Lights and Tones Blog

ON LOCATION: 25/02/18 - Sunset Without Sunstar

I haven't been out for a walk for a while now. The weather has been terrible recently. Either it was raining or it was bitterly cold. During our regular weekly swimming trip I always notice a nice looking lone tree along the road. I planned to shoot it. After some research regarding the position of the Sun it turned out that the best time of the year for doing it was from February to early March. This is when I can include the setting Sun nicely into the composition. As this week the "Beast from the East" (a polar vortex) arrived from Siberia bringing very cold and dry air, the conditions have become optimal for a clear sky. Sunday afternoon I jumped into the car with my gear and drove to the location. It's situated on the outskirt of a nearby village, Long Compton. I expected a bit more clouds but this time there were none. Because of this I decided to reduce the sky in the composition by using 16:9 panoramic ratio. As the tree was further away and I couldn't go closer my Loxia lenses (21/2.8 and 35/2) stayed in the bag. I had to use my Zeiss Sonnar 55mm F1.8 lens. This has a magic rendering and handles backlight situations beautifully. But because it was made for buttery smooth bokeh it has rounded aperture blades which are the biggest enemy of the sunstars. I still had some hopes. Unfortunately I couldn't get it this time. Even stopping down the lens to f22 with disappearing Sun on the horizon it didn't want to shape a star. Accepting the sad truth I kept a series of bracketed shots taken at f16 which I edited together for the final image. Here you can see the result. Eventually it isn't that bad as I thought.