Catching some rays

Now that summer is finally here, we’re seeing some sun and lots of color! I’ve decided to embrace the sun rays and make them part of my pictures while I can. (Here in upstate New York, winter will be here before we know it.)

I took this picture yesterday morning and posted it on Facebook and Flickr:

Morning at the Plantations

Good morning, sunshine!

Several people have asked – how did I get the sunrays on the dew drop? Did I use a special lens or filter? Did I use any Photoshop trickery? Nope. It was just my Canon 100mm macro lens, with the camera in aperture priority mode, set at f/10.

The secret is: point the camera at your subject, towards the sun. The dew drop will contain whatever is behind and above the subject, and the sun rays will reflect off the edges. You can even see them in the viewfinder!

The second secret is: crop the heck out of the resulting photo.

Here’s another, taken this morning:

Morning Bluebells

Sparkly bluebell

Fun in the sun doesn’t mean just macro, though. I’ve had some fun with sun rays in some wide angle shots recently, too.

Sunshine on Tower Road

The world is aglow

For this type of shot, you should set your f stop as high as possible (i.e. use as small an aperture as possible). In this case, the settings were f/22 (that’s the highest f stop for this lens), ISO 250, shutter speed 1/30.  The key was to be careful to not overexpose the shot; when I got home, I loaded it into Lightroom, upped the shadows, and sharpened it a bit.

I hope this inspires you to catch some rays of your own!

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