How Star Filters Work
Reasons to Own a Star Filter
- Creates stars from specular highlights without the need to change aperture
- Adds drama to otherwise standard images
- Works well with cars, lamps and night lights shooting at any aperture
- Control the rotation of rays emanating from highlights by rotating the filter
- Selectively blend in stars using multiple images to create drama in a single final image
How It Works
Hoya Star filters are high quality glass filters that have lines etched in the surface of the glass to produce light flares or “star effects” from strong light sources. The filter can increase the drama of a point light source by adding 4, 6, or 8 rays emanating from that source.
Depending on the preference of the photographer, these rays can provide extra drama or add a special flare to the final image. They are useful for street lamps at night, jewelry, chrome, cars, or other objects with strong specular highlights. When the filter is rotated, the rays turn with the filter so the photographer can control the direction of the rays.
Another advantage to using a star filter is that point light sources will be “starred” at any aperture, rather than f16 or f22, increasing the creative options for the photographer.
Exposure blending is a common post-processing technique for modern digital SLR photographers whereby two, or more, images are taken on location and then blended into a single final image. The dynamic range of light often exceeds what a camera sensor can record, thereby making difficult lighting situations nearly impossible to capture in one image. By exposing two, or more, images (one for shadows and one for bright highlights), and then blending them together in post-processing, photographers can obtain images that capture the entire dynamic range of a scene. The same concepts can be applied when using star filters.
In the before image, shot at f8, there isn't much drama. The second image shot at f8 with a Star 6 filter has too much going on. By blending the two, there is a happy middle. A bit of flare from the bridge lights but not overpowering the entire frame.
Hoya Star Filters can be an excellent creative tool to help photographers capture images in the field and then process selectively to add a unique flare or drama to the final image.