I was out taking pictures and after taking a picture of the sun, I took this one and it turned green, and I have no idea how I managed to pull it off.

Green magic

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    Care the share any information about what camera you took it with and which settings? It doesn't look like the Exif data from this file includes anything useful. – user1118321 Jan 25 '16 at 3:01
  • can you please tell me which camera you used??? – user37505 Jan 25 '16 at 3:25
  • I used a Nikon DSLR D70S, using automatic feature on it. – Logan Jan 25 '16 at 7:46
  • @Logan you mentioned in a comment below, that just before this shot, you took a picture directly of the sun. Is that correct? What was the shutter speed, aperture, and focal length of that picture of the sun? While we're at it, what was the exposure settings for the picture above? – scottbb Jan 25 '16 at 20:31
  • @scottbb I have no idea, as I mentioned below somewhere, I had the camera on automatic. Is there a way I could find the settings the camera used for that picture? – Logan Jan 25 '16 at 21:40

If you look you'll see that the off-colour parts are at the lower end of the brightness range ( darker ) and their is also evidence of a flare on the right hand side of the image.

The combination of these things probably threw your auto white balance off a bit and the darker pixels, which are more prone to error anyway, got thrown off the most. This has led to your odd looking colours.

How to combat these things :

  • Use a hood. Always. I'm guessing you did not based on the flare. A hood would probably have eliminated that.

  • Don't expect auto settings to work. If you want to get the result you expect, shoot RAW ( where you choose white balance during raw conversion ) and expect the odd problem in difficult situations.

  • If you use a so-called protective filter, remove it and keep it off unless you;re shooting in hostile conditions. These things make flares and other optical issues more likely.

  • If you shoot JPEG, choose a white balance setting. Do not rely on auto white balance. One reason to shoot RAW is that in JPEGs you cannot always undo the white balance if its wrong. With RAW you get the maximum scope to adjust white balance. Many cameras allow RAW+JPEG and this is a useful choice if you just want the RAW for occasional use and you can ignore it or delete it if the JPEG turns out OK for your needs.

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  • A lens hood does nothing for flare created by the sun that is included in the field of view of the frame. – Michael C Jan 25 '16 at 19:53
  • My impression is that the sun was just out of frame in this image. Hard to tell. – StephenG Jan 25 '16 at 20:14
  • I did use a hood, and the pictures save as JPG. I was using automatic because I was taking pictures of some deer 5 minutes before i took this picture and didn't want to miss the deer while fiddling with settings. – Logan Jan 25 '16 at 21:43
  • And the sun was about halfway on the right side edge when i took the picture, so it was in the frame. – Logan Jan 25 '16 at 21:45
  • My post was informational, not accusatory. Sorry if you felt otherwise. Glad to hear you use a hood - so many do not as they find them inconvenient. – StephenG Jan 25 '16 at 22:27

IF the photo was taken at sunset almost exactly as the direct view of the sun vanished then you MAY have inadvertently caught the "green flash" which occurs as the sun sets.

This is a hard to photograph phenomenom and can be as vivid as your photo shows - but usually isn't.
If this IS a "green flash" you have got an extremely good one.

As a confirmation, if you took several close together and the ones before and after this were not green then it increases the likelihood that this was a solar "green flash".

Here is the start of an explanation from the first link below:

  • Green flashes are by-products of the large variations in astronomical refraction near the horizon. Although there are several kinds of green flash, almost every kind is a by-product of a corresponding mirage. All the common forms are magnified images of the green rim produced by dispersion in the bulk of the atmosphere. The rim is too narrow to be seen without magnification, but sufficient magnification can be produced by mirages of various kinds. ....

Another possibility is that a reflection shone bright green light on some or all of your lens and it refracted through the optics in unpredictable ways. I have seen similar to this happen. A green LASER pointer works marvels. (Warning: do not look into beam with remaining good eye :-( !)

Here is a very good example. This is claimed genuine and explained in detail by the photographer. Usually they are not this bright or large. From here

enter image description here

Reasonably good explanation with links

This is better than most and lists other explanations which he says are less good here.

NASA brief explanation

Wikipedia - Green Flash

Explanation with link to video

Somebody's results after years of trying here

His image

Good example

A few zillion examples - beware of fakes.

A different sort of green flash.
The specular pattern on the image makes it obvious that this is coherent (LASER) light (if there was any doubt).

The manner in which the beam has "got into the optics" in unpredictable ways is evident in both images but especially in the lower one. (Needless to say, most of the images did not look like this). While you will not have had a LASER shining into your lens, this is what bright light on the lens can do.

enter image description here

Warning: Green LASER pointers are often greater or much greater power than the "eye safe" class one units. Significant eye damage can occur.

All "firearms" were pointed with my permission (and instruction).
(Airsoft guns, photographer 'armoured', shooters sensible, stuff can still happen).

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  • This was not at sunset or sunrise, this was around 3PM, the camera i used was a nikon D70S and i had it on automatic. the sun was to the right of the shot, and before taking this picture i took a picture directly of the sun, and one to the left of it, then this one. – Logan Jan 25 '16 at 7:45
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    That would have to be one hell of a Green Flash, not to mention an incredibly timed shot... – ElendilTheTall Jan 25 '16 at 9:04
  • exactly, plus it isn't just in the horizon, as you can see in my picture, it "bleeds" to the streetlight and the road. – Logan Jan 25 '16 at 9:05

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