Unwrapping a Starburst


A starburst in a photograph is caused by the flare captured when you point your camera towards a shiny object, such as a street light. One of the questions amateur photographers often ask is how to get more points. First, you must remove any polarizing filter, as they are meant to counteract flare. Second, you must close down your aperture as far as it will go. If your limit is f/22 then be sure to shoot there. By doing so you will help insure that you will get the most number of points your lens is capable of producing.

The exposure will also play an important part of the equation as well. If you are photographing the sun, you'll likely need to be a bit under exposed. When photographing a bright object like the sun, you will also notice that the image will already be darker and already under exposed. If you under expose even further, which is what is being suggested, the sun look more like a star.

Note that it is your lens and not your camera that is responsible for producing flare. The number of points that you get is dependent on how your lens was manufactured. It depends on the shape and the number of aperture leaves the lens has. Therefore, every lens will be different. By the way, this has nothing to do with the actual lens quality or clarity; apertures are just manufactured differently.