Upper Falls of Yellowstone NP

Sunburst Falls

       On a late evening in Yellowstone national Park, I was having trouble thinking of an area that would be properly photogenic in the lighting conditions of the setting sun. I made my way up to Upper Falls, the waterfall was grand, but its visibility could have been better. Trees in the foreground made it impossible for me to frame the shot the way that I initially wanted to, but because of the setting sun, I was able to reevaluate the possibilities. I knew if I could not get around the trees, I would have to work with them, so I did just that. I used a large pine tree in the foreground to obscure the sun enough to create an opportunity to use a technique called a 'sunburst'. I positioned Upper Falls on the lower left vertical fourth line and lower horizontal third line, while placing the 'Sunburst' on the opposite upper right vertical fourth line and upper horizontal third line to balance the composition.  I have never seen a photograph using the 'sunburst' technique at Upper Falls yet, so I believe this is the first one. I hope enjoy you all 109 ft of it!

Technical details: Canon 7D, Canon 24-105L lens (@24mm), ISO 100, F/22, Three shot HDR with the middle exposure at 1/13th.

       'Sunburst' How to do it: When implementing such a technique, the most important part is to obscure the light coming into the lens, either from something like tree branches, or the side of a tree/building/etc. When using a solid object, obstruct half or more of the light sorce to let only part of the light hit the lens.
       The light will come into the lens and refract at each point where the aperture blades meet one another. If one has a lens with nine aperture blades, it will produce an eight tipped 'sunburst'
       The final step is to control the size and shape of the tips of the 'sunburst'. Once one has found an angle of view that is about right for the technique (found after moving side to side in small increments) then it is time to manipulate the size and shape by adjusting your F/Stop. A large opening (F/4) will produce a small 'sunburst' with open tips. A small opening (F/22) will produce a much larger and sharper 'sunburst'.

I hope this information is useful for those who would like to use the technique in the future.

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