Another flower installment coming your way! OK we know from previous posts that I’m flower obsessed. And a couple of weeks ago I went on a little photo expedition to explore the neighborhood, where I took lots of pictures but mostly got distracted by one gorgeous bougainvillea. These beauties are everywhere down here, and since I’m also color obsessed, this makes me very happy.

Here are a few of the images from my little trek, and of course I thought I’d also take this chance to share the insider secrets on how to get that perfect star shape sun flare. I loooove sun flares of all kinds. (Though they are technically “wrong” for the most part, I just can’t help myself and swoon over technical errors like lens flare, ghosting and even motion blur. ). Here are some of my faves:


perfect sun flare sara tallent photographybougainvillea sara tallent photographysun flare sara tallent

the image above was shot at f 2.5 (a little flare, but no star shape)

perfect star sun flare sara tallent photographytiny sun flarerocking the star flare sara tallent photography

the star flare images were shot at f14, 1/125sec., ISO 100

sunny bougainvillea sara tallent tampa

Ok, so are you ready? It’s pretty simple.  Here’s what you need to get that perfect star flare…

1. High f-stop. As in, you can’t shoot in automatic and make this happen, so go ahead and get in manual or aperture priority. You want to be somewhere around f14 or higher.  This closing down of the aperture blades is what gives the star shape to the light when it gets recorded on your camera’s sensor. (the high f-stop is ONLY necessary for the star shape flare. All kinds of great lens flares can happen at any aperture)

2. Obstruct the light source. The leaves here provide the perfect obstruction for the light to pass through to get that dreamy sun flare.

3. Experiment.The lens flare is an imperfect art. Move around and let the light flow and see what happens. Remember that trying to focus straight into the sun is virtually impossible (another reason rule #2 is helpful) so if you’re having trouble focusing, use your hand to shade your lens from the sun while you focus on your subject and then move your hand to let the sun back in for the shot. Also, sometimes all that sun in the lens can leave an image soft, but that’s part of the fun dreamy look of sun flare photos. Don’t sweat it! Have fun with it an play around until you find what you like.

Happy Sun-Flaring! Don’t forget the sunscreen. And while I do love these images, I cannot recommend staring into the sun. Do lots of test shots and chimping if you have to in order to adjust your settings, don’t try to do it all while glaring at the sun through your camera 🙂