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How To Create A Sun Star

Article By – Prithviraj Banerjee

Sun stars are a great addition to landscape photography. It adds an extra sparkle with the flair and creates a great impact to the images. We can achieve the sun star anytime during the day to make the images of landscapes more interesting. However it is hard to achieve when the sun is over the head like at noon. During golden hours of morning and evening it is magical.

Below are some tricks to help you create the sun star.

Choose the right Aperture

The smaller the pin hole the better would the sun star look like. So ideally above F16 to F22 will give you the sun star however you can use F16 to start with keeping a balance of the depth of field in the landscape images.

Besides the Aperture which plays an important role we will need to have a fast shutter depending on the light conditions.

Lens

Different lens will give you different shapes of the sun star. Sun stars are caused by the light passing through the small aperture and being diffracted (spread out) across the aperture blades inside the lens. The number of aperture blades in your lens will determine the number of points to your star. As well as this, the straighter the edges of the blades are, the sharper the stars will appear. Some of the best lenses which gives out stunning sun stars are Tokina 11-16 for Crop Sensor Camera users, Nikon / Canon 16-35, Nikon 14mm Canon 11-24, etc.

Composition

It is equally important to have a nice composition while creating an image with the sun star. Try not to look at the sun directly or through the camera view finder. It is advisable to use the live view. While you create sunstar images be cautious of the lens flair. It sometimes enhances your image but many a times the lens flair may look disturbing in the image. We also need to understand that the flair will only happen when the sun is shining bright. Sometime due to smog / fog it may not be so strong to create a sunstar. The Play of hide and seek with the sun will help achieve great results like shooting through leaves of a tree, in the woods where there are many trees, etc. Below are some examples which would help.

Some of the sample image of landscape and cityscape are given below for your reference.

Nikon D810 | 16mm | f/20 | 1/200 | ISO 100
Image Credit : Prithviraj Banerjee

Nikon D7500 | 11mm | f/22 | 1/6 | ISO 50
Image Credit : Prithviraj Banerjee
Nikon D7500 | 11mm | f/16 | 1/6 | ISO 100
Image Credit : Prithviraj Banerjee
Nikon D7500 | 11mm | f/22 | 1/500 | ISO 50
Image Credit : Prithviraj Banerjee
Nikon D810 | 16mm | f/20 | 1/50 | ISO 100
Image Credit : Prithviraj Banerjee

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