Taj Majal Sunset River Reflection

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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