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We are focusing on building a community, bringing the Mortal Muses photographers together, and making the world a bit smaller. On this page, you will find mission: MUSE, muse university and special features.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

muse university - let the light shine!

let the light shine: tips on shooting starbursts
by muses ashley featuring karli from the bonnie 5

I have recently become obsessed with capturing starbursts in my photos. I'd like to think it has something to do with the sun shining more and more each day, and that makes me happy. I first came across this effect several months ago when my friend Karli posted the night image below.  
ISO 200, f/14, 6 sec
I quickly learned that this effect is rather easy to achieve, and it all starts with a tiny aperture (I prefer a minimum f-stop of f/20). You can certainly achieve the effect if your aperture is open wider (such as Karli's shot above), but it'll likely have more of a glow rather than big starburst lines. 

If you're shooting a night scene, you'll want to use a tripod since your shutter speed will be slower to achieve proper exposure. I also recommend a remote shutter to prevent camera shake.
Sunburst BW RS
ISO 125, f/25, 1/160 sec.
During daylight hours, try your best to not to point your camera directly at the sun as it can damage your lens or your eyes. You can do this by partially blocking out the sun with another object such as tree limbs, blinds, or anything else that might provide visual interest.
ISO 800, f/22, 1/160 sec.
You may also try using your hand to block the sun entirely so that you can adjust your settings (if you meter off of the sun, you'll overexpose the shot). Once you're satisfied with your settings, just remove your hand and let the light shine!
Sunburst RS
ISO 125, f/25, 1/60 sec.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Remember, tiny apertures. Now go out and shoot some starbursts!

 by Ashley of Ramblings and Photos
and featuring Karli of The Bonnie 5

Join us every weekend for a new muse university post! 
If you would like to provide a post for this series, please contact kat [at] kateyeview.com


  1. Great tips! I really like the street photo, very cool!

  2. This is so helpful and I look forward to going out today to try it. Thank you!

  3. I've got to file that away in the back of my brain and give it a try... if the sun ever comes back... ;)

  4. love this post ashley. i have never intentionally tried this before--really paying attention to my settings. i will have to use your method soon. thanks for the tips.

  5. Thanks for this post and the great tips! I love to include starbrusts in my shots. They speak to mystery, the promise of "more', and they're just plain fun!

  6. That last photo is AMAZING!!!

  7. love this so much thanks gonna go find some dazzling stars