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Thread: How to photograph the sun?

  1. #1
    arith's Avatar
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    How to photograph the sun?

    I am confused as to how to get a nice sparkly picture of the sun. I would like it to have rays radiating and look bright without blowing everything out.

    I thought instead of trying a hundred times it is best to ask here; this is a failed picture because the sun was shining through the leaves and was bright, and it is just an example.

    How to photograph the sun?

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: How to photograph the sun?

    Hi arith,

    You won't see rays unless there is something in the atmosphere for them to illuminate; e.g. mist, smoke or dust.

    However, the church warden make take a dim view of you lighting a bonfire in his graveyard

    The only other way you might get a 'ray' effect is from the aperture leaves in the lens if you stop down a long way and have the sun in shot as a small specular object. However, this will almost certainly mean the foreground will be under-exposed

    I'll shut up now and let someone with more practical experience answer the question

    Cheers,

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: How to photograph the sun?

    Shut down the aperture seems good, I've got a tripod and always do HDR, this was f8 so will it start to go at say f11 or f13? I don't want to lose too much detail, what happens if I shoot f16 say for just the first three then f11 the rest? Will it be completely out? I was thinking the sun will get blown out and the detail in the church take over.

    Not much hope of experimenting today though.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: How to photograph the sun?

    I think you may have to go smaller, creating a sun exposure for a separate layer and blend the results, not sure this will factor into HDR combining properly.

    Also, we have no proof you lens gives a suitable pattern of stars do we?
    I'm thinking like some night shots of bridges I have seen here at CiC posted by several people fairly recently - the ones where the street lamps came out as stars.

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: How to photograph the sun?

    I will give it a try anyway Dave; just as soon as there is some sun.

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: How to photograph the sun?

    Not easy this is it. I tried but got a rainbow and that with my new lens reviewed as very good.

    How do you avoid this; obviously choosing f22 for the top image works after fooling the HDR application to think it's f8 but the rainbow cropped out here appears in every image.

    How to photograph the sun?

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    Re: How to photograph the sun?

    If you want to cry a little, have a look at how Joe McNally did it. 1/8000th @ F6.3! (The desert shot)

    Here's a link to a shot of the lighting rig they used.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: How to photograph the sun?

    I bet you need one "L" of a lens for that

    I wonder if they had to PP to improve contrast, remove flare, etc., also if any filters used?

    and why didn't that burn a hole in the sensor, with the sun focused on it?

    (boo hoo hoo)

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: How to photograph the sun?

    Mmm looks like I could benefit from a bit of practice; no chance of getting a rig like that though.

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: How to photograph the sun?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    I bet you need one "L" of a lens for that

    I wonder if they had to PP to improve contrast, remove flare, etc., also if any filters used?

    and why didn't that burn a hole in the sensor, with the sun focused on it?

    (boo hoo hoo)
    I was a bit worried about that; but i put the polarizer on to reduce the ev by two stops, and it only took hundredths of a second. WORRIED

    Sequence: {Oct00200.CRW: TV=0.000250, AV=8.0, Bias=0.0} {Oct00204.CRW: TV=0.000499, AV=8.0, Bias=0.0} {Oct00205.CRW: TV=0.000998, AV=8.0, Bias=0.0} {Oct00206.CRW: TV=0.001996, AV=8.0, Bias=0.0} {Oct00207.CRW: TV=0.003992, AV=8.0, Bias=0.0} {Oct00208.CRW: TV=0.007984, AV=8.0, Bias=0.0} {Oct00209.CRW: TV=0.016674, AV=8.0, Bias=0.0} {Oct00210.CRW: TV=0.033348, AV=8.0, Bias=0.0} {Oct00211.CRW: TV=0.066696, AV=8.0, Bias=0.0}

    But the first is really f22 at appropriate speed.

    I keep going with exposures until the low tones become mid tones.

    I have done a better version.

    http://images52.fotki.com/v641/photo...0ev_hf1-vi.jpg

    Still, I want to know how to reduce flare, especially a rainbow?
    Last edited by arith; 17th October 2009 at 01:21 AM. Reason: Not enough information

  11. #11
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: How to photograph the sun?

    Hi Arith,

    That is better, and you do have the star effect I think you wanted, but as we can see, it is only visible against the tree, not where it's over the sky.

    Yes, the flare is a killer for this shot.
    I thought the whole thing was not set correctly for black clip, but having saved locally and viewed the histogram I can see that it is and any further attempt doesn't improve it.

    It is just far too much DR for the camera and viewing devices we use.
    The Joe McNally ones work because he had a subject close to the camera and enough light from the flashes to balance the sun and produce an image where levels could be set to give a pleasing result.

    Your shot is too over exposed on the sun and with too dim a church, trees, etc. to be able to fix in PP.

    If you shot RAW, can you extract two tiffs and doa manual PP blend for a better result?

    Just my thoughts, as I don't know the answers,

  12. #12

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    Re: How to photograph the sun?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    I bet you need one "L" of a lens for that
    Nope - he shoots Nikon. Pity, but he's a nice guy anyway

  13. #13
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: How to photograph the sun?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Nope - he shoots Nikon. Pity, but he's a nice guy anyway
    No wonder I like him

  14. #14

    Re: How to photograph the sun?

    Quote Originally Posted by arith View Post
    I am confused as to how to get a nice sparkly picture of the sun. I would like it to have rays radiating and look bright without blowing everything out.

    I thought instead of trying a hundred times it is best to ask here; this is a failed picture because the sun was shining through the leaves and was bright, and it is just an example.
    EXPOSE for the sky and stop down to f22

    easy

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