Photographing sun rays
When ever I think of an ever changing beautiful subject to photograph, I always think of the magnificent sky. There are so many elements that make the sky beautiful to photograph: color, horizon, clouds, stars, moon, and sun rays. There is something about capturing sun rays in a photo that adds an element of boldness. The picture above was captured within a 30 second window of the first appearance of the sun rays.
This may sound a bit strange, but I have trained my eyes to notice sun rays bursting through the clouds. Sometimes it’s very apparent while other times you may have to squint or look off to the side of the rays to really see them. The camera on the other hand is wonderful at capturing sun rays.
This is one of those times where I’m glad the camera can finally show me something that my eyes wasn’t seeing. The same could be said about astrophotography. When we glance up at the night sky with the naked eye, we may be able to see a few stars (depending on the light pollution in your area). However, when you take a long exposure photo of the night sky you can see hundreds of stars.
I wanted the maximum depth of field to maintain sharpness and definition in the clouds. So I exposed for the sky because I wasn’t really interested in capturing detail the trees; The silhouette would be a nice contrast to the sky. There is a little bit of wooden railing in the foreground to add an additional element to the photo and to give a sense of scale to the grandness of the sky. Wide angel lens is best for this type of capture.
When ever I photograph the sky I try my best to not blow out the details. It is easy to lose detail in the bright areas, especially where the sun is located. There is a small area of lost detail but sometimes you just have to be ok with it. As long as the viewer knows what they are looking at, I’m fine with it. Plus, I didn’t have time to sit and try to bracket the exposures due to the limited amount of time I had to capture the sun rays. Another area where the details were lost but not missed were the trees. I really wanted the sky to be the “star” of the photo. The silhouetted tree line created a nice separation from the water and sky. I also used a CPL filter so the glare on the water wouldn’t overtake the photo.
On a final note
Like I said at the beginning, the sky always proves to be a wonderful and ever changing subject to photograph. The only time I may run into some difficulty capturing its beauty is during rainy or strong overcast days. During those times, I try to put my camera away and take a break. The next time you can’t think of something to photograph, try looking up! You may be amazed at the beauty that is right above your head!
Spark creativity by capturing the world around you one photo at a time
12-24mm at 12mm 1/800sec f/10 ISo 250