This and That

Random bits of my life

Sunflares

Posted by Avital Pinnick on August 11, 2009

Sunflare

On a photography forum, someone started a thread on sunflares. I’m such a novice — I thought you just pointed your camera at the sun and pressed the shutter button! No wonder I only got them by accident. Then I did a Google search on sunflares and found an article, Starlight Effect: Creative Use of Aperture on Beyond Megapixels. Just stop up the aperture to f/22!

So I did a few experiments on Friday and yesterday. I wouldn’t want to use this too often (“Oh, yeah, the lady who always has stars in her photos….”) but the technique has some potential. I quickly grew bored of photographing sunflares through trees and peeking over clouds. I suspect that sunflares are more interesting using architectural details or interesting foreground subjects. It’s like sunsets: one sunset looks very much like another, unless youi’ve got something like Stonehenge in front.

This one was taken under the gazebo in a small park, on my way to work:

Sunflare

I think the patterns of silhouetted slats make it more interesting. They add a sense of balance to the composition, which is why I cropped the original photos so that the sunflare was on the left and the slats were on the right. When you actually photograph the sunflare, you have to really be looking straight at the sun. It’s hard on the eyes, so I don’t recommend taking up sunflare photography as a career. Also, be careful if you’re using live preview because it can damage the sensor.

My next thought was, what happens if you try to photograph a sunflare through something that refracts the light? I couldn’t find the teardrop prism I used to hang in the kitchen window (string broke and I put it away). But I did have a rippled drinking glass drying in the dish rack. Cool! Multiple sunflares!

Sunflare

It’s a cute trick, nothing terribly complicated or artistic. But it could be useful when you’re stuck somewhere where there is truly nothing interesting to photograph. In Israel the sun is hot and bright most of the year and leeches all the colour and detail from the scenery, so landscape photography is a challenge in the middle of the day. Sunflares could make a boring setting a little more interesting.

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2 Responses to “Sunflares”

  1. guardadocumentos said

    very nice , it is really beautiful photography, keep it up .

  2. Pam said

    I try to use sun flares when possible in backlit wedding images. But this sun flare with silhouette is absolutely spectacular! Well done, Avital. Well done!

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