Shooting Directly into the Desert Sun

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Greg7579
Greg7579 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,156
Shooting Directly into the Desert Sun
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Sorry to start two threads in one day, but I'm really curious on some tips here from you great photographers.

I just left Big Bend, which was my first actual trip with the GFX 100, and I actually went on two fairly long hikes with it around my neck with the 32-64, 45, 32 and 100-200 in the backpack. I also walked with a Manfrotto Monopod. I found that the monopod combined with the IBIS of the GFX 100 actually gave me tripod-like stability at anything less than half a second.

Anyway, on the first day I did a hike I do every year which is one everyone does that goes to Big Bend. It is called the Lost Mine Hike and people have been doing it for the past 80 years since Big bend became a National Park. It is beautiful. About 5 miles total and climbs about 1200 feet, so I figured it was a good first hike with the big Beast around my neck.

When I arrived at the end on the way out with views over the desert floor far below the Chisos Mountains, I had about an hour before dark so I had to get back to the trailhead.

I could not wait for sunset or I would have been on the trail in the dark for the return trip. So I shot three shots into the bright desert sun and picked small apertures for the sun star. I think I went minus one or two on the EC too.

Here are my questions. I need advice:

1. I know a graduated ND would help here, but I didn't have it with me. Would a 3, 5 or 10 stop ND help? No, because I would need a tripod. But if I had a tripod, would an ND help? No.... Same result - just longer exposure right? It would not help on the sun streaks and balls right?

2. Is there anything I can do to limit the sun streaks and balls? I repaired a few with the brush in LR.

3. What is that grid of dots on the second image attached here? I have seen that effect before when shooting into the dun with the 50r and 32-64 or 23. It looks like a checker board of dots. What is that? (This is the GFX 100.)

Note: On the RAF raws in in LR, I dropped the highlights all the way to dull the sun up a bit. The foreground was left very dark. I did not raise shadows. Instead, I used the brush to paint in 1.6 stops of exposure on the immediate foreground. I left the distant cliffs dark because they were full of sun streaks and blots and noise and artifacts. They were in total shadow anyway.

F13, F26 and F32!!!

Tips?

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