Using Star Filters and Streak Filters in Your Photography
Star filters and streak filters are glass filters used in photography. These optical effect filters feature special optical glass with strategically etched lines. When you place these on your camera, they create dramatic effects centered on light sources and bright points. These photography accessories can also create a soft filter effect. Although there are many different variations of these filters, they all rely upon the principle of diffraction. Diffraction causes star and streak effects as the wave pattern of light spreads when passing through a small opening.
Types of Star Filters
There are a few different types of star effect glass filters. You can choose star 4 filters, star 6 filters, or star 8 filters. The number represents the amount of rays emanating from the light source. For example, a star 8 filter creates eight rays of light bursting outward from any light source in your shot. Star effect filters have two layers of glass and only one layer has the etched lines. You may need to rotate the filter and experiment with your aperture to create the desired effect.
Using Streak Filters
Streak filters operate under the same principles as star filters, but they create a different effect. The lines on streak effect filters are straight, and they don't feature cross-screen lens filters in the same way as star effect filters. Light sources stretch out in lines, creating a dramatic and interesting streak effect. You may prefer to use a streak filter rather than an anamorphic lens, because it's a much simpler way to create the same effect.
When to Use the Filters
Many photographers may prefer to use these filters at night, especially in cities with interesting and vibrant light sources. Using these filters, you can create amazing effects by photographing street lamps, neon signs, and other urban light sources in the dark. These filters also create fascinating effects when photographing jewelry, as they help create sparkling, vibrant images. They can generate incredible effects in daylight conditions, transforming sunlight into unique patterns and streaks.
If you're looking for an interesting way to experiment with photography effects, check out B&H Photo and Video for a wide selection of starburst filters and streak filters. You can also find contrast control filters and variable ND filters to build your collection of filter tools.