How to create the starburst effect on your photographs.
I get lots of questions about how to create the starburst effect on photographs, some people think I do this in post production but the truth is I do it all in the camera in the field, and you can too.
Getting this effect is not nearly as hard as you think it is. I recently did an article with Nikon about this particular topic. You can see the full article here.
A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets. But one man is still trying to find ideal places to shoot night images. He’s Edin Chavez, and the starburst effect is his intention—but so is getting the reflections and heightened textures of Central Park in the rain.
The cold, windblown rain falling right after sunset that December day drove tourists from the benches and the roadway to give Edin a picture-perfect scene for his D800 and AF-S FX Zoom-NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8 lens. “But with the wind, no really long exposures were possible,” he says. “I set 2.5 seconds and had to bump up my ISO to 1250 to shoot at f/10 for the starburst and for the depth of field to make the leading lines work to [the] best advantage.”
Edin shoots a good number of starbursts, so he was confident of his settings. “I knew that between f/8 and f/16 I’d get a pretty decent light burst and a decent depth of field for the whole cold, wet feel of the park.” Manual exposure and Matrix metering completed the setup. “I did a three-bracket series using exposure compensation,” he adds, “but for this photo, which was the best one I got, there was no exposure comp. I just checked the LCD.”
Edin’s general advice for both cityscape and countryside starburst images: “Experiment until you’re comfortable enough to know what you’re doing and what you’re likely to get, and then confirm it on the back of the camera. Generally, the smaller the aperture, the better the result. On a nice day, maybe f/32, but not on that day in the park.”