I made about three different photos for this challenge before settling on this one. I feel this is the strongest of them and the one with the biggest impact and interest for me personally so let's see how we go.
Post-Challenge - So this did much better than expected despite it being soft ;) I thought this would be a good time to share some of my experience with flares that may be helpful or interesting to DPCers.
My background is in high-end cinema cameras, specifically around the advent of the RED camera which essentially forced the film industry to go digital by offering a film-like quality on a budget that was far too tempting for productions to turn down.
But it wasn't easy, cinematographers and film rental houses had invested a lot of time and money in film, so there was a huge pushback.
One of the biggest complaints was always the quality of the digital image. Too crisp. Too sharp, too perfect. When blown up to cinema screens this didn't necessarily look good at all and required a huge change in how makeup was applied amongst other things.
So cinematographers went out of their way to degrade the image of their films in a pleasing way, and the compromise was generally old lenses. Cheaper, so production is happy, and softer, milkier than the modern digital-ready sets.
I could tell some great stories here, flying to New York to collect a set of old vintage Bausch and Lombs was a highlight, but that's for another day.
Anyway flares. So flares, let's remember are considered flaws in the glass. Canon and Nikon for instance have been working for decades to eliminate flaring from their lenses as they try to eliminate softness or distortion.
However in cinematography suddenly flares were back. They were part of the 'film look' that people wanted, along with that softer image. And generally the worse quality the glass, the more they flared.
Suddenly old soviet-era anamorphic Lomo lenses were being rehoused and geared for modern cameras, just to get those classic blue flares. Old Nikon stills lenses were being remounted for film cameras as they were the some of the few lenses that covered a 35mm sensor (remember digital at this point used 1/3" sensors and film was massively 16mm outside of cinema).
My favourite story was for the Frankenstein remake of the late 2000s. Arri took a set of top-of-the-range Zeiss Masterprime lenses - a set of primes with around 16 different focal lengths costing a good $12,000 each - and stripped them apart, taking sandpaper to each of the dozen or so elements of glass inside and removed the microscopic lens coating applied to each one at the factory specifically to help reduce flaring.
As far as I know this set is still only available for rental in the UK at Arri, a set of 'uncoated' master primes that just beggars belief at the balls it took to effectively 'ruin' them.
I have a lot of fond memories of those days, and I love how cinematographers would come up with all kinds of ideas to degrade their images and introduce things like flaring.
So, next time you want to capture a flare remember - it's technically a defect caused by the elements of glass. Cheaper lenses and older lenses are more likely to flare (Canon L series, for example, pride themselves on having almost eliminated flaring) and also more glass tends to create a better flare so stick a filter or two on there, even just a UV.
Happy shooting and thanks again for the votes!
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Thanks for the kind comments everyone! I'm surprised this wasn't punished more for being a bit too soft - my mistake on the day. I hadn't expected much but it seems to have resonated. I've added some notes about flares to the image details in case anyone's interested :)