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12-02-2009, 09:29 PM   #1
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intentional lens flare...

I know this is probably an undesirable thing in most cases, but say I wanted to create lens flare in a picture for artistic purposes. How do I intentionally make a lens flare? Everytime I've gotten flare its an accident and I never saw any dramatic indication of it happening in the viewfinder.

12-02-2009, 09:44 PM   #2
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I've found the most pronounced flare occurs when the strong naked light source is slightly off-axis to the lens's axis - that is to say the light source is featured at one of the corners of the image as opposed to being near the centre.
12-03-2009, 03:18 AM   #3
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ash is correct, strong point source of light int he field of view. many lenses are critical to this and if you want effect in the photo, place the source at the corner of the frame. Taking off a lens hood also helps because the hood protects against sources outside the field of view from hitting the lens causing flare
12-03-2009, 12:40 PM   #4
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Flare occurs when light from an off axis source is scattered at the the various elements in the lens and some of the scattered light makes its way to the film or sensor. If you want to get a lot of obvious flare then take a picture of a relatively dark scene with a very bright light source just outside the field of view and as mentioned above remove any lens hoods. An example would be a picture of a scene in the shade with the sun just outside the field of view. The key will be to make sure that the bright light source is a lot brighter than the scene as only a small ammount of light will be scattered towards the image plane.

12-03-2009, 01:15 PM   #5
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I have done this a couple of times for lens tests, not artistic purposes. If you have some flexibility in lens choice, an inexpensive third-party zoom meant for film is good. Better lenses have better coatings and design to reduce the flare you want. Zooms also have a lot of elements, for more dramatic effects. A film lens allows you to have the light source outside the APS-C frame, yet still within the lens's field of view to create flare. I think wide-angle lenses will make the setup easier, depending on your light source.

Here's two examples from my tests. The first is a Vivitar 28mm f2.0. Although it's a prime, it's a fast retrofocus design so it has a lot of elements like a zoom, and old enough so the coatings aren't perfect. (A Pentax SMC prime in this test had almost no flare.)



The next lens is the Takumar Bayonet 135mm f2.5. I tried to use the same sun setup for this test, but it was too hard to aim the lens so the sun was just out of frame, without spending a lot of time looking at the sun through a telephoto (bad idea). The setup here is a Maglite aimed right at the lens in a dark hallway. Again, the SMC Pentax lenses had far less interesting flare. This lens has only 4 elements so the pattern is boring, but plenty of flare.

12-03-2009, 01:22 PM   #6
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The first shot looks a bit like jelly fish in the sky. I will have to try this sometime with some of my lens hoard.
12-04-2009, 10:11 AM   #7
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+4 for the off-axis / corner light.

I get best results by taking a multicoated lens stopped down some, a polarizer + lenshood, the sun, and putting the sun into one of the two top corners of the frame. By moving in and out you can actually see the flare coming in. It's best when it's just coming in. In PP you can bring it out a little more by pushing contrast (just like if you would try to push colors).

"Best" for me is something like this,



Choose your favourite flare flavour here, Flare appreciation on FM Forums
Good luck with those flares,
Georg
12-04-2009, 04:44 PM   #8
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Here's one I took with the first version 18-55 kit lens set to 43mm at f/7.1. Just what Georg said - better coatings, lens hood and polarizers help you achieve the somewhat controlled flare (without losing the contrast entirely).


12-04-2009, 06:51 PM   #9
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I really suppose it depends on what you want the flare to look like too



Sun was a little more towards the center

This was a Tamron 70-300 Ld Di, no hood, no polarizer.
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