Sunday, June 05, 2016

The tarnished mirror pond

click photo to enlarge
The purpose of a mirror pond is to re-create, usually in a man-made stretch of water, some of the qualities that a natural lake or pond displays on a calm clear day when the surface is completely still. In those circumstances a near perfect reflection of the surroundings, after the manner of a mirror, is possible.

The creators of the English landscape garden sometimes made a mirror pond near to the country house as one of the features to which the owners and their guests could walk and admire. Frequently they also constructed something - a building, statues, a bridge etc - whose purpose was to be the object that was reflected. On a visit to Belton House, near Grantham, we went to look at the example there and were disappointed to find it "broken". Water plants with delicate white flowers that had colonised the mirror pond had broken through the surface, spoiling the reflection of the rusticated stone pavilion that had been placed at the end of the rectangle of water, tarnishing, as it were, the surface. This effect probably worked in winter when the plants were dormant, but the onset of spring had spurred their growth. The diligence of the National Trust staff who care for the grounds at Belton is everywhere apparent, so I will not be surprised to find on a future visit that the "polish" has been restored to the water's surface and a flawless reflection of the pavilion will be mirrored for all to see.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo Title: Mirror Pond, Belton House, Lincolnshire
Camera: Olympus E-M10
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 45mm (90mm - 35mm equiv.) crop
F No: f5.4
Shutter Speed: 1/100 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On