Spring Rain [53/366]

Oh, right. It's still February. Still, the crocuses are starting to poke their heads above the dirt and the smell of earth is filling the air.  Let's hope Mother Nature - ever the practical joker up here in New England - doesn't decide to remind us what a proper snowstorm feels like.

Despite the balmy weather, I created this little scene in my little studio.  Why? Control.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="700" caption="Hasselblad 503cw / Imacon Ixpress v96c with Hasselblad 120 f4 CF Makro-Plannar #16 tube - f5.6 @500th 50iso"]Spring Rain [53-366][/caption]Flare is the effect of a light source hitting your lens' optical elements and isn't something to take lightly (pun intended).  It's highly unpredictable, picky about your lens' optical quality, and destroys any hope of Photoshop playing Superman and saving the day.  It is, however, a wonderful tool in creating mood.

I used it here to make up a warm, almost summery atmosphere.  I want the viewer to feel like they are outdoors in the late afternoon during a little rain storm and happen upon this little daisy enjoying the rain drops.  I had to be careful with the flare.

Flare is affected by many elements, primarily aperture and focus.  Aperture adjusts the amount of light spilling into the lens while focus moves the lens elements back and forth through the tube.  The quality of your lens is also key to producing "good" flare.  Low quality lenses will produce smudges of light.  Almost as if someone ran their fingers through their hair and touched the lens.  High quality lenses produce more even flares that seldom distort too much of your image.

(Little side note: Those of you who buy those big-expensive I'm-a-pro lenses and then put a not-the-most-expensive UV lens filter on it to protect the front elements?  Yeah. Basically, you're turning your big expensive lens into a cheap one.  Flare eats filters for breakfast. Just sayin'.)

Photoshop is a wonderful tool, but it can't create reality.  Even some of the most astounding pick-your-jaw-up-off-the-floor effects do not have the kind of detail and nuances found in the real world.  I see it mostly with bokeh (aka circle of confusion), but also with flare.

So, if you decide to play with fire be sure to watch what you're doing.  It's easy to get burned.