The picture above was taken in my back yard about a week ago. With my Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro lens mounted on a Nikon D200, I was searching for suitable macro photography subjects. The Sun was setting so most areas of the back yard was in shadow. A bunch of Sun light managed to get through some tall trees and fell on the flowers around the tree. The back-lighted flowers looked pretty. So I kneeled down and took some shots. Some of the photos turned out like the one shown above. It appears that the scene was in a misty fog but that was not the case.
What I believe happened was that the setting Sun, barely outside of the frame, caused lens flare. Some light got reflected and scattered by the inner surface of the lens hood into the lens. In this particular case, there are no specular rings or circles that are common in lens flare situations, more like the glare human eyes can sometimes experience.
Thanks to the modern digital imaging technology, I was able to detect the problem immediately on the LCD preview screen on the back of the camera. I raised the camera slightly and the lens flare was totally eliminated. The following is one of the captures without the lens flare. Which one do you like better – accidental capture or conscious creation?