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Bending light, creating rays from the sun

By on June 27, 2018 in Articles with 0 Comments

Heading up to Mission Ridge looking southeast towards Quincy, by photographer Dan Fitting.

By Dan Fitting

I took this image while heading up to Mission Ridge looking southeast towards Quincy.

Sometimes sun flares and star bursts can ruin a shot but other times they can add an interesting element to enhance it. I like how the streaks of sun turned out in this instance.

A sun flare from a light source is the result of light diffraction. Diffraction is the slight bending of (light) waves around small obstacles and the spreading out of (light) waves past small openings. As light passes into your camera lens through a small opening, i.e. a small aperture, (like f22 rather than f5.6) or at a low focal length, (like 50mm lens rather than 150mm) it bends around the edges of the blades and creates the “streaks of light or star” look.

The number of rays from each star burst is related to the number of aperture blades in your lens. The more blades your lens has, the more “sun flares” are possible.

So if you want to switch up the look, experiment with different lenses as well as different apertures.

To view more of Dan Fitting’s photos, visit Danfittingphotography.com.

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