Reflections in Water

When looking at water, we are best able to see into the depths at an angle of about 45°. Viewed at angles of more or less than 45°, water becomes an increasingly reflective surface. When standing at the edge of a pond, we can see through the water to the bottom near the shore. As we look farther out over the pond (at an angle of less than 45"), the water's reflectivity increases. If we stand in the water and look down (at an angle greater than 45°), we see our own reflection.

In turbulent water the dark peaks we see are caused by the water's transparency. The peaks indicate that the water's surface is at a tilt that approximates a 45° angle. These darks are not a function of light and shadow unless the water is muddy or otherwise no longer transparent. The darks are caused by the opportunity to see into the depths at a 45° angle. If the water is shallow these darks will be only as dark as the bottom of the water.The proof that we are not looking at darks created by shadows is that regardless of the direction of our gaze or the direction of the light, they remain consistent. The light areas are reflections.

Standing at the shore, we can see into the water, because it is transparent when viewed from close by; farther out, we see it as a reflective surface. We are best able to see into the depths of water at an angle of about 45°. When our view of the water is at an angle of less than 45°, we see more reflection.

The dark peaks in turbulent water are not shadows. They are the transparency we see in water when our angle of vision with the surface is around 45°. Between these peaks are reflections.

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