Colors of Light ~ Red Green Blue ~ Sun Flare in Photography

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Colors of Light ~ Red Green Blue ~ Sun Flare in Photography

Original Author: Mike Horvath New version by j...
Image via Wikipedia

Red Green Blue ~ Colors of Light ~ Sun Flare in Photography

When learning about photography and color theory, it is important to understand RGB (which stands for Red, Green, and Blue). Without getting bogged down in all the technical stuff, you can see how colors mix in this image below. When it comes to light, red and blue mix to make magenta, red and green mix to make yellow, and green and blue mix to make cyan.

This plays a role in color correction in Photoshop, white balance, and photography as a whole.

As taught to me in art and science classes, without light, energy waves that produce the sensation of color, we would not have color. Our eyes only see a small part of the spectrum of light, with short wavelengths starting as blue to the long wavelengths seen as red. When taking a photograph, it is often hard to “see” this in our pictures. Sun flare sometimes will allow you to see the colors. Rainbows will as well. And since a picture is worth a thousand words, I have two recent shots that may help you better see the RGB.

I would love all of you to share photos in the comment section of rainbows or sun flare where you can see the colors of light separated out into light. If you do not have any, challenge yourself to go out on a sunny day and try for different types of flare.  Try partially blocking the sun off a building and try to grab colors of flare.  It takes practice and experimentation, but you can get fun, artistic results, and will learn about photography in the process.

In this shot, you can literally see the red, green and blue in the light coming from the sun.

RGB Additive Colors of Light

And in this one, you can see the sun flare and lighter rings of color (red and green). Likely, I would have needed a greater angle to see the blue:

girl in a tree with sun flare

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  1. June 6, 2011 at 1:41 pm —

    Great photos in the replies there, specially from Alice. Here’s one of mine with a lot of R and some scattered G and B!

  2. July 31, 2010 at 7:21 pm —

    i’m still learning, but i have been loving catching sun flare this summer.

  3. July 21, 2010 at 1:52 pm —

    All of your pictures are fantastic! Here is my try at it.

  4. July 20, 2010 at 9:05 pm —

    Amy!!! That shot is SO AWESOME!
    These are all really great. I love flares 🙂

    Anyways, here’s mine. I thought it turned out pretty cool 🙂

  5. July 20, 2010 at 7:32 pm —

    i love solar flare shots! they are so much fun. this is one i took recently at a speech and debate conference in florida. i loved it so much, it is now the topper for my website .

  6. July 20, 2010 at 5:34 pm —

    Loved that I got the rainbow effect from flare when shooting this girl who is in the “Rainbow Girls” organization. The flare rainbow leads your eye right to the rainbow on her tiara.

  7. HeidiRose
    July 20, 2010 at 5:09 pm —

    Here’s mine.
    I really like this uploader thing!

  8. July 20, 2010 at 1:11 pm —

    one of my favorite photo’s. i love trying for sunflare, need lots more practice!

  9. Debbie Wibowo
    July 20, 2010 at 12:18 pm —

    Here’s mine and I DO love shooting into sun flare!

  10. July 20, 2010 at 11:49 am —

    Sunny cool evening in AZ… Can’t wait to strive for this in future photos!

  11. July 20, 2010 at 11:47 am —

    I was taking a walk when I saw this tree and thought it would be amazing to have the sun peek out from behind it. I sort of noticed the flare when I was composing but it wasn’t until I got home that I realized I caught a complete rainbow in the flare.
    [taken with a Canon Rebel XT and the 18-55mm kit lens]

  12. July 20, 2010 at 11:47 am —

  13. July 20, 2010 at 11:27 am —

    I’m in the middle of editing a senior session and got some great sunflare on a few of them, this one is my favorite.

  14. July 20, 2010 at 11:18 am —

    I got this shooting directly up at the sun and this flag. I got lucky, I really didn’t know what I was doing when I took it!

  15. Krystal
    July 20, 2010 at 11:12 am —

    The weather was so wierd that day but it made for some fun pictures.

  16. Melissa
    July 20, 2010 at 10:47 am —

    This is my most recent flare photo:

  17. July 20, 2010 at 10:07 am —

    I am just starting out and really wanted to try the whole sunflare image and this is what I got. I have not done any editing on this picture, (mainly because I just really didnt know what to do). I still think the colors from the sun look pretty cool

  18. July 20, 2010 at 9:59 am —

    Over Niagara Falls on the 4th of July…

  19. Greta S.
    July 20, 2010 at 9:52 am —

    Took this being goofy in the car (with a cheap, tiny P&S)…sun flare was by accident, but looked so cool! Wish now I made a better face, haha!

  20. July 20, 2010 at 9:09 am —

    sorry I only have an edited one to hand, but of course I left the sunflare in. I love it! (hope it uploads and is the right size)!!!!

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Colors of Light ~ Red Green Blue ~ Sun Flare in Photography