The Dutch word for water level is waterspiegel, which literally translates as water mirror. Such a great word! Because under the right circumstances – not too many waves, but certainly not too few – water gets magical reflective properties, distorting objects until they are barely recognizable. Ideally, the waves create a kind of impressionistic oil painting that can only be captured with fast shutter speeds.
I wrote earlier about the reflections of Rotterdam buildings in the old harbor basins. Here is another interpretation of the idea: a water level world map.
How do you create a water mirror? You can, of course, go to a puddle, pond or lake and wait for the right weather conditions. Or you can make your own digital water mirror.
That is fairly simple, as the following setup in my favorite rendering program 3ds Max shows . An object to be mirrored, a water surface and a camera, that’s all you need.
And once you have made such a water mirror, you do not have to limit yourself to that one world map. I have mirrored a number of continents separately, including the one below featuring the Americas. Two predominantly green shapes in the blue of the surrounding oceans and the white of the polar regions.
For navigation purposes these water maps aren’t very useful, to put it mildly. But they’re great wall decorations. Especially, as shown below, when printed on wall-filling photo wallpaper.