We’ve had some clear sunny skies during the last week or so but from our house I can never see a sunset, because the sun goes down behind a hill way before it sets. So I’ve taken to going up even higher, or going around the hill, where I can to shoot against the setting sun and use flare to reduce the contrast and romanticise the picture.

This suggests a question “can shooting into the sun damage the digital SLR camera sensor?”. There is much advice on the web but it is hard to find the definitive answer and it is all a matter of degree. The sun’s brightness can vary from 120,000 lux at noon to 400 lux at sunset on a clear day and 40 lux if the sunrise/sunset is heavily filtered by cloud. So, obviously it would not be a great idea to point the camera straight at the mid-day sun with live view…but I can’t find any evidence that shooting the setting or rising sun would damage the sensor when the sun is just above the horizon. So far, so good.

What I can say with confidence, as somebody who worked in the eye professions for many years, is that it is very unwise to look directly at the sun with the naked eye or through a focused lens, when it is not heavily filtered through the earth’s atmosphere or without the proper protection of a suitable filter…your eyes are much more precious than your camera’s sensor. Anyhow, here are a couple of shots of horses against the setting sun. Hope you enjoy.

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