In this Photo Tip I will go through how to achieve a Sunstar in your sunset images. This is a very nice effect to be able to achieve and is really easy to do out in the field with your camera.
As you can see in the image above, the sunset is very nice to look at but the sun is just a blurred blob of light setting below the trees on the horizon. Have a look at the next photo and spot the difference.
Now compared to the first image, the sun adds interest by branching out like a multi pointed star. This is easily achieved by manipulating your aperture value as well as knowing the trick to get it right.
Using the aperture to create this effect is as easy as increasing your f stop to around the f.11 – f.16 range. This will start to bring in the starburst effect. This is due to the leaves of the aperture creating a more angular opening as opposed to a more round one when wide open.
The next thing you need to get right to be able to achieve this effect is you need to be able to obscure the sun with something. That something could be anything that is between you and the sun.
The more this object obscures the sun the smaller the flare will be, so if you manage to just barely obscure it you’ll have a larger starburst effect.
Have fun using this new technique and don’t just look through the viewfinder, look around…