Misty Summer Forest

Shortly after getting back from a recent trip to Atlanta, a brief but violent late afternoon summer storm left a thick veil of mist in its wake. Since the sun came out right away and it was burning off quickly, I went for a walk and found a large leafy oak tree nearby. The complex branch patterns allowed the sunrays to shine through at different angles, lighting up the leaves in a variety of verdant green shades.
Getting the right shot after a summer storm like this is a delicate balance. If the fog or mist is too thick, it won’t allow the sun to shine through at all, but if there isn’t enough moisture in the air, light can’t reflect and form the rays at all. In this case, there was just enough mist to allow many rays to form, and I walked back and forth near the tree to find the angle that most accentuated the rays.
Since the sun was starting to get relatively low in the sky, shortly after 6, I thought it would also be possible to use the thick leafy canopy to capture some sun flare. I used an aperture of f/18, and the narrow lens opening slightly diffracted the light so the sun formed a flare pattern.