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on Jun 24, 2013 in WRP Ed Zone

Your Photography Have Flare?

Alabama Hills 0753

Flare has been around since the first lens was attached to a body. What causes flare is really not a mystery, it’s a simple thing. Light striking the front element of the lens, either directly or at a glancing blow. Most lenses come today with a shade to help prevent flare but if you never point your lens towards the sun, than you have nothing to worry about. But that kind of photographic philosophy is kinda boring. The flare you see in these images is the most common. What I make fun of by calling it UFOs, Unidentified Flaring Objects, typically are color orbs that radiate out from the point of flare. You can even create these in Photoshop and there is a great video out making fun of all the computer generated flare in the last Star Trek movie.


The flare you see here is one that I went out and actually looked for in the photograph’s creation. It was used to bring more drama to the photo. The top photo demonstrates how not to do it though. While I got the overall effect I wanted, I blew it. See all the little prisms of light about the photo? That’s dirt on the filter and is scattering light. If I had just had my wits about me, I would have simply cleaned my filter and I would have had the desired flare I wanted. The next photo, you can see I did clean the filter and the orbs appeared as desired. Why would I intentionally try to capture flare? It’s one of those what if moments, when I say to myself “What if I introduced flare, would it be cool?” Of course, those moments when I do that and it doesn’t work, you ain’t seeing those photos. But if I don’t keep “playing” with flare as a photographic element, the moment I really need it, I might not be in my bag of tricks like this photo.

Heavenly Bodies 0035

Shooting heavenly bodies, I wanted to include the moon and at the same time, have that “SiFi” look to the photo without using Photoshop. I like challenging myself, especially when it turns out. The best part about this heavenly body photo, what I was most proud about was, I remembered to clean the filter! While flare is typically something we work hard to avoid, it might just be something you might want to add as a creative element. Always, always be careful when you’re pointing your lens towards the sun and your eye. But have fun. You might just have flare in your photography!