Lens flare is the (usually) unwanted light scattered in a camera lens, often creating a haze in the image. It’s somewhat easy to create lens flare but not as easy to see it at the time you are photographing. When the sun is at a certain angle and you point your camera/lens into its direction, you can create these usually artifacts (the magenta and blue haze in the photo above).
Camera companies work hard to develop cameras and lenses that decrease this unwanted “noise” from your shots. If you are shooting into the sun’s direction, pay attention to your composition and carefully check the image after shooting. (It’s not easy to see in full sun as is often the case of flare. A small amount can often be tolerated, and might be welcomed in the image. Too much, like in the shot below, and it’s ruined.
If you want to learn more about lens flare and how to prevent it, see “Understanding Camera Lens Flare.”
That said, there isn’t a good web site yet to read about how to increase the likelihood of unwanted lens flare. The good folks at Wikipedia are waiting.
I know someone is going to write me asking the GPS coördinates and time of day so they can attempt to replicate the difficult but emotionally satisfying and well composed flare shot above. Sorry, the best clue you get from me is think Pueblo Zoo.
Now I now you are wondering what I was thinking when I took the “flare” shot. I wasn’t…thinking that is. I didn’t even know that I had shot it until I looked at the images. Then I figured, hey, that’s a blog posting on taking bad images, not deleting them, and thinking that you can then salvage all by writing a blog on lens flare.