Tech of the month: Let it sparkle

Last week, enchanted by the first sunny day this year, I posted a picture of reflections on the Spree river on my instagram stream. A friend’s prompt question about the aperture used in that image gave me the idea for this edition of Tech of the Month. Without further ado, let’s explore how to make reflections and lights sparkle.

The number of points on the stars is determined by the build of your camera and can only be changed by using filters on the lens. The look of the stars however can be influenced in aperture priority mode, which happens to be my favorite anyway. The aperture in the image above was F7.1. With a smaller aperture (larger F-number), I can make the stars even more pronounced.

Sparkles with smaller aperture - F16, 1/400, 20mm (40mm equivalent), cropped

Sparkles with smaller aperture – F16, 1/400, 20mm (40mm equivalent), cropped

Reducing the aperture does however come at the expense of a longer exposure time and often requires the use of a tripod or some other means of support for your camera – especially if you’re not trying to do this in bright sunshine like I did here. At the same time, diffraction is also increased and images with the most pronounced stars may turn out less sharp than you’d like them to be. So, do play around a little and try to find the setting that you like best.

If your camera does not have aperture priority mode (there are apps to make it work on smartphones) but does have a number of preprogrammed scene modes, do try the landscape one. It is very likely to have an aperture around F8 and may give you beautiful stars. If you are working with reflected light, make sure to position your camera such that the reflected light falls into the lens.

To participate in this month’s challenge, let it sparkle on your blog and create a pingback to this post or leave a link to your post in the comments section. Thanks to Lance Greenfield for participating in last month’s challenge – the header image on his blog (you can also find it here) was created in response to the Panorama theme.

For contributions to this edition of ‘Tech of the month’, check out

Star sunrise: Photo 101Rehab by Lucile De Godoy
Dream Design Play – Dongdaemun Design Plaza by perelincolors

And if you like, there is more of perelincolors out there:

This article was published on

4 thoughts on “Tech of the month: Let it sparkle

  1. estelea

    what a great post! I actually always wanted to be able to capture the sparkles as beautifully as you did. Can’t wait to get started tomorrow, thanks so much for your very clear explanation 🙂


  2. Pingback: Star Sunrise : Photo 101Rehab | lucile de godoy

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