Sunset Photography Can Damage Your Eyes

posted by on 2010.08.21, under Landscape Photography
08.21:
Nikon D300, Nikon 18-200mm, f/16, ISO 200, bracketed exposures blended in Photoshop

Nikon D300, Nikon 18-200mm, f/16, ISO 200, bracketed exposures blended in Photoshop

I’ve always wondered what level of risk there is to my vision when I’m composing photographs with the sun in the frame. I use a DSLR camera for all my photography which, unlike point-and-shoot cameras, actually projects the image from the lens onto a mirror and then into the viewfinder. What you see in the viewfinder is exactly what is in front of the lens. I’ve always been somewhat concerned when the sun is in my shot because the sun is being focused by the lens directly into my eye.

Last week I went to the eye doctor for a routine eye exam and I asked him specifically about the risks. He said the most dangerous scenario is when the sun is centered in your photo and unobstructed. The sun can burn the back of your eye just like it can burn your skin, but unlike your skin, your eye will never recover. The damage occurs to your macular and can happen very quickly given the right circumstances. Apparently any past damage to your macular can be seen on a thorough eye exam. My doctor also said that the risk is much less if the sun is near the edge of your composition or is partially obscured by an object such as a tree or cloud. UV coatings on filters, lenses, glasses or contacts can cut down the damaging effects of the sun, but can’t eliminate them.

Most DSLR cameras made within the last few years have a Live View feature where the camera can digitally display what is in front of the lens on the LCD screen. This makes a DSLR function more like a point-and-shoot camera. This is a good way to completely eliminate the risks to your eyes when the sun is in your composition. I use Live View on my camera anytime I’m shooting photos like the one above. Your eyes are too important to risk no matter what photographic opportunity is before you.

Bear Lake to Grand Lake

posted by on 2010.08.15, under Adventure Travel, Photo of the Day
08.15:
Nikon D300, Nikon 18-55, f/9, 1/320 sec, ISO 200

Nikon D300, Nikon 18-55, f/9, 1/320 sec, ISO 200

This past weekend I hiked from Bear Lake to Grand Lake (18.2 miles) in Rocky Mountain National Park with my friends Jay and Torgun. The hike starts at the Bear Lake trailhead, climbs over the summit of Flattop Mountain (the continental divide) and then gradually descends into the Grand Lake area. We stared at about 6:40 AM and finally made it into the middle of town in Grand Lake at 4:30 PM. Doing this hike in the direction we did (east to west) means that only the first 4 miles are strenuous uphill. The rest of it is mostly gradual downhill. There weren’t any super steep, knee pounding, downhill sections.

We enjoyed seeing wildflowers, numerous pikas and marmots, big horn sheep, a moose, what we think was a ferret, and some droppings that I insist were from a bear (full of berries). Although 18 miles in one day was tough, it wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. It wasn’t until the last 4 miles or so that my body really started complaining. Overall, it was a great hike and a good way to see some areas of Rocky Mountain National Park that very few people ever see.

Paul & Rachelle’s Wedding

posted by on 2010.08.14, under Photo of the Day, portrait photography
08.14:
Nikon D300, Nikon 24mm f/1.4, 1/250, ISO 200

Nikon D300, Nikon 24mm f/1.4, 1/250, ISO 200

Nikon D300, Nikon 24mm f/1.4 @ f/4, 1/60, ISO 1100

Nikon D300, Nikon 24mm f/1.4 @ f/4, 1/60, ISO 1100

Nikon D300, Nikon 24mm f/1.4 @ f/2.8, 1/2000, ISO 200

Nikon D300, Nikon 24mm f/1.4 @ f/2.8, 1/2000, ISO 200

Nikon D300, Nikon 24mm f/1.4, 1/8000, ISO 200

Nikon D300, Nikon 24mm f/1.4, 1/8000, ISO 200

Nikon D300, Nikon 24mm f/1.4 @ f/8, 1/640, ISO 200

Nikon D300, Nikon 24mm f/1.4 @ f/8, 1/640, ISO 200

Nikon D300, Nikon 24mm f/1.4 @ f/8, 1/400, ISO 200

Nikon D300, Nikon 24mm f/1.4 @ f/8, 1/400, ISO 200

Nikon D300, Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 @ f/8, 1/500, ISO 200

Nikon D300, Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 @ f/8, 1/500, ISO 200

Nikon D300, Nikonn 24mm f/1.4, 1/800, ISO 200

Nikon D300, Nikonn 24mm f/1.4, 1/800, ISO 200

Nikon D300, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8, 1/25, ISO 1600

Nikon D300, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8, 1/25, ISO 1600