Live-view can prevent blindness

Seriously, it can!

Read on to find out…

Yesterday was the last day to enter the Inaugural 50mm Experiment Photo Challenge. In that post I mentioned a few ideas on different ways of getting creative when taking photos of plants. Thanks to everyone who participated – there are some really great shots! I expect the results to be posted within a week.

I decided to take my own advice and try to take some shots with the sun as a backlight to a flower. I’ve done this before, but not with a 50mm. The photos below are a mixture of technique and luck. Click on any picture to see a larger version.


When I first tried to frame the shot, the sun pierced through the lens so brightly that I had to take my eye out of the viewfinder. It was painful! I wasn’t sure how I was going to deal with this, as just guessing on framing wasn’t going to get me close enough to what I was looking for.

So that’s where live-view comes in. A relatively recent fuctionality added to DSLRS, you can now use the LCD screen on the back to compose your photos instead of just having use of the viewfinder. And no matter how bright the sun is, the LCD doesn’t have the power to burn your eyes; hence it can prevent your eyes from becoming blinded by the sun!

It still isn’t ideal, as the exact location of the sun isn’t always clear on the LCD which is where the luck came in. Initially I wanted to get the sun right behind the flower, but as you can see, it didn’t happen for me very often (only two shots, and one that I chose for the set above).

I was handholding my camera and using the LCD to get the sun in the frame while trying to minimize the time that I was pointing the lens at the sun. The reason I was worried about pointing to too long is because just as the sun can damage our eyes if we view it directly, now that same powerful energy was hitting the sensor that allows my camera to take photos. I figure that it can’t be great for the sensor to be exposed to this intensity of light for long periods of time. So as much as I’d love to say that I picked out the exact relationship between the sun and the flower, much of that was taking a best guess and then relying on a bit of luck.


The technique part was how I achieved the starburst and sun rays. This is not a photoshop technique or a special filter. I achieved this using a small aperture (f18 to be exact – not to be confused with f1.8). The quality (number of points) depends on the number of blades in the aperture. Some lenses have a fairly basic starburst pattern, but I was really happy with the pattern that I got from my 50mm. You do lose a bit of quality when using such a small aperture on most DSLRs, but in my eyes, the effect of the sun is more important than the fine details of the flowers.

If I had to choose, I’d say that I prefer the sepia coloured set rather than the full colour set. Which do you prefer?



14 Comments on “Live-view can prevent blindness”

  1. rachel jane says:

    The sepia is impressive! I also like the middle colour photo, but that might be the composition itself!

  2. Danielle says:

    Love these!!
    Did you know that there will be a total lunar eclipse on the night of December 10?? I’d love to see what shots you get from that subject.

    • Matt Korinek says:

      Thanks Danielle!

      I did not know about the lunar eclipse. Actually a couple years ago I took some lunar eclipse photos with my old Canon S3 IS, turned out decently actually. I don’t know how it would work with a 50mm, but if I remember I’ll give it a try! 🙂

  3. vk says:

    I also prefer the sepia. I guess it is all about fit. The peeling bark was just bursting with colours, this one looks better muted.

    • Matt Korinek says:

      It is definitely about fit – in today’s post about the Fordomatic you can see how I go through some different “treatments” before I decide on the one I like the best. Other times I have the treatment that I’m likely to do in mind when I capture the photo!

  4. I prefer the sepia as well, but the center color one is amazing also! Great work 🙂

  5. Marg Garrett says:

    Wow…I love these posts. Mostly I do not understand…. but I am intrigued to be sure … enough to learn more.

  6. […] out the 50mm experiment’s take on the reader photo challenge! Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Leave a Comment by […]

  7. bananabatman says:

    Sepia for me, though this isn’t what I would expect to say with flower shots.

  8. Matt Korinek says:

    Looks like sepia is a clear winner with everyone! I also wouldn’t usually think of using a sepia treatment on flowers. I tried a black and white with some colour (like the car photos I posted today), but I didn’t find I liked it as much as the straight conversion to sepia without anything to frilly.

  9. […] someone else may have picked a different winner, as the choosing process is very subjective. My own take on the challenge was posted two days ago. I think that’s the great thing about photography! Even if we were all […]

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