Call ’em what you will – sun star, sunburst, starburst, sunray, or just plain fun.
I love doing sunstars. A sunburst adds a dimension to any photograph and point of interest.
I am often complemented at my use of adding sunrays with a a star filter, program, or app. The truth is, sun bursts are very easy to do in camera. No apps required.
All one needs is a wide angle focal point and small aperture. I love my Canon 16mm, set at f/11 for these great results. Sometimes you have to take a number of photos to get the sun poking through the trees just right.
You may have to split a tree to showcase the sunburst, rather than just looking directly at it with full intensity.
But, it’s an easy thing to do, at sunrise, sunset, or even mid day.
As with any photograph – look ahead, look behind, look all around, and look up. Sometimes the best things are just ahead of us.
North Timp is one of those many points jutting out over the backwoods of North Rim Grand Canyon. One doesn’t have to go into the National Park itself to see some amazing viewpoints. We had hoped to get to more of those great overlooks, but circumstances intervened and it wasn’t meant to be. So it will have to be one of those ‘re-do’ experiences for another time.
For now, I got a couple pix of North Timp…. and next time, I’ll try to collect a more complete catalog of amazing viewpoints OUTSIDE the Park. Stay tuned.
As I continue to improve my photography, I think about what that means. It’s all about the light – dawn & dusk, we are so often told.
It’s complicated though. Light is bright and shadows are dark, how does one even them out and still add emotion, mood, and interest?
Light is the master of depth. We need light to make our ‘hero’ shine, or our supporting cast fade into the background. In this way we can isolate our subject so we know what (or who) it is.
Fog and smoke provide a fantastic mood factor, allowing us to separate the foreground from the background. While our controlled burns up north can be dreary to look at… they can also make for some very moody exciting pix.
Light rays illuminate and become visible through the smoke or fog in the air, distinguishing different elements of the life in the forest.
The fog creates a diffusion through the harsh light, from which comes clarity.
I often take Panorama’s, but seldom actually stitch them together.
So let me step back a minute. Panorama’s are a wide span photo, either vertical or horizontal. These days you can do them with your camera or point & shoot, where in some ways they are easier. Just press the button to go… and again to stop. Wa-la.
To do them with DSLR is a little more complicated. In Photoshop, you do a Photomerge, which is hidden under the obscure tree File – Automate – Photomerge. Select the photos you want to merge and it will whir and wiz until it comes up with a compilation of your photos stitched together. You’ll have to do some cropping or Content Aware patching to fill in any holes… but wa-la… the Pano.
A good tip when you do the Pano in camera is to stick up one finger to designate that you are beginning a pano… then take your series, trying to remain level to the horizon and constant focus & exposure as you sweep your photos across, then stick up 2 fingers to designate that you are done.
This way when you are going through you digital negatives you know you have done a pano and can stitch it together using Photomerge in Photoshop.
Admittedly, I will take them, but rarely get around to or bother to stitch them together. Maybe it’s because they just don’t inspire me as great photos, they are difficult to print, and hard to email. Some subject matters do lend themselves to the pano format however. So don’t necessarily blow them off. Give them a try to enhance the story telling of your trip.
Have you been to… or heard of Alstrom Point? It’s on the back side of Lake Powell, north of Page. We have seen photos of this amazing place and wanted to check it out for ourselves. If you go to Page, continue west to Big Water. Stop at Big Water Visitor Center for a fascinating education in this dinosaur rich area, with over 4000 dinosaur’s being discovered just in the last 10 years, many newly discovered species. They’ll give you a detailed map on how to get to Alstrom Point. But essentially it’s behind Big Water along a long 2 hour dirt road.
The overlook was nothing short of stunning.
We camped out so we could get sunset, sunrise, and star photos. We enjoyed it so much, we stayed 2 nights. It was one of those magical moments that you remember for a life time. Watching the full moon rise over the lake was fantastic. This orange ball rose just behind Gunsight Butte, lighting up the sky like it burst into flames.
Because we were there 2 nights we got to do sunrise and sunset, as well as night stars.
Pictures don’t do it justice. It was a fabulous couple days.
We got a nice snowfall last week. It came down heavy most of the day. Not a good day to be on the road…. but we had business in Phx, so we made the trek. We took the big truck and trudged through the blizzardy snow coming down side ways.
It took us 3-1/2 hours to take a trip that should have taken us 2 hours, as we drove slow through the heavy snowfall… stopping along the way to pull out a couple desperate cars stuck in snow drifts.
Despite being a little harrowing, it was a beautiful drive… very scenic with the new fallen snow… a great opportunity to get some nice new snow pix.
Maybe you knew this… but I recently learned it, so I thought I’d share.
Somehow, I assumed those sunburst photos I saw in magazines were Photoshop’d. I thought they had some filter or plug-in that they applied to a sun to give it that starburst effect.
Not so! Set your aperture on f/11 or f/16 and point at the sun. (I know, we were all taught not to point at the sun… someone’s been keeping this cool trick from us!). Hide the sun behind a piece of tree to obstruct the full blast of the sun, and move around until you see the starburst. Click!