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

    • Thanks very much DSW, yes-about as good as it gets for a reflection opportunity. Believe it or not, we did not see one other car the entire day. Just the local people going about their daily routines. Peace was everywhere!

  1. I love your description between True Blue and Soggy Stables. Your words alone made we want to visit. Soggy Stables is a stunning shot!

  2. The stillness and peace echoes from your images to the heart of each reader. Beautiful reflections with words uplifting our spirits and making us appreciate the healing gift of nature. Thank you.

  3. Beautiful series of reflections Tina, not that I’d expect anything less. #2 is my favorite of the bunch, I really like the overall blue tone, and that killer sky is just the icing on the cake.

      • We make our own luck Tina. By revisiting a place over-and over-and over…, until we get the sky, light, etc., just right.

        Though admittedly, in cases of a one time visit to a far away place, luck of the draw is in fact all we can hope for.

  4. Just amazing…all equally incredible…..overwhelmed over how powerful reflection is….u truly have a very special eye…love that u share!!!

  5. As usual, beautiful images and thoughtful quotes, Tina. I know I keep repeating myself…:-) I loved that first quote by Eliz. Gilbert. Reminds me that I am “running” too much and need to remind myself of that quote. Thanks.

  6. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections (Looking up) | What's (in) the picture?

  7. Hello Tina, I think there should be WPC different levels, like level-1, level-2 etc;

    Then you can enter the hardest level directly 🙂

    I am simply amazed by the variety of images in your archive 🙂

    Have a great day …

    • LOL Sreejith – thanks for the lovely compliment! My archives – well, they are deep and wide – as they say “you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet”!!! Seriously I’ve been so lucky to travel to so many beautiful and interesting places.

    • Thanks Rusha 🙂 that’s a lovely compliment. There was just so much to see at every turn across the entire country. I could easily have spent another month there and still felt I hadn’t seen everything!

  8. Beautiful! And your quotes fit very aptly; a pause for reflection. Like how you connect the “sitting on the fence” with that “leap of faith”. I have started a bucket list of destinations showcased through your blog!

    • Many thanks Liz! Love the idea of helping to form a bucket list – this place should definitely be on it! I’d love to see it in the winter when the birdlife is everywhere but am not a fan of cold so will probably never get there. If you do, be sure to post the photos 🙂

    • Why thanks Marie! It was so strange to see the buildings there, completely inaccessible. But you could definitely visualize how important they might become in the bright light of summer sun being so high up. Thanks for your visit and comment!

    • Thanks Chris – and you’re right! Normally I follow the guide’s advice on everything but I’d seen some information on the area and thankfully thought it was worth a try. Luckily we had a gap in our schedule that allowed us to fit it in!

  9. Such beautiful images. I’m always amazed at how you capture the beauty of nature and everything around you. We are so lucky that you like to travel.

    • Many thanks Noe – yes, I’m happy we insisted. Fortunately we had a later flight that day and had several extra hours. Once we arrived there they had to drage me away to make the flight!!

    • Thanks Fred! It would have been so sad to have missed such an amazing place! Sometimes I think about what we see when we travel vs what we miss. I’m sure there’s plenty in the latter category but fortunately lots in the former as well!

    • Thanks Island Traveler – it was an amazing day – beautiful skies and incredible scenery everywhere you looked! Happy Sunday to you too – what’s left of it anyway!

  10. Stunning images, Tina.
    How lucky you were to get such still waters too. Just beautiful. This is one place I’d really love to see.

    • Thanks so much Vicki – it’s that much more beautiful in person, I swear! I have so many photos of all of the activity around the lake – the yaks, the barley harvest, the plein-air painters. Hoping they will find their way into the blog soon 🙂

    • Thanks Losi! I think it’s primarily for livestock like yak and cows – which support them throughout the cold winters. Actually in many cases the livestock live in the bottom floor of the homes and the families are upstairs. Its amazing really.

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