45 Artist Proof • 495 Limited Edition

Time: DAWN

When handled sensitively and with painstaking consideration of composition, reflections can make for a very beautiful image. The eye is powerfully drawn to the illusion you’re seeing double – that if you were to invert the scene, you wouldn’t be able to discern the real from the reflected. But it’s a tricky balance because all the elements must converge at the same time for it to work – time, place, weather, light, and just a little bit of luck.

I’d been thinking about this shot for many years, and the perfect reflective composition is always at the back of my mind whenever I’m shooting cityscapes. There are so many vantage points from which to capture the striking panorama of downtown San Diego, but I kept returning to this site, near the Coronado Bridge – with a voice in my head telling me this could be it.

The city and the rest of the world were completely shut down, but I was determined to capture her glory, even in repose. I’d stayed the night in my van and awoke to a crisp, foggy dawn. The soft morning light illuminated the water’s glassy surface as the sun cast its first rays. There wasn’t even a breath of wind to break the tension across San Diego Bay, and the muted lavender hues of the sky and water seemed to converge, united by the delicate silhouette of the skyline. The sleeping city emanated a quiet determination and strength – stately and poised as if to say, I’m still here. Still standing. I fired the shutter again and again, not wanting to miss the elusive moment that I knew, in my heart, was in there somewhere.

For me, there’s something so poignant about this image; the act of capturing the exquisite perfection of an impossible scene. Within seconds of this moment, the light began to change, the wind picked up, and the sharp, intricate detail vanished. But I had my memory of that perfect illusion, and I had my shot.