Taj Majal Sunset River Reflection

India, Peter DeMarco, Taj Majal, architecture, asia, birds, photography, reflection, river, sunlight, sunset, travel, travelphotography

I saw photos of the Taj from a boat on the river. As the story goes, there is a guy who will take you out on his rowboat. You just have to follow the outer wall down to the water.

When we got there a guy asked, “Do you want a boat ride?” It wasn’t what I expected, the Yamuna River half empty (from dams upstream) and trash along her shores. It’s a tributary of the holy Ganges after all.

We jumped in anyways. It was peaceful in the middle of the river, watching the sun go down. A flock of birds flew over us. For a moment the mausoleum felt like a ghostly ruin, and the birds like haunted whispers of Mumtaz Mahal, the Persian princess entombed inside.

How I Made It

I really wanted to show a peaceful and timeless view of the Taj. I had seen plenty of photos of the back of the Taj from across the river, but not many from actually on the river itself. I thought getting out on a boat would offer a slightly more original view of such an iconic site.

My first idea was to get a portrait of the owner of the boat with the Taj in the background. It didn’t work though because I was on the boat with a few friends which made it harder to get the shot I wanted.

In the end though, this flock of birds flew overhead and I knew at that moment it was my shot. I held my camera low to the water to get a stronger reflection. It didn’t work out quite the way I had hoped, so I created a reflection in Photoshop using the Flood plugin.

Processing: This image was made from a single exposure edited with Adobe Lightroom, Nik Color Efex, Nik Sharpener, and the Photoshop plugin Flood by Flaming Pear for the reflection.

  • Camera: Sony A7 II
  • Lens: Sony Vario-Tessar T* FE 16-35mm f/4 ZA OSS
  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Focal length: 18mm
  • ISO: 160
  • Shutter speed: 1/60s
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Author: Pete DeMarco

Pete DeMarco is an award-winning travel photographer. His passion for helping people transform their photography shows through in the expert advice he shares. His work has been featured in National Geographic Traveler, CNN, and as a staff writer for Digital Photography School.