Thursday, December 29, 2011

P22: positioning the sun

Hiding the sun in the frame, behind something large enough to obscure the sun ball but not enough to block the sun rays, is a technique I have been using frequently during the last few months.  I want the impact of the brightness of a sun low in the sky, but not the full glare of the unobstructed disk.  I have used a number of techniques to reduce the direct glare, fog and trees being the main ones.  The suggestion in the text is to use tree leaves, however, in late December that is not really an option for me any longer.  I have, however, used this in the past:

In each of these photographs prepared for "The Art of photography" I have used the sun to back light the leaves and make them glow.  This is not quite the effect looked for here, but is a useful use of direct sun to create dramatic effect in photographs.

More recently i have been using the sun as a point source of light in my transient light set.  In the first image I have very deliberately exposed for the foreground blowing out the sky.  However, with very little sky in the image this is not a major issue.

In the  next image I have placed the sun directly behind the large tree to the left of frame, providing a nice graduated fall off in the darkness of the sky as we move to the right of the frame.

For the next two I was beginning to explore the shadowing of the sun on a frozen reflective ground, the warmth of the sun being captured in the grassy field.  In both cases the sun is too central in the frame and so the rendition of the sky is not so strong as when I placed the sun in a corner of the frame.

An alternative approach to a centrally lit shot is to expose for the background, in which case the foreground is very dark and detail is lost in the shadows.  Whilst dramatic, this is not as satisfying an image.

Placing the sun to one side of the frame and then obscuring it in some way can produce dramatic effect, although one that can easily be overdone.  I do want to include an image of this nature in my submission for Assignment 3, but need to do so with great care.  The challenge is to balance the strong sun lit image with the softer misty shots.


  1. To capture the tonality of the sky it is important to diminish the impact of the sun by using a wide angle lens, obscuring the sun ball and placing the sun into the corner of the frame

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