Sunburst over Jackson Lake
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, 2014
What I wanted in this image: the sun setting in a gap between the major peaks, a starburst effect for the sun, and fine detail in the foreground snow. How I got what I wanted: I watched the sun's trajectory, drove to a decent starting point between the Jackson Lake Dam and Signal Mountain, and then set out through deep snow that, even with snowshoes, was nearly waist-deep. The starburst effect really is just a diffraction pattern that you get when light bends around an edge. Rather than allowing the mountain range to be that edge, I closed my lens aperture to f/27, giving a tiny hole for the light to pass through and bend around on its way to the sensor. I stomped a hole in the snow in which to stand and was able to put the lens just an inch or two above the higher surface. Finally, I tilted my perspective-control lens down relative to the plane of the sensor to get sharpness from the finely detailed snow all the way to the mountain range. Photo © copyright by Greg Owens.