I am new to photography. I live on the ocean. Most times in the morning, if the sea is flat, the small waves reflect the sunlight. It's an amazing view. I have been reluctant to take a photo because I would be shooting almost directly into the sun. I would like to filter out the direct sun without taking away from the wave sparkle.
Any suggestions are welcome.
If the disk of the sun is in the camera frame, there is noting you can do. You need to angle the lens so that the sun is just out of the frame, and then use a hat. You could also find a friendly life guard tower or something to block the sun. You could also get a piece of paper or cloth and put it on a stand to put it directly between you and the sun.
Do NOT shoot or leave the camera for any period of time with the disk of the sun shining directly into the camera. Any number of bad things can happen.
I should probably have been more specific. I'm looking toward the sun not directly into it. The wave sparkle I'm trying to capture is an early morning reflection off the water. The sun is behind the clouds. The hat idea would work if the sun was overhead, but it's not. My vantage point is the 13th floor of a high rise a 1/2 mile from the ocean. It will take some experimentation but I'll figure it out.
Is the problem dynamic range? You can't expose for the sky and the water?
If so, you have two options.
One is to shoot HDR. Shoot multiple images at different exposures and combine them in post. (Or your camera may do this automagically). I suggest shooting at the exposure the camera says, then hold everything else the same and shoot a shutter speed 1/3 slower and another shot 3X faster. Then use HDR software to combine them.However, this may mush up the waves you are trying to capture.
The other way is old school. Get a gradient filter. This is a piece of glass with a dark top and clear bottom. It has a holder to let you adjust the dividing line up and down. In your case, put the dividing line right at the horizon and expose for the water. The dark half will darken the sky for you.