As you develop as a photographer , ‘rules’ seem to spring up all over the place. Being somewhat of a hard-case , i tend to break them quite often……

In saying the above , you do learn from these perceived rules and this aids you in understanding how to break them with a creative flare. One of the most interesting was taking a photograph directly into the sun.This is either in the ealy morning , daytime or the time of sunset.Here is a higher grade explanation to a cool effect.

Namibian Starburst

A starburst from the sun is caused by light diffraction. Diffraction is the slight bending of light around small objects and the spreading out through small openings. As light passes through a small opening F16 to F22 (small aperture at a short focal length) it bends around the edges of the blades and forms the starburst . The number  aperture blades in your lens will determine the number of “rays”. The more blades in the lens, the more the starburst. (Condensed Version)

Here is an image I captured in 2012 with Mark Dumbleton on Deavlei.

Aperture F22 with a manual exposure as the scene allowed.




I used the power of Lightroom to recover detail in the shadows and the highlights. I strive for the ultimate single exposure but take various exposures for the day you learn the advanced processing techniques available to photographers.

With this image I had some time to compose and check various settings to get a balanced exposure. It is not possible to capture the sun with out “blowing” the highlights but I was happy to loose detail there as it is not visible to you anyway. Also remember that the darker areas may also have little detail due to the extreme dynamic range across the whole scene.I also used F22 on this lens (Canon 16-35 MK II ) as I have very little loss of sharpness that I would have gotten if I had used F16. Again this is personal choice but many photographers would not go to that extreme ……..There are those rules again.

You will find that you need to make a decision if you wish to use various blending techniques to get a”surreal’ image or one that represents the scene as you remember it .  Here is a surreal concept !




Hope this can assist you in getting out there and capturing that ultimate frame



Peace n Light – AA