Weekly Photo Challenge – Reflections

 “Zen masters say you cannot see your reflection in running water, only in still water.”

Elizabeth Gilbert



This week Ben’s Reflection challenge has given me an opportunity to post some of my favorite captures from our recent visit to China.  In Shangri-La there is an area called Napa Lake Nature Reserve.  It was suggested that we skip this area because our guide had been there two weeks earlier and the lake was completely dry. It turns out Napa is a seasonal lake and during the dry season it is a beautiful grassland for animals and birds. During the rainy season, June through September, local streams and rivers feed it to create a beautiful lake. Fortunately, we did not take our guide’s advice 🙂



“Who could be so lucky? Who comes to a lake for water and sees the reflection of moon.”


As we drove into the Napa Reserve, we were greeted by one of the most beautiful lakes I’ve ever seen. The water was absolutely still, reflecting the mountains that surround the lake on three sides. The day we visited it also reflected a deep blue sky filled with puffy white clouds. Yaks and cows grazed peacefully on the grasses as local ethnic minorities in colorful costume harvested their crops in the nearby barley fields. Plein-air painters worked with their brushes and easels, focused primarily on the bright red wildflowers that bloomed everywhere. But those are scenes for another day – today is a day for reflections.



“Reflection is the lamp of the heart. If it departs, the heart will have no light.”

‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Alawi Attas

The temperature in the reserve, which is 10,000 feet high in the Tibetan mountains, swings between very hot summers and extremely cold winters. Local families have built shelters for their livestock as protection from the sun in the warmer months. These shelters become completely inaccessible as they are surrounded by water when the lake fills.



“The mirror reflects perfectly; it makes no mistakes because it doesn’t think. To think is to make mistakes.”

Paulo Coelho

The area is home to many devout Tibetan Buddhists, and as the photo below indicates, the waters serve as housing for their traditional Stupas, or shrines with colorful flags typical of such structures.



“Each star is a mirror, reflecting the truth inside you.”


Napa is also a birders’ paradise, well-known as the home of the endangered black-necked crane. Unfortunately the crane is seen primarily in winter, but we did observe many other beautiful birds enjoying their reflections in the still, blue waters.



“Leap of faith – yes. But only after reflection.”

Soren Kierkegaard

Posting about Napa Lake has been a lovely reminder for me of a very special experience. Hopefully it has given the reader a moment to reflect on nature’s beauty as well.  To see some other bloggers’ interpretations of the challenge, click here.


132 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge – Reflections

  1. Such elegant photos…and there is something special with reflections, I find them to be some of the most mesmerizing photos. The third shot is brilliant…the lighting, contrast and clarity of the shot is unreal. It goes well with a new quote you introduced to me by one of my favorite authors: “The mirror reflects perfectly; it makes no mistakes because it doesn’t think. To think is to make mistakes.”

  2. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections | Life is great

    • Many thanks Otto – that shot seems to be the runaway favorite 🙂 The day was incredible from start to finish; it’s an amazing place. Thanks for your lovely comment!

  3. Viewing incredible vistas, people, architecture, history next to you as you do your magic is always special. Getting a second look , enhanced by your words, a bonus. Great stuff.

  4. Blues of serenity here and you’ve ‘painted’ a glorious picture with your words Tina .
    Plein air painters .. can’t wait to see …

  5. Beautiful landscape shots, Tina! The second shot reminds me of a painting I recently saw in an exhibition. The dramatic clouds, the deep blue sky and the painterly light, all make it look gorgeous.

  6. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Humbled Relections | Humbled Pie

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