View Full Version : Sun shot

john reed
6-Aug-2016, 19:29
I have been experimenting with including the sun into some of my photographs and have met with miserable results. After seeing (and buying an expensive coffee table book... first time) the photographs of Mark Brant (look him up if you've not seen his work... fantastic!) I went out and bought a 720nm filter. Since this is classed as an opaque filter I was able to compose shots with the sun included without blinding myself. The results, though, were less than spectacular.

It appears that the anti-halation layer of Ilford HP-5 is not adequate to overcome the direct image of the sun. The image is a blurred blob rather than a disc or point. Has anyone had experience shooting the sun while retaining vision in both eyes? My next attempts were going to be circular polarizer or UV but I thought I'd ask arouband first.

Any suggestions other than 'seek professional help'.


6-Aug-2016, 19:53
A big issue that causes most of the problems with this type of shooting is the atmosphere itself... The air gets churned up by the heat of the sun, where it looks like you are shooting through rippling water... Waiting for dry conditions earlier in the day before the heat convection currents have set up will help... Might be a better cold weather or high mountaintop project...

Steve K

6-Aug-2016, 22:32
I have success shooting the setting sun over landscapes with slide film using a split grad filter and metering off the sun's corona with a spot meter. The corona is the sun's atmosphere which is much hotter (millions of degrees) than the surface (5000K) just off the disk.


7-Aug-2016, 05:06
Shoot later in the day. Use a film+developer that handles extreme highlights well (I'd suggest tmax400 with pmk or pyrocat hd). Use a simple lens like a tessar or triplet that will not have much for internal reflections and has a circular aperture because you do not want a 5 or 7 sided sun or sun flare. I don't have any problem looking at the sun on a groundglass; no different than driving a car facing the sun.


reflections of sun are good any time of day.

john reed
7-Aug-2016, 06:54
Thanks for the info. I'm on Mt. Desert Island now and will try some sunset shots this evening. A front came through last night so the air is very clear. I also have some delta 100 so I can the t-max option ( I know it isn't t-max but along the same lines). I'll also try different filtration like a #29 and a polo as well as the 720nm(#89a). I'll post the results in a couple of weeks.

Thanks again


7-Aug-2016, 07:40
Hi John,

I have had some degrees of success shooting landscapes with the sun or direct sun rays passing through the clouds using Cokin ND Grad filter,

https://c4.staticflickr.com/4/3823/9665954979_0f0949308b_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/fJ9xEc)MG_8027_cefx (https://flic.kr/p/fJ9xEc) by Renato Salles (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sallesrenato/), no Flickr


https://c8.staticflickr.com/9/8521/8557488423_6956428836_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/e3cnaR)PRO13-1613 (https://flic.kr/p/e3cnaR) by Renato Salles (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sallesrenato/), no Flickr

Those were made with my DSLR, but if I would go with film my bet is the same approach would have succeeded: ND Grad and N-1 for contrast control. The exposure was set using Center Weight Average, so I think a "behind the filter" average measure - maybe bracketing -, = and + exposures values have also worked.



8-Aug-2016, 06:55
A not-too-long lens and a small aperture usually works for me. And I second the advice of using a film that can handle a large subject brightest range and a developer that won't blow out highlights. I'm not so sure about delta 100 being the best imaginable choice (in my limited experience, it can block up pretty easily in some developers), but it should be feasible nonetheless.

Another 'trick' is to frame the shot in such a way that the disc if the sun is partly obscured by something, yielding a sharp but small light source that can make for a pleasing sunstar (if that's what you're looking for).

I rarely if ever use filters btw. If you insist, you'll probably want ones with excellent coatings. I don't bother as the only filters I have are cheap ones and will create incurable flare and an army of ghosts.

8-Aug-2016, 12:34
Here's one that I shot looking straight into the setting sun from Lands End Beach in San Francisco:


You can barely see on this low resolution scan the brown pelicans watching the sunset on the far seamount. I took one a few minutes before the above when the sun was a little higher and the tide, coming in at the time, was a little further out and the immediate foreground was wet sand in which the sun dropped dead and a foam-lined wave coursing out on the left. But the pelicans weren't there and I can't put my hands on it at the moment. This was taken on Velvia 50 with a Pentax 67II fitted with a 75mm lens and a B+W circular polarizer. I metered off the corona - the yellow halo surrounding the white disk which is visible. Pentax lens are much less prone to flare than other lens thanks to their SMC coating.


22-Aug-2016, 23:32
wow good for information, pictures u shared r really v cool and fantastic

30-Aug-2016, 10:29
So has anyone used a reverse ND for sun shots? I have one and have been trying over and over (shooting Velvia and Provia) but can never get the exposure right. My last round the sky (before the sun rose) was "good" but there is nothing on the foreground. I'm at a loss how to meter for this. I guess I should make a new thread, but trying to figure how I can use this filter for shots with the sun in it within the limited range of slide film.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

31-Aug-2016, 04:06
Very nice shot and Good job Renato.

31-Aug-2016, 05:58
Thanks, Anilajain,