Great Balls of Fire


I continue to take my photo walks in the (relative) cool of the early morning hours. In addition to that luscious golden light, this time of day provides the opportunity to play with sun flare. Reflected back from shiny surfaces, the low-angled sunlight refracts within the lens of my camera, creating starbursts of light.

Lens flare used to be considered a mistake, an effect to be avoided. Today, many photographers purposefully seek out this phenomenon for the golden, dreamy mood it creates. So far, my successful experiments capture reflected sunlight, as opposed to backlighting my subject by shooting directly into the sun.

I suddenly found my archive peppered with sun flare images. Like my experience with lampposts, that initial noticing is like taking off blinders – I became enraptured with that dazzling light and trying to capture its brilliance.

I am still learning how to handle these balls of fire in a way that contributes to the overall image rather than overwhelming it. It is a daily challenge, with as many failures as successes. Here are a few of the good ones.

I have to confess – there are times when I feel like a ping-pong ball, bouncing haphazardly from one enthusiasm to another – Oh, lampposts! Look, shadows! Gasp, sun flare! I question my flitting about, dabbling in one thing, then another. It seems that after three years of (almost) daily shooting, I would know what kind of photographer I am.

And yet, perhaps that is the answer. Through dabbling and tinkering, experimenting and searching, trying on one thing, then another – I am indeed finding out what kind of photographer I am.


Posted on July 12, 2012, in Photography and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Oh..yes. Great big beautiful balls of golden fire. Love these..especially the first image!

  2. Oh how I can relate! It has been three years of almost daily shooting as well and I’m still loving all kinds of photography. I dabble here, dabble there…but I guess this is what we are suppose to do? Still figuring it out too…Really like the last capture!

  3. These are gorgeous — I especially love the last, in black and white. Stunning.

    Even though you may feel that your interests are shifting, I still see a clear and unique “vision” in all your photographs. I recognize them as yours, if that makes sense. Maybe it’s like writing style — you have your style, your voice, but you shift the plot lines and the characters with each new “story” that you tell.

  4. I’m impressed with all these sun flare images. It is fun when taboos of prior times are exploded and allowed.
    I’m glad I don’t have to choose just one of this group. Each time I look at them, I’m drawn to a different one. The stark horizontal line in the first, the pattern of curving reflections in the second, the sun flares lining up along a diagonal line in the third, the golden light of the fourth, the cloud reflections in the last. Wow.
    Do I recall correctly that some months back you were wondering if you were a boring photographer for always shooting the same type of photos?

    • Anita – yes, you are probably right 🙂 Just as I flit among subjects, my worries about my photography tend to flit from one extreme to another as well. But I suppose I will claim artistic license – this blog is the repository for both my fears and my triumphs, the good and the bad, as I walk my creative journey. I so appreciate that you are along for the ride.

  5. How do you choose the headline image? Each of these is stunning, but I am especially drawn to the bricks-and-window photo. The glow from the early morning light, the ruggedness of the building, and the reflections in the larger windows are all very appealing.

  6. What a pleasure it is to watch your photographic explorations Brenda. I love your insightful self-examination and your results, like those above, blow me away.

  7. Hi Friend….wow! Love these. Especially that b/w wit the smokey clouds and the blue and pink tones of sunrise. Yay, you’re out there in my light. You will make it work (you’re already making it work) and grow to love it. Funny, in Cuba I had to shoot midday a lot and found that frustrating, but you have to go with what’s being offered.
    Hope all is well. I’m here and there on the blog visits and posting trying to get caught up AND weed through more than 4,000 images-and that’s after already deleting 3,500 yucky ones. Wish me luck!

  8. Oh my gosh, Brenda. These are lovely – that second one especially gets my heart racing. Welcome to the sun-flare club!

  9. Wow, these images are gorgeous. Love the light and the sun flare, just beautiful. I dabble about too – including with photoshop effects and creative layouts as well as my photography (as you know!) – and although it does sometimes feel incredibly fickle, I love it too. And I love it in others – always inspiring to see someone else having a play with something I haven’t really focussed on. Once again, I’m off to have a play with this now too!

  10. I love these, sun flare can add so much to an image & these shots are all stunning. I don’t think that you need to stick to one type of photography, i think that creativity is fluid and it’s nice to play around with different ideas- and there’s so much inspiration out there!

  11. It keeps things interesting, doesn’t it? In Boulder we talked about the infinite number of perceptions, and once you start really opening to see, it can be overwhelming almost. I think you are a wonderful photographer, in love with the world around you.

    Have you seen the Bill Cunningham documentary? I love how he says he’s not a photographer. He just photographs what he sees.

  12. Brenda these are a joy to view my favourite is the first love it.

  13. Stunning images! I’m drawn to the second on with all the beautiful lines. I also love the next to last one…gorgeous golden hues on the glass blocks and wall!!

I greatly appreciate your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: