How to not by blinded by the sun with an SLR?

Discussion in 'Nature' started by jasondunsmore, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. How is it possible to compose this type of shot without being blinded?
  2. Use the "depth of field" preview button to stop down while you are composing the scene. That is unless you have one of the more modern cameras where the manufacturers have decided that you don't need one.
  3. You need blast goggles like the ones the miltary guys wore in the 1950's sci-fi movies.

  4. SCL


    1. Compose stopped down, then close the eyepiece shutter and make manual away with some bracketing. <p>
    2. Use heavy ND filter for composition, remove eye from eyepiece then remove filter, adjust exposure etc. manually. <p>
    3. Pinhole <p>
    all suggestions IMHO
  5. << 10.5mm fisheye >>

    Only a small percentage of the frame has the sun in it. You can compose normally.
  6. Quite likely, the shot was taken with the sun out of the frame, then added in digitally?

    Being blinded (in your eye) is not a big problem- you don't have to sit there and stare at the scene- focus, compose, etc., then point the camera in the proper direction and shoot. Flare and metering would be the problems.
  7. When shooting into the sun, which I love to do, I always stop down - my eye, that is, not the camera - squinting to such a low "aperture value" that it's not a problem. Of course, the brighter the viewfinder or lens, the more of a problem this might be, and if you can stop down your lens on an SLR to the actual shooting aperture, you'd have to squint less.<p>
    Also, the old eclipse advice still applies: Don't look directly at it.
  8. Rob Bernhard has given you the correct answer.

    With the fisheye, the Sun will look a very tiny dot. In order to get the rest of the frame properly exposed, one has to severely over expose the Sun. As a result of this, it looks much larger in the image.

    If the lens is stopped down well enough, then the Sun would look like a radiating star, due to the shape of the aperture.
  9. Photoshop it in like he did. He has the same sun in at least two of his images. Look for yourself, they are right next to each other in his gallery. The shadows don't match the angle of the sun even if you take into account the very wide angle lens and the distortion it introduces.
  10. Jason:

    A lot of good answers thus far.

    I have a shot I did with a 400 f/2.8 stopped way down - can't remember exactly but probably f/32 - shooting right at the sun at 4:00 in the afternoon into some great clouds - shot manually & stopped down accordingly. Also had a drop-in polarizer to further slow things down.


    The entire time I was shooting I was on manual & only looked through the viewfinder when I was pressing the depth of field button.

    As a further example of others suggestions regarding using PS to include the highlight:

    This was shot during a dull day & I PS'd it to add some drama - not my usual routine but on this day I played around in PS & this was the result.

    Lastly - as others have said - using a wide lens minimizes a lot of the lens flare & is not so painful on the eyes.

  11. I am not sure why using a wide angle would help. The intensity on the retina would be the same with a 10.5 mm f/2.8 lens as with a 400mm f/2.8. What am I missing?
  12. << The intensity on the retina would be the same >>

    No it wouldn't be.
  13. The intensity in the area of the retina where the image of the sun is projected to is the same with either lens at the same aperture. However, the area exposed would be different. With the tele, you probably would get the iris to close as far as it goes, while with the wide angle it might not go all the way, in which case the damage might be worse in the wide angle case. Disclaimer: I haven't done experiments on this and don't care to, either. :) However, unless you want your peripheral vision to be gradually damaged and get blind spots I would not look into the sun with a wide angle any more than a tele, without appropriate protection.
  14. Thanks for all the great responses.

    Marv and Stephen,

    I think you're correct about him using Photoshop. It's pretty obvious in this photo that the shadow casts don't line up with the sun:
  15. I looked at the shadows on that original picture, and the shadows I saw were so short I couldn't really tell where they came from. I figured photoshop due to overall look and the "perfection" of the sun. Normally, if you have the sun in the picture like that, it does NOT make a pretty picture! Of course, if you see photos with a big moon, you know it's usually added in, and I assumed he did with the sun here. It looked to me like the sun was probably up higher, out of the picture, when he took it.

    I don't object to his adding the sun- think it does help the photo. But it's a close call. It reminds me of the Star Filters- it looks neat, but it's very easy to overdo, even in a single picture. Ditto with the starred sun here.
  16. Thanks for keeping us on topic.
  17. I've tried this a few different ways. One, to stop down and keep my DOF preview on to make things as dark as possible. Another is to take a tripod-mounted camera, point the lens towards the sun, then hold a hand up behind the viewfinder. When the sun is in the frame a round, bright dot on will show up on the hand. I take a shot, check the composition on the LCD, and recompose until I like it. Although it takes some adjustments to get the right composition, this can work and keeps you from having to expose your eye to the sun through the viewfinder.
  18. You can make photos of the Sun and/or Sun in the frame plus other subjects in the frame without photoshopping. The techniques are outlined above. This one was taken by directly pointing the lens to the Sun (around 3pm). The attached sample also was without any PS addition/deletions.
  19. One thing where my calculations failed is that the peripheral areas are blurred so if the image of the sun is smaller than the blur diameter then the intensity in the retina in the case of the sun is of course smaller than if it were properly rendered to a small spot. So maybe this is the case with the fish eye. But take precations nevertheless.
  20. The safest way is not to look through the viewfinder.

    With such a wide-angled lens, it's not really necessary either! You'll get everything in front of the camera in the picture, and DoF is so large it will all be reasonably sharp. So why look through the viewfinder?
  21. Man you better be careful, I would not risk my sight on some of these suggestions. Welding goggles is the only safe way (or some like it)to look at the sun. Stopping down the lens would not make it safe IMO. The radiation would still be sent through the camera. Geeeezzzz, you people better be careful giving info out like this,, could really do damage to someone.
  22. It can be done later too I think. I saw a similar photo on the promo of a software which creates different type of sun flare.

  23. Tripod mounted camera. For the depth of field needed the lens would be stopped down enough that focussing is not critical... simply estimate the ideal focus distance and use the distance scale on the lens to set focus. That's the trick... being able to estimate distances AND estimate the ideal focus distance to get everything in acceptable focus. Also, with the sun in frame, the camera meter is not dependable so exposure must be estimated, or determined before composing with sun in frame. Overall, the only time you need to actually look through the viewfinder is when composing, and this only takes a moment (hardest part is keeping the camera level, but there are ways to do this without looking through the viewfinder) Dark sunglasses (or other dark filters) should be enough if you keep the viewing time very short (quick composition) There is another trick: use something to block the sun while it's in frame, but still allow enough of the view to compose. This same trick can be used to meter (works great for sunrise/sunset) A finger held in front of the lens works fine. All of these suggestions assume the camera will be on a tripod.
  24. Here's one example...
  25. For those interested in "photoshopping" a sunburst into another image, here's what the sun can look like through a pinhole.
  26. I tried taking a photo of the sun, and the flare completely messed up the photo. So I took a photo with the sun blocked by a tree, then added the sun back in with software. Here is the result. A more detailed description can be found here.
  27. I don't shoot the sun very often unless it's close to the horizon (and hence much of the
    has been filtered out by a lot of atmosphere). I share Ilkka's concern about retinal
    and I think he's correct that you'll get equal sunlight intensity with an f2.8 lens of any
    focal length (or, of course, any other shared maximum aperture). But you'll potentially do
    more damage
    with, say, a 400/2.8 than with a 10/2.8 simply because the image of the sun will be much
    larger with the tele
    than with the wideagle, so you'll be subjecting a much greater area of retina to the intense
    light of
    the sun's image.

    If anyone wants to try shooting the midday sun, proceed with considerable caution.
  28. An interesting alternative (from another thread).

    Probably not too hot for critical focus, but it would protect your eyes.


  29. Placing a peice of B+W film negayive over the viewfinder while shooting into the sun, I believe is very effective. I've been shooting into the sun using this method for years and I still have very good eyes!
  30. Meant to attach this image.

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