I'm so glad you found me! I'm a San Francisco photographer, and this blog charts my journey in the ever-evolving world of photography. One of the things I love about photography is that it's a journey, not a destination. I'm constantly learning and meeting wonderful people. Please peruse the blog to your heart's content, then check out my website and feel free to contact me! (I love hearing from you.)

“Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow." – Imogen Cunningham

“A portrait is not made in the camera but on either side of it.” – Edward Steichen


I went out walking because I wanted to capture some of the wonderful slanty San Francisco afternoon light. It's like butttah, people. Yellow, directional, not too bright. It's gorgeous. And because I live in the heart of the downtown, this light goes away at about 4 pm. The tall buildings around me simply swallow it up.

Now, I didn't know what I wanted to shoot, but I knew this light was the key. And I knew I wanted it as a backlight. I saw it in the park, behind these trees, and I stopped down to f/16 to get those rays of light nice and defined (did you know that's how you do that? You won't see the rays of light at a small aperture number), and took the shot just as the man was between those two trees.

And I love that shot. Love it. I love the light, where the man is, the green, the nice halo the trees are getting, everything!

But I knew I had to try to make a sunstar. It was perfect light for sunstars, and I've been not so satisfied with my efforts to date.
Quick and dirty recipe for sunstars:

Step 1: Find some slanty morning or afternoon light. You need the sun pretty low in the sky. Winter is perfect for this, the farther north you live, the better. (Part of why sunstars were difficult in Thailand - but no excuses here!)

Step 2: Point your camera toward the light. You need the sun in the frame. It's that simple. No sunstar without the sun.

Step 3: Stop down like you mean it. At least f/22. I tried this at f/16, and no dice. (I'm talking about aperture, folks. Bring that aperture number up. Make the hole your camera gets light through as small as possible. This has some downsides, but that's a subject for a different post.) If you're using a point and shoot, the highest aperture your camera has, maybe f/8 or f/11. Set your shutter speed and ISO so that you get a proper exposure, and can hand hold the camera if that's what you're doing.

Step 4: Partially obscure the sun. This is the important step. It's not going to work if you don't do this. Use a building (or a tree, like I did), and get rid of most of the orb of the sun. Why? Don't ask me. That's a topic for a different post as well. Maybe written by someone else.

Step 5: Take a picture! You know how to do that, right? Mash your finger down on the big button on top of your camera.

Step 6: Go have a beer. You've worked hard, you deserve it. (Note: this step is not essential, but it makes the whole process a lot more fun!)

If you have any great sunstar images, please link to them in the comments. And let me know, which of the above images do you like better? I think I'm leaning toward the first one, even though the sun isn't in the frame.

Jason D. Moore Guest Post

I'm guest posting over at Jason D. Moore's blog today.

Here's the link, come see what's cooking.

And you might want to stay a while and look around. He's got a pretty great blog, chock full of photography and Photoshop info, and some contests you can enter.