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Thread: Shooting into the sun

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    Member twitchy's Avatar
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    Shooting into the sun

    G'day, I have had a look around, but haven't found anything relating to shooting into the sun. I took some afternoon shots down in Albany, facing the sun. I tried to sheild the camera with my left hand, but the sun was too low, and my arm not long enough! Is there a setting I can use for taking a photo into the sunlight?
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    shooting directly into the sun is fraught with difficulty.

    * You will often get lens flare (round dots on your photos)
    * The sun will over-expose and be a blown out white blob
    * The areas away from the sun will under-expose

    The best thing you can invest in for sunset/sunrise photos is a set of Graduated Neutral Density filters and a holder. These are darker on one end and gradually reduce the darkness till they are clear on the other end. You place the darker part of the filter covering the sky and sun, and leave the ground part showing through under the clear part of the filter.
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    . . . and shooting Subjects, whilst "shooting into the Sun":

    You can use the Subjects, to mask the Sun's direct rays.
    As the sun gets lower that can mean unusualy Camera Angles.
    You will need to expose for the Shadow side of the subject.
    The Sun can "halo" around Subjects, and you might still get flaring.
    And take off any "protective" filters, like a UV for example.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 05-10-2011 at 4:54pm.

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    If you are taking a photo of somebody, and the sun is pointing towards you, and they're coming out black with the sky and sun visible. Use a flash

    The subject will be lit up, and the sun behind will give a cool look!

    Decided to "shave" my signature ;]
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    Sunrise Chaser
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    Sometimes it can be used for an Artistic effect , I tried for this , No filters , Hand held using the 24-105 , This was at Fingal on a AP meet , But most of the time Like Rick said use filters , Although once the Sun has risen you will get lens flare from stuff on the filters
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    Quote Originally Posted by twitchy View Post
    G...... Is there a setting I can use for taking a photo into the sunlight?
    Basically as Rick said.

    you'll most likely get lens flare, and loss of contrast.

    There is no specific settigns that you can use to capture into the light photography, but if this is an important aspect of photography to you then do a bit of research as to which lenses flare up the least when pointed into the sun.

    Usually this will be super duper wide angle lenses or fisheye lenses as they will have been designed to cope a bit better for these conditions more so than a standard kit type lens, or even some of the pro quality standard zoom(24-70ish) f/2.8 lenses and greater.

    Very few lenses don't flare up when pointed into the sun, but the flare spots can be controlled and placed into a less annoying position with careful framing.
    Very importantly tho you need to make sure that if you do point into the sun, that your lenses are clean as an operating room and same with any filters you choose to add.
    Never use UV or protective filters in this situation if you want minimal flaring, and only use appropriate filters for an effect .. otherwise remove them.

    Another tech aspect to note is to stop the aperture down if you want maximised contrast and more of a point light source rendering of the sun itself.
    There is no specific setting and each lens will require it's own best value .. but I suppose that f/16 is a good starting point to work with.
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    Member claytonchatham's Avatar
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    The chances are these shots you've seen were taken with the camera in direct shade. Shooting into the sun is very possible, I do it alot for weddings, but I try to keep the camera behind a tree or bush in the shade.

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    Member glister's Avatar
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    Try it out

    The best way to find out about shooting into the sun is to try it out. Take your camera and
    a) shoot into the sun with a subject in the foreground and
    b) shoot a panorama which includes the sun.

    Don't attempt to shield the sun from the camera, but shoot on many different 'settings' or if you can change the f-stop and shutter speed try shooting from smallest aperture to largest in about 4 steps and then do the same with about 2 stops overexposed and 2 stops underexposed. Only by looking at the results will you get an idea of what's right for you.
    Greg
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    I hope it is all right to ask this on this thread as it's related to the topic. Do you have to use the manual focus when shooting a subject with a sun behind it? I tried autofocus but my camera just can't focus on the subject. I'm a newbie so obviously there're so much to learn

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    IMO from my experience "NO" , I dont know what camera you have or if you shoot in manual or auto, The shot I took in the above post was on Auto Focus , Come to think of it , All my shots are Auto Focus , I know this does'nt help you much but it may be a technical reason why your Cam would'nt focus , Need more info on what Camera and mode you were shooting in - Bill

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    Ok if you are shooting portraits

    -make sure you use Spot metering for starters, so that your camera exposes for the subject and not the whole image.
    -Try and find some shade, you can still have backlighting and have your subject in the shade.
    -use a reflector or a flash for fill.
    Cheers
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tommo224 View Post
    If you are taking a photo of somebody, and the sun is pointing towards you, and they're coming out black with the sky and sun visible. Use a flash

    The subject will be lit up, and the sun behind will give a cool look!
    But sometimes the flash isn't enough.... they still come out dark. Any solution for this?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ladysith View Post
    But sometimes the flash isn't enough.... they still come out dark. Any solution for this?
    When using Flash, for Flash Fill and the Sun is behind the Subject, the Flash is working at about the “strongest” it needs to, compared to other Flash Fill scenarios, for example the Flash does not need to work as hard for Flash Fill at midday, in an overcast sky.

    The Limit of the Flash for Flash Fill (for any lighting scenario and using any given aperture) can be expressed in the Working Distance (i.e. the Distance from the Flash to the Subject).

    As a guide, we can expect that at or near sunset and using an expected range apertures and ISOs suitable to expose the skyline adequately and also to keep the Shutter Speed at or under the Flash Sync Shutter Speed, the working distance for “most typical” mid priced Dedicated Hot-shoe Flash units (e.g. Canon 430MkII) will be between 8ft and 12ft – maybe 15ft as the sun begins to die.

    So, the first consideration is to be aware of this limitation of: shooting distance.

    It is likely (if all else is good) that the shooting distance is the problem; and that is why the Flash Fill is inadequate and the Subject is dark.

    Obviously you can just shoot closer – but moving closer might not suit the framing, the perspective or the Focal Length of the Lens you wish to use.

    One easy way to overcome this limitation - is to use Off Camera Flash, positioning the Flash unit closer to the Subject, whilst still shooting at a farther distance away.

    WW

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by perla View Post
    I hope it is all right to ask this on this thread as it's related to the topic. Do you have to use the manual focus when shooting a subject with a sun behind it? I tried autofocus but my camera just can't focus on the subject. I'm a newbie so obviously there're so much to learn
    AutoFocus 101. Auto focus systems work by locking onto the contrast. So try and focus on a clear blue sky and your camera will have trouble or 'hunt' trying to find something to focus on. But put the focus point on the edge of a cloud in a blue sky and the AF system is fairly darn quick at locking on. So when trying to focus on anything, in sunlight or not, try and go for something with contrast. Try focusing on a clean white fridge, you will likely find your AF hunts, recompose to the edge of the fridge and it will lock quickly. So the trick with AF is to find something with contrast (and edge) and the AF system will do its job.

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    Ausphotography Site Sponsor/Advertiser OzzieTraveller's Avatar
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    G'day Twitchy

    Missed your OP the other day
    Quote Originally Posted by twitchy View Post
    G'day, I have had a look around, but haven't found anything relating to shooting into the sun. I took some afternoon shots down in Albany, facing the sun. I tried to shield the camera with my left hand, but my arm not long enough! Is there a setting I can use for taking a photo into the sunlight?
    I have this issue regularly when shooting at >300mm & there are no ready-made lens hoods to suit my stuff ~ so I made my own for <$15

    here it is...


    a plastic drinking glass [$2], the bottom chopped off and sanded smooth, then epoxy-glued to an old UV filter metal thread [glass removed] and painted internally with blackboard matt black paint
    Works a treat covering the 300 - 450mm range of the lens

    [ps- all lens-maker-supplied lens hoods for a zoom lens are only designed for use at the wide-angle end of the lens - out from this, the lens hood rapidly loses effectiveness]
    Regards, Phil
    Of all the stuff in a busy photographers kitbag, the ability to see photographically is the most important
    google me at Travelling School of Photography
    images.: flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/

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    Site Rules Breach - Permanent Ban mandab99's Avatar
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    This thread has been fantastic reading! I was actually planning on a photo session with my two kids late this afternoon in a field not to far from my place as the sun was setting. The tips on here will come in very handy. I was planning on spot metering my kids faces and bracketing my exposures in the hope this would give me the best chance of capturing the best exposure. Will let you know how I go and what I find out in the process.

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    @ Manda, It goes without saying , Watch your eyes if using the View finder, Use fill flash if shooting directly at the Sun, Try having the kids at a 45deg angle to the sun as well
    Last edited by William; 02-11-2011 at 2:56pm.

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    Amor fati! ving's Avatar
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    i use a thousand oaks solar filter....

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    Site Rules Breach - Permanent Ban mandab99's Avatar
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    Hiya
    Wanted to leave feedback and a photo but having trouble inserting photo from Flickr, the url number not working as its not inserting my photo, only the number (not the link) I am doing something really simple wrong arent I?!
    Last edited by mandab99; 05-11-2011 at 1:18am.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mandab99 View Post
    Hiya
    Wanted to leave feedback and a photo but having trouble inserting photo from Flickr, the url number not working as its not inserting my photo, only the number (not the link) I am doing something really simple wrong arent I?!
    On the AP menu, click on LIBRARY then on HOW DO I, in there is a specific article on linking from Flickr. Note that photos for critique are not to be placed in the New To Photography forum, and must be put in the Members Photos Critique forums (I read through your edits of your post..hehe)
    Last edited by ricktas; 05-11-2011 at 6:23am.

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