Monday, March 14, 2016

Starburst Effect

Natural starburst effects are easy to do, and do not require special software or equipment. This was shot at the top of a mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at sunrise.

Here's how to achieve this effect:

1. The sun should be partially blocked by a solid area, in this case a heavy layer of clouds. It can also be blocked by a large tree trunk, building, or any other solid area.

2. A small aperture of f/16 or smaller is best. That is what causes the best streaks.

3. The type of camera or lens does not matter.

Here are some important safety pointers to be aware of:

1. Don't look directly at the sun for more than a fraction of a second. Doing so could damage the retina of your eye. The impact on your retina is enhanced when looking through the viewfinder, so be quick and careful.

2. In general, anytime the sun is part of the composition, do not aim the camera at the sun for more than a few seconds. It is all too easy, especially when the camera is on a tripod, to leave it aimed at the sun when you are not shooting. Doing so can cause damage to the camera's shutter mechanism, even when you are not actually shooting. So always move the camera away from the sun between shots. The other option, if you do not wish to move the camera between shots, is to put the lens cap on after each shot.

So go out and play, now that we are back on Daylight Savings Time (except you folks in Arizona and Hawaii) and spring is on the way!

Shutter Speed 1/500 sec.  Aperture f/25.  ISO 400.  Lens: Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS set at 90mm.  Camera: Canon 5D Mark III.  Gitzo tripod with Really Right Stuff ballhead.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "You need to spend time crawling alone through the shadows to truly appreciate what it is to stand in the sun."  --Shaun Hicks

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