Capturing Starbursts and Sun Flares

Capturing a Starburst or a Sun Flare can make an average image look spectacular. Here’s how to apply the right settings and what gear you need to create the shot.

The Key to Capturing Starbursts

To capture starbursts, we need to stop down to the maximum aperture of the lens. This is usually f/22. This makes the actual size of the aperture smaller, allowing less light in. The smaller hole is what gives us the beautiful starburst effect.

Avoid Camera Shake, Use a Tripod

With the aperture at f/22, less light will pass through the sensor, so we need to keep the shutter open longer. Trying to hand hold the camera is next to impossible – a sturdy tripod is required. To avoid camera shake, and to control the shutter speed in bulb mode, a remote trigger is a great accessory. This will keep your hands free from accidentally bumping the camera when you take the shot.

Setting up the shot

Look for a location with lots of pleasing lights. If you’re new to long exposure, place your camera in aperture priority and take a quick test shot with an open aperture of f/5.6 or f/2.8. This will give you a faster shutter speed, allowing you to view the image quickly. Warning: the image will not look good. Our intention here is to frame the shot and see what effects the lights have on the image. When you’re ready, set the camera in manual mode with an aperture of f/22 and a shutter speed of about 30 seconds. Adjust your ISO to achieve the proper exposure.

Experiment in bulb mode

Using a remote trigger, set your shutter speed to bulb mode. We’ve already established we need a 30-second exposure from our last photo. This time, see what happens when you leave the shutter open for 25 to 35 seconds. Keeping the same settings, count out loud while holding the shutter open. Keeping the shutter open longer will allow more light to pass through to the sensor, making the image brighter. A shorter duration will make the image darker.

The Key to Capturing Sun Flares

The same concept of capturing a starburst can be applied to capturing images of the sun, moon and sun flares. We need a small aperture, f/22, to keep the sun or the moon from looking like a white glob. The only difference is shutter speed. Since we are dealing with more light, we can afford to use a faster shutter speed. To capture the sun’s flare, find an object to hide the sun and adjust yourself until just a sliver of the sun shines through. When you see the bright flare from the sun, quickly take the shot and move away. You will see spots, so make sure this shot is toward the end of your shoot.

Once you get your photos, it’s time to edit! Sometimes, this can be a tedious process and hard to get right. Perfectly Clear can help! With just the click of a button, our software will automatically fix your photo. Normally, a longer exposure will capture richer colors. To keep proper exposure, adjust your ISO or add a neutral density filter. Processing the images using Perfectly Clear’s vivid option will ensure the blues remain blue and the colors of the sunrise are brilliant. Remember to experiment and have fun as you capture the beauty of Starbursts and Sun Flares!

Want to try it before you buy it? You can get Perfectly Clear for free!