Ah, the classic sunstar-from-behind-a-building photo. It’s one I’ve done many times before and yet it continues to be the type of picture I really enjoy revisiting. When I took this I had no special intention of making the particular picture you see here but I’m quite happy with how it all turned out. At the time I shot this I was running an errand at work and, as I often do, I brought my camera with me. On this occasion it was my D750 + 50mm combo which I knew would give me a little wider field of view than my D7100, so when I saw the sun poking out from behind the stairwell on a parking garage I thought it might make for a slightly more interesting photo than I would normally get with my crop sensor D7100. For me the biggest consideration here was of a compositional nature: there were three elements at play, and I had to decide how I wanted them to all interact within the frame. The parking garage, the sky, and the sun all come together to form a cohesive whole, and I had to figure out where I would stand and point my camera in order to get the shot I was looking for. (FYI, nothing here was cropped. What you see is what I got.)
Ironically the first thing I decided was the aperture of my lens; when shooting a starburst like this you need to stop your lens down quite a bit to get the light to make that cool star pattern which usually requires something around f/11 to f/16. I set my camera to f/13 and moved around until I could just barely see the sun poking out from behind the roof of the stairwell, which is key for a shot like this. If you point your camera straight at the sun you will just get a giant overexposed blob, so you have to get just a bit of the sun peeking out from behind something else like a tree or building.
After deciding my aperture I tried a couple different places to stand that would still show a bit of the sun and took a grand total of five images from slightly different angles. The sky was actually quite overcast which meant I was able to pull out a great deal of blue color detail in Lightroom that would have normally been way, way too overexposed to salvage and I also used the Healing brush to take out about a half dozen little brown spots on the concrete side of the structure.
To me this picture is somewhat of an exercise in how to convey a sense of size or create a particular mood, as well as a reminder of how much I have grown as a photographer in the last several years. If I had made this image in 2012 I would have taken 50 shots from all sorts of angles and tried all kinds of different settings, but here I only took five and it was over in less than a minute. These days I have a much better idea of how to control my camera to get the shot I want, and I try to avoid taking dozens and dozens of photos of the same scene to get that one perfect shot. There is no such thing as the perfect image, and instead I try to get photos that I like and with which I am well pleased, and then go back to my life. That’s what happened here and I hope you like this shot too :)