Panther Beach, California, USA.
Like few drops in the desert can not quench its thirst, this is Calm in Panther Beach. Uncomfortable and calm. A rare moment to remember the time spent aimlessly around lakes and waterfalls, when still accompanied by beauty and grace.
I composed the shot to give as much prominence as possible to the puddle in front me that was reflecting a beautiful sky made of pink and red striping clouds. The stretched puddle forms a visual line that leads the viewer further into the image towards the sky in the background.
I closed the aperture to f/11 to get most of the scene in sharp focus, which, given the time of day right past sunset, yielded a shutter speed of about 20s, that further smoothed out the water, playing into the idea of stillness and calmness. The usual graduated neutral density filter helped retaining the color of the sky and the pink clouds, by matching the exposure with the reflection in the foreground.
In post I tweaked the brightness of the foreground and improved both contrast and saturation to get closer to the beautiful view I witnessed in the field.