Using Flare to Your Advantage
I don't use a lens shade, ever. I own a few but they take up precious space in my bag, and also add weight. Remember, every ounce adds up, so each piece of gear needs to have a real purpose. The shade ultimately is designed to block flare from getting into the lens while shooting into the sun. I actually don't mind flare so much, but in a pinch, you can just put your hand on top of the lens to block it. That's what I did for this shot, while laying on my belly shooting up with a 17mm lens. I loved the way the sun created an appearance of illumination inside the tulip, but didn't want to see the actual sun beams. The camera (6d) was on a tripod, manually focused in Live View mode, and I placed my hand above the lens to block the flare for the shot below. I also used a circular polarizer to deepen the blues and bring our the vibrance of the foliage.