a puddle that I think will produce a great picture, but when you include all factors of the photograph it doesn’t come out clear. Like many styles of art, it is often trial and error and a little luck.

Phoblographer: How do you get such crystal clear reflections? Is it the dehaze tool or Polarizing filters, etc?

Downtown Building Cobblestone_ChrisCarr

Chris: I do not use any tools or filters in my picture taking. I have taken lots of images that I did not find to be clear enough to use, though through trial and error and doing this collection for a few years, I have narrowed down how to choose a good reflection from the start. I am a big fan of using natural light for all my shots and I use the sun and sky to my advantage. And over the years I have learned how to use it with almost any situation with a camera.

Phoblographer: Talk to us about the gear you use.

Fall is in the Air_Chris Carr

Chris: I generally use one of my three cameras to capture my images. A Sony a350 dslr, a Sony a6000 mirrorless and an iPhone 6s. But the best camera is always the one you have with you. While using my iPhone on several occasions, it has allowed me the ability to work out how to get the best clarity and angle for each composition out in the field. With this knowledge it has helped me to better use my DSLR and mirrorless cameras as well.

Phoblographer: What do you generally think makes for a good reflection worth photographing?

Oil Streak Walk in the Clouds_Chris Carr

Chris: Subject matter. I aim for a surreal images, in which it appears that there are multiple worlds. I prefer to use recognizable images, as the staple of an image and then have other things going on around it. My goal is for a viewer to stand and stare to see if they can figure out what the photograph is, before asking me. My personal style is to take more then the everyday subject matter in a picture and elevate it to the viewer considering everything in the picture, without altering the image.

Palm Tree & Signs Under Sunset Sky_Chris Carr

Parked Cars Under Stars Reflection_Chris Carr

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Triangle Skyline & Leaves_Chris Carr

Where the Earth & Sky Meet_Chris Carr

White Line Through the Storm Clouds_ChrisCarr