How To Capture Sunbursts!

I am back with a quick tutorial on how to capture stunning sunbursts, as seen in the picture below. 

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0.3 seconds f/22 ISO100

Having a sunburst feature in an image is a really cool thing to add. In my opinion it can really make a picture stand out and make it far more interesting than it actually is. And really, it is very simple and doesn't require much skill. 

WHAT YOU WILL NEED FOR PHOTOGRAPHING A SUNBURST: 

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1/50th second f/16 ISO1250

- A DSRL or mirrorless camera, where you have the ability to set manual settings

- A sunny day, the less clouds the better the results will be 

- (optional) A tripod that keeps your camera steady during longer exposures.  

Not much, right, all you need is a camera where you can set aperture, shutter speed and ISO manually and some sun. 

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1/50th second f/16 ISO1250. Same settings as the image above. In this case there is clouds though and the sun is not as blocked off, resulting in a brighter and less sharp sunburst

HOW TO SET UP YOUR CAMERA

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1/125th second f/22 ISO100

The first thing you need to set up is the Aperture, as this is the component which will regulate how apparent the sunburst is going to be. For a solid sunburst you will need to set your aperture as small as possible. I would consider starting at something like f/16 and even work your way up to f/22 at times. Everything below f/16 will result in a less visible sunstar.  ISO and Shutter speed will be set accordingly to the scene you are shooting at, but bear in mind that you can't change your aperture. 

IN THE FIELD

Straight into the sun, but a very noisy Foreground. 1/2000th second f/22 ISO100

The easiest way to shoot a sunburst is to partially block the sun with an object. This could be a tree, a rock or even a mountain. Shooting straight into the sun is possible, but usually you would have to reduce your shutter speed that much, that the foreground will be pitch black and almost non recoverable in post-processing. To the right (computer)/ above (mobile) you can see an example of a straight into the sun shot!

CAUTION

Looking straight into the sun can be very harmful to your eyes. People often think that the sun would be less hard on your eyes when looking through the viewfinder of the camera, but that is terribly wrong. Just keep that in mind!

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1/160th f/16 ISO200

Apart from that, capturing sunbursts is really easy. So go out and have some fun adding this cool feature to your images!

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Was this helpful to you? Are you still confused? Leave me a comment down below!

Steffen Eisenacher