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Thread: Starbursts for beginners

  1. #1
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    Starbursts for beginners

    Ever wondered how people manage to get those nice stars around lights when taking night time shots? Ever thought, "I want that effect too, but how expensive could that filter be"? Would it surprise you that it's possible to do WITHOUT a filter? Well this little tutorial is here to help you get that effect, and not just at night, but during the day too.

    I won't tell you how to achieve these setting on your camera as camera are all different, instead, dig out that manual and have a quick read, it'll tell you how much better than i could.

    First, we need a subject, you can use my shot for inspiration or find your own. A sub reflection in the car chrome is another good subject too.

    Second, we need to set you camera to manual mode, then set your apature to the highest value possible, on most it's around f22.

    Now for the fun part, you need to adjust your shutter speed so that the image won't over/under expose. Most cameras have a little "needle" in the view finder, it needs to be as close as possible to the middle. Note: If your shutter speeds becomes too slow (anything less than 1/40 or so) which will happen at night or in the shade, you'll need a tripod or somewhere stable to put the camera on. At night, a remote release, or just use the camera timer to prevent shake.

    Now take the picture with a bright spot in the image, e.g. the sun, and have a look at the result.

    ISO100 13mm f22 1/80

    You may need a few goes to get it right, changing the shutter speed to get the right exposure, but practice, practice, practice, and it won't be long before you get a keeper.

    Here's an interesting bit of trivia, each lens will produce a different starburst effect according to how many blades are inside the lens. The image above was taken on a tokina ultra wide angle lens, whereas the one below was taken with a canon 24-70.

    ISO100 24mm f16 20secs

    As can be seen on the image above, it is possible to reduce your apature, but experiment as different lenses will give you a different effect.

    Another way to get a good looking image is to put the bright spot on the edge of something, as this will also help generate a starburst, but usually only towards the edge covering the bright object.


    ISO100 48mm f22 1/25

    As this image shows, the starburst only shines towards the ocean because the sun is slightly covered by the cloud. You could also use the V in a tree trunk for example.

    Anyway, time for me to stop, and you to go try. This effect can be achieved day or night, so go and play. Remember the key is a high f-stop number.

  2. #2
    keen learner of new tricks.
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    good information Allan.
    Graeme
    "May the good Lord look down and smile upon your face"......Norman Gunston___________________________________________________
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    Member Shane's Avatar
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    Thanks Allann, I haven't ventured into manual mode yet. You have motivated me to do so. I'll give it a go this weekend.
    Mostly Canon stuff


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    Hey, nice one Allan. I think all us have that same sun shot from the meet

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    thats a really good way to get an effect without relying on PP.

    cant wait to try it out on some longer traffic trails exposures
    Canon EOS 400D - Canon 3000N - Canon AV-1
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    Thanks Allann! I might have to give this a try
    Cheers,
    Terri



    Nikon D90 | Olympus XZ-1 | Nikkor 35mm f1.8 | Nikon 17-55mm f2.8 | Nikon 105mm f2.8 Micro | Nikon 50mm f1.4 | Nikon 18-105mm VR | Photoshop Element 7.0 | Manfrotto 190X

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    Thanks Allan, another gem I didnt know, now to go and clean my sensor to get rid of the dust bunnies.

    Cris

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    very informative thanks
    Nikon man

    I don't mind anyone reworking my photos please just tell me how and what you did. cheers

  9. #9
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    I like the jetty one with the mutliple starbursts, a great effect.
    Odille

    “Can't keep my eyes from the circling sky”

    My Blog | Canon 1DsMkII | 60D | Tokina 20-35mm f/2.8 AF AT-X PRO | EF50mm f/1.8| Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 APO DG OS HSM | Fujifilm X-T1 & X-M1 | Fujinon XC 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OIS | Fujinon XC 50-230mm F3.5-5.6 OIS | Fujinon XF 18-55mm F2.8-4R LM OIS | tripods, flashes, filters etc ||

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    general rule of thumb is the smaller the aperture the more pronounced the effect .. well done Allan ..
    Hi Im Darren

    www.darrengrayphotography.com

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    Thanks for that Allan. I'll certainly be giving that a go sometime soon

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    Great tutorial. Thanks Albert

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    Really nice work with this guide, something else for me to try sometime.

    Paul

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    Great information

    Thanks I will give that a go asap.

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    Thank you Allan. I must give that a try.

    Di
    ........................................

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    Canon 50D, Canon 17-85, 50mm 1.8, Speedlite 580EX11
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by beckett5361 View Post
    Thanks I will give that a go asap.
    It's great to see so many people wanting to try this. Can I suggest a few people post their results for different lenses so others can view the different starbursts that can be produced. Try not to post similar starbursts for lenses that have already been posted unless the starburst itself is very different. Make sure if you post you include the lens and camera used, and the settings.

  17. #17
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    thanks alot, this will be very helpful. cant wait to try it

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    Allan done these a few times and must say great tip for everyone
    Newbie to the world of Digital Gear: Nikon D60 - 18-55mm - 55 - 200mm - SB400 - New Sigma 10-20mm
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/vk5mmm

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    Great tips mate, thanks for sharing!
    Cheers, Brad




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    Max Cooper (http://darktopography.blogspot.com) taught me that, in regards to night photography, f2.8 and larger will create orbs of light where f8 and smaller will create the stars discussed in this thread, though I wouldn't go past f8 at night.


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