In the past I have wanted to take photographs that toyed with having the sun in the frame producing sun burst and lens flare effects. You can add these in photoshop but they never look very natural so I have wanted to shoot them in-camera.
However, it’s a monumentally bad idea to look into the sun through a camera viewfinder. You can seriously damage your vision.
Fortunately most current DSLRs have live-view. You can compose the photograph by looking at the LCD display on the back of the camera rather than looking through the viewfinder. Live-view has it’s drawbacks but it does make it possible to compose an image with the sun directly in it. Viewing the sun on an LCD screen can’t hurt your eyes.
So, lately I have been experimenting more and more with that type of composition and this image as a great example.
This was shot as the sun climbed over the canyon wall at Zion National Park during our last visit. I ended up with a nearly perfect sun-burst effect. I really like the way the back-lit leaves make a border around much of the photo while the parts of the forest that are not lit up provide contrast and depth.
Here’s the first photo I processed from the trip to Zion National Park last month. It was my first visit and although we spent only 3 days there, they were fully packed days. Photographically speaking this trip was mostly a scouting trip. I didn’t expect to take many great photos in the park. Mostly I was just looking to familiarize myself with the park, it’s locations and how the light worked so that future trips I could plan carefully. Even so, I believe I managed to get a few photos from the trip that are worthy of the permanent portfolio.
The park is so photogenic you can get nice images even when you aren’t trying very hard.
Based on what I saw, I really believe you could spend an entire lifetime photographing Zion. At the entrance to the park are several small photo galleries who’s owners have done just that. Their work is extraordinary. I envy them the opportunity.
Anyway, please enjoy this first image from the trip…