When photographing directly into the sun, especially with zoom lenses, it seems like lens flare is almost impossible to avoid. I thought I would share a little trick that I have used for the last few years for eliminating flare.
I capture two images, one that includes the sun and flare, and one where I block the sun and eliminate the flare as you can see above. I then combine the two images using photomerge in Photoshop keeping most of the image on the right except for the portion of the image where you see my fingers. Here is the end result:
It is important that both images are of the same exposure – I make sure I’m working in manual mode because your camera’s meter is going to come up with two very different exposures for these two scenes. And of course a tripod so that the two images contain identical compositions is imperative.
I used to stand in front of my camera and block the sun with a lens cap. The lens cap made a perfectly round shadow that I could then position just barely over the front of the lens. When it comes to your eyes, I’m sure this is the safest way of doing it, but it does take more work in Photoshop. Lately, I have been looking through the camera with my hand out in front until it is positioned to block the sun – I wonder what passerby’s must be thinking as they see me doing this – is he really photographing his fingers in front of that pretty arch? 🙂