lens flare

Timberon Sunburst Tree Top Landscape Photos

Timberon Sunburst Tree Top Landscape Photos

Getting titled for lens flare in Timberon tree tops

My third return to the very remote New Mexico town of Timberon was for shooting rural land real estate once again, but this time 12 properties in done day! This meant not being there my usual 90-minutes before sunset as that would not leave nearly enough time. Which in turn means no signature sunset HDR photos of the properties. Add to the fact that nearly all of these properties were nearly all covered in very tall pine trees. There was not only no sunset, but also no horizon to even see. What was my solution for getting creative shots? Tilt the lens upward and embrace the lens flare and sunburst effect from having an ultra wide 15mm lens looking right at the sun. What do you think of this style of photo and the unique effect of shooting tilted up at the sun?

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Photography Tip - use harsh sunlight to backlight your subject

Photography Tip - incorporating harsh sunlight as a part of your photographIn Florida especially, there is often harsh sunlight to deal with when making outdoor portraits.  In the above example, I was working with a model on a portfolio shoot close to sunset time.  Having such an abudnance of light, I decided to make it an element of the photograph.  Putting the sun partially or entirely behind the subject can create a very strong, backlit effect.  Depending on your lens and position, some lens flare may be visible and add yet another element to the image.  I still used a speedlight off camera to frame right to help get enough exposure on the model then let the sun do the rest in the background.

Instead of fighting against the sun, try working with it to create unusual lighting effects in your portraits.  

St. Petersburg Florida Lens Flare Park Sunset

Lens flare sunset over North Straub Park - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/320th processing in Color Efex Pro & Topaz AdjustMy favorite time of day is the transition from day to night.  In my mind I imagine all the day time creatures shutting it down and getting ready to yield dominion to all the night time creatures.  During the transition period things overlap as the sun approaches and passes the horizon.  This great physical change always produces a large mental change.  I have always wondered why just the lack of being able to see at distance, which really is all the sun setting causes, results in the world feeling entirely different?  In addition to the lack of light it must be that other creatures hold sway over the night, and this causes peculiar feelings among day creatures that overlap too far into the night.

I made this lens flare dominated photograph of the setting sun burning its way visually through a tree in downtown St. Petersburg's North Straub Park as it shows just the start of that transition time.  Some shadows are starting to increase in size and the signal is out for day time creatures to start to head home.  There is just a peak of the human world in the shot, which no longer abides by the timing of the sun.

Detours in your photography - both temporary and permanent

Have you taken more temporary or permanent detours with your photography?Your photography path should take detours.  Some of them will be temporary, while others will be permanent.  A temporary detour can come when you get a new lens and are able to make a photograph you could not before.  You may take a few month detour into only producing HDR images, which often happens when a photographer discovers this Pandora's Box of photography techniques.  

Permanent detours can arise with increased photography knowledge.  These can be detours in personal shooting style, subject matter and shooting techniques.  The horrible vignettes you used to put on every portrait you made early in your photography career?  The detour away from those cannot come soon enough!  Blurry night images because you did not have a tripod?  Gone once you invest in a proper one.

I have made several significant, permanent detours in my (relatively) brief professional photography career.  I started out thinking I would work with others, but that really turned into more of a temporary detour.  I was focused on weddings and portraits, but a free business meeting consultation lead to my biggest detour to date switching my focus to commercial, event and teaching photography.

That was last year's big detour.  I expect another one will come sometime this year.  

My photography tip then is to expect photography detours and recognize which ones will be temporary, and which ones will be permanent.