Grok Photography

Photos and words by Petter Senften

It’s full of stars!

Sorry, silly reference to a great movie but I just couldn’t resist. Below is a 100% crop from this photo. I just wanted to show you the stars surrounding her profile, I really like them and didn’t notice them until I imported the image into Lightroom and started editiong.

Light-stars is something a lot of people try to create in their photos. There are more or less silly filters you can screw onto your lens but most lenses are perfectly capable of creating stars like this just fine without such boring nonsense. All you need is pinpoints of very bright light – in this case the setting sun reflecting off of roiling water. Of course you need to be fairly knowledgeable about the lens itself to know when it will start to create stars from bright points of light, assuming you intentionally want the effect. The quality of the stars also depend on the quality of the lens – although you might get really great stars from a crappy lens or the other way around as well. You’ll need to experiment a bit to find the butterzone.

The 25-year old Nikkor AF 35-70/2.8 which I shot this photo with creates beautiful stars at f8 or smaller. You can also see examples of the stars it creates in this photo. I’ve also used the old Nikkor 105/2.5 to create some great looking stars as well – in that case I used a fairly long shutter-speed of 8 seconds to help the lightstars fill out as nice as possible.

There, off you go! I suggest trying your lens out at f8 or smaller aperture. A longer exposure will help bring out the stars as well. Have fun!


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