Creating Sun Stars

While shooting at the Heard we discussed the possibility of shooting sun stars. This is one reason that our outings hopefully are useful… to explore different ways of seeing the same scene and to learn new techniques. I am by no means an expert in any of these but simply like to try different things and bring the possibilities to your attention.

On other outings we discussed the power of a woman to move the sun (He!He!He!) and experimented with the panning technique in shooting the bikers.  We’ve also been talking about reflections both in water and from reflective surfaces.

So as we were walking through the woods, I looked up to see the sun shining through the trees and in so doing I decided to shoot the sun peeking out from behind a tree. I stopped my lens down to F22 and this is what I got.

Sun Star(Photo by Lala)

Sun Star
(Photo by Lala)

Now there are star filters that you can buy that will do the same type thing, but this was obtained with the lens I had on my camera.  The smaller the point of light the better your sun star will be when shot at an Fstop of 16-22.   Let me give you some other examples…

This next shot was taken when Debbie and I visited the Arboretum as we were looking across White Rock Lake and it caught the sun reflecting off the buildings.

Double Sun Star from Afar(Photo by Lala)

Double Sun Star from Afar
(Photo by Lala)

You can also use lights in your photo to achieve the same effect.  This was obtained early in the morning on the street in San Miguel, Mexico.

Moon Star over Mexico(Photo by Lala)

Moon Star over Mexico
(Photo by Lala)

And this one was shot at night as the lights came on in the city as viewed from a restaurant at the top of a hill.

Good Night San Miguel(Photo by Lala)

Good Night San Miguel
(Photo by Lala)

And for a final example, let’s look at the Texas Star at the Chihuly glass exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum.

Texas Star(Photo by Lala)

Texas Star
(Photo by Lala)

To read more about achieving this effect, please check out:

Christmas is nearly here and there are lights galore.  Try experimenting with this technique.  If you have a tripod… now is the time to use it.  Vary your F stop to see the effect on the lights.  Photography is all about having fun.  Now… go play!

We will have a future challenge featuring the star effect without using a filter so start practicing now!


7 thoughts on “Creating Sun Stars

  1. Lala,
    Wow this are so beautiful. My favorite is the tree. I tried doing this but mine turned out not as good as this. I need more practice.
    Thank you for the link.

  2. Stunning pictures Fay, I managed to catch a star in one of my sunset photos in Costa Rica, but not sure how! I need to practice so I understand how to achieve this effect!! Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Thanks for all your instruction and help to us, Fay. Very good information. I need to practice this shot also. I remember shooting the building from the arboretum. Need to look at my photos and see if I captured a sun star and wasn’t aware. Your sun stars are beautiful

  4. Fay,
    I love star bursts effects. I used a filter to obtain this effect for my apple image. I guess I had better get to studying up on the techniques of doing this without one. I like how you challenge us to learn new things!

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