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mollyc

macrumors 604
Original poster
Aug 18, 2016
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Welcome to our P52! This project is designed to get you out with your camera once a week in a meaningful way. Each week I will post a prompt for you to consider. The prompts are merely suggestions, and you are free to shoot off topic if you wish. All images posted must be taken by you, be safe for work, and be taken with this project in mind. Please do not post archive photos. For a further discussion of the guidelines, please refer to this thread, and you can find the previous weeks linked there if you missed them. Feel free to join in at any time of the year, and you may go back to missed weeks if you still wish to participate.


Week 41: Sunburst

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I hope you all have a sunny week coming up because our theme is Sunbursts. (If you prefer night time shooting, you can use these same techniques with street lights as well, but I will just be discussing using the sun as the light source.)

Sunbursts are a great way to add a lot of visual impact to your images. Not all lenses are easy to take sunburst images, and often the lower quality lenses give you better bursts because they lack the coatings of modern lenses that help reduce flaring. Still, feel free to use whatever lenses you have.

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Of course the first ingredient is full sun, so if your weather doesn’t cooperate, feel free to find an alternate theme this week or come back to this at a later date. I did actually shoot a new image last week when I saw we were forecast to have rain and clouds and I’m not particularly happy with my image so I am going to try again this week to capture something more exciting.

Once you have your sun, you will need to find a location where there are trees or buildings to help block just a bit of the sun (you can see above that you can even shoot indoors if the sun is directly out a window. As a general rule, when you shoot straight into the sun you will typically just get a hazy blown out white area. However, if you can find something to partially obscure the sun, you can work to angle the camera so that a brilliant burst will show. I chose this theme for later in the year when the sun is lower in the horizon which will help your cause, so be sure to go out before mid-morning or after mid-afternoon.

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The last big thing you will need is to stop down your lens. Shooting wide open also tends to give you just a hazy sun, but when you stop down, typically past f/8, but I will often shoot sunbursts stopped down as far as my lens will go, which will help you get a much more pronounced burst. It will also help you to use the widest lens you have, as wide angle lenses typically give a better burst effect than a telephoto lens. Sunburst quality will change with aperture, so start at f/8 and then try different lower apertures as you practice to see which gives you your desired effect. Sometimes, as the panorama image below shows, you can even get a slight burst with nothing blocking the light, but it is harder to do, and very dependent on your specific lens.


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Once you get your main list of ingredients together, you just need some patience and tenacity. Please be mindful that you will be shooting directly into the sun, and do take care to protect your eyes and your camera. Work in small time increments if you must. Don’t worry if you need to use a higher ISO than you typically do if you are shooting into a very shady area with a deeper aperture, but at the same time, don’t worry about trying to protect all the highlights in the sky; shooting into the sun will inherently blow those highlights, and hopefully by blocking some of the sun you can strike a good balance between highlights and shadows.
 

mollyc

macrumors 604
Original poster
Aug 18, 2016
7,933
48,984
Web_October_03_2023_001-2.jpg


This is one of the images I took last week in anticipation for this lesson, so it technically counts as my weekly photo, but I don't really like it. The lens I had on at the time is prone to a lot of flaring, which typically I like, but in this particular image I find that orange bit at the top left distracting. It's also a manual focus lens, and you can see that the trees aren't really well focused. We have 2-3 days of good sun forecast for this week, so I hope to use a different lens and get a better image for my entry this week. 🙂
 

katbel

macrumors 68040
Aug 19, 2009
3,452
30,146
View attachment 2291998

This is one of the images I took last week in anticipation for this lesson, so it technically counts as my weekly photo, but I don't really like it. The lens I had on at the time is prone to a lot of flaring, which typically I like, but in this particular image I find that orange bit at the top left distracting. It's also a manual focus lens, and you can see that the trees aren't really well focused. We have 2-3 days of good sun forecast for this week, so I hope to use a different lens and get a better image for my entry this week. 🙂
The sunburst is exceptionally beautiful to bad for the orange flaring on the left. Could you fix it?
 

mollyc

macrumors 604
Original poster
Aug 18, 2016
7,933
48,984
The sunburst is exceptionally beautiful to bad for the orange flaring on the left. Could you fix it?

i got rid of some of it but the whole photo isn’t that great anyway so not worth the effort of removing it. (this version doesn’t show my “removal.”)

i shared it just so everyone can see that not every lens performs well with sunbursts. clearly you can see from my other photos that i have lenses that will do a sunburst well. this lens just acts more vintage and typically i love the flare it gives. i like the blue dots on the right. i might have liked it more if the image was in focus.

lens hoods help to reduce flaring and this lens doesn’t have a hood. i almost always use a hood if i can.
 

tizeye

macrumors 68040
Jul 17, 2013
3,118
34,334
Orlando, FL
Probably better at night, but free for members during day but surcharge for special events with "Haunted Gardens" in the evening. One is a maze of shipping pallets with florescent paint. The others are self-explanatory with creatures in the garden. May have to return in the evening as many were covered to protect from sprinklers.
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mollyc

macrumors 604
Original poster
Aug 18, 2016
7,933
48,984
I took a different camera (and therefore lens) out today on my walk. This would have been better if I'd walked about an hour earlier probably, as the sun would have been lower, but various circumstances prevented me from leaving earlier. I do like all of these a lot better than the one I took last week. I'm still just chasing fall which isn't really hear colorwise yet. It will still be about another three weeks till peak if I had to guess, and a lot of my favorite fall photos I've actually taken in November. But I don't want it to be November just yet.

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