How to get the "starburst" effect in photos

January 08, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Here’s a quick tip. Have you always wondered how photographers got that beautiful starburst effect in night shots and sunsets?

It’s simply shooting at f16. The basic explanation is that the aperture blades filter the light when you close down to a small aperture opening. Most lenses are sharpest in the f8 - f11 "sweet spot" range, so going beyond f16 to get a starburst may result in images that are a little less crisp than you want.  So, if you’re shooting a sunset and you want to get those extra rays, set your camera to “aperture” priority, f16, and adjust accordingly.

 

Here are two examples: Sunrise over a field of red tulips in La Conner, Washington. Sunrise over a tulip field in La Conner, Washington.This is a sunrise shot at f16 to make the rays more prominent as they start to shed light on the tulip field.

 

Pisa on the Arno at NightPisa on the Arno at NightThis night shot of Pisa from a bridge over the Arno river is shot at f16 to turn boring street lights into starbursts.


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