How to capture the sun rays falling inside a forest and light passing through a window. Even though they are visible to our naked eyes they seems tough to be captured with DSLR.

I read snow and dust passing through the light helps this. But what if the snow/dust is absent?

Any tips on settings?

Thanks in advance...

3 Answers 3


I've tried to capture the rays of light in the forest many times, and have largely only had middling success. Eventually, however, I realized that the problem is one of contrast. The contrast between the dark forest and the bright light is what makes these scenes interesting. The solution is to increase the contrast between the rays of light and the surrounding forest.

This is the place where I've experimented with HDR and have had pretty good success. More typically, however, I simply apply a more aggressive tone curve to the photo when post-processing -- again, with the intent of brightening the ray of light and darkening the surrounding forest.


If it is there, and you can see it... Try some bracketing and decide the best exposure. But your eyes are more sensitive, so you need some luck and get a really thicker fog.

Depending on the angles, this could vary from one position to another, so move a bit.

Theese rays are diferent if they are made of dust or smoke, becouse a dust one depends on fewer particles. For indoors you could try adding aditional smoke with an artificial one. A smoke machine? Some incense perhaphs?

This also depends on the relationship of the light beam vs the surrounding darkness, and if you have a clear beam specially with irregularities. On a window, play with the angle of the incident light, make it the only source of light. This source light works if it is direct light.

If you have a really dark background you can increase the brightness of the beam in post pro.

Can I cheat? If everything else fails you can experiment with this: http://amicoperry.altervista.org/luce/index.html


You have to shoot raw and then work with the contrast in post to emphasize the difference between the darker and lighter areas of the sunbeams. It usually looks better when you can do this by increasing contrast between the darker and brighter areas of the sunbeams without crushing the shadows into black or blowing the highlights that are outside the darkest and lightest areas of the sunbeams.

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