Visiting “The Bean” is right up there with boogie boarding on my daughter’s list of top summer activities.

The shiny sculpture’s real name is “Cloud Gate” and it is a huge crowd pleaser in Chicago’s Millennium Park. It got its nickname for obvious reasons; however, the sculpture’s shape is not the only thing going for it. The Bean features more than 165 stainless steel plates welded together, minus visible seams. What you are left with is a highly polished, incredibly reflective blob that is said to be inspired by liquid mercury.

The Bean’s surface reflects and slightly distorts Chicago’s stunning skyline, as well as visitors who walk under its 12-foot arch. Throngs of people stand in line just to snap a single shot of their reflection in The Bean’s bend. Recently, we were part of that crowd and I have plenty of photos to prove it. In fact, I took so many pictures of “The Bean,” I ended up featuring them in three different scrapbooks.

I added one set of “Bean” photos to our family’s vacation memory album, while another set will be featured in my daughter’s “Year in Review” scrapbook. The final set became a part of a layout I designed to showcase other reflection-themed images in my “Favorite Photos” scrapbook.

The latter album includes several page designs in which I highlight photos I’ve taken of reflective surfaces. For example, the scrapbook features a shot of a mountain scene reflected in a lake, plus a picture of a Japanese tea house reflected in a small bay near my parents’ home in Hawaii. I embellished the pages with aluminum foil, Mylar stickers and other reflective materials. In the end, they turned out much nicer than I had anticipated which is why I continue to look for reflections that I can document with my camera and add to my scrapbook.

You too can snap these eye-catching shots by keeping an eye out for reflections in glass found on buildings and vehicles. Also, look out for metallic surfaces and bodies of water which yield reflections that’ll help enhance the overall scene or subject.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.