Shooting into the sun produces dramatic photos, if you are careful. The sun has to be partially blocked by something, usually a tree. Even so, the lens sometimes adds “interesting” optical effects. The star-like rays are a product of the lens diaphragm that controls the aperture, with a ray for every corner where the leaves of the diaphragm meet. That’s a nice effect. Prismatic effects produce odd splotches of color, and those are not so nice. A little Photoshop® retouching helps a lot in those cases. This photo of the dahlia garden in the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens shows the benefit.
The Gardens are in Fort Bragg, California, on the coast about three hours drive north of San Francisco. They are a delight any time of the year, but the rhododendrons in spring and the dahlias in late summer are special attractions.
The finished image is enlarged here
Here are the two original frames that I planned to splice into a vertical panorama.
The exposures are mismatched, so I darkened the lower image. The foreground is actually still lighter than it would have been if a single exposure were used, but splicing blends the images nicely in the region of overlap. The different exposures approximate the effect of a high dynamic range image, keeping shadow detail.
The main problem is the red splotch near the sun. Here is that portion of the image enlarged:
The basic approach is to highlight the splotch with the magic wand tool and fill it with a color other than red. Filling it with black would get rid of the spot, but it wouldn’t match the rest of the scene well. I didn’t want to create any new sharp edges. Filling with 50% opaque black make the red dimmer, but it is still red. I finally settled on filling the red area with 35% opaque blue-green. The three colors add to become something close to neutral gray, although in this case I left a little red tint. More work would have gotten it completely neutralized, but this is quickshotartist, where acceptable suffices.
I then used the feathered brush tool to break up the hard edges of the selection. Feathering the whole selection runs color into the white part of the star effect, and that would be unacceptable. The dot shows the color I added, a 100% opaque version of it.
In summary, to get rid of a colored splotch without changing the basic optical effect, select the the splotch and fill it with a transparent color having the missing color components. Red is missing blue and green. Green is missing red and blue. Blue is missing red and green. The colors will add to something close to neutral.