Friday, December 17, 2010

Custom Bokeh

I saw one of the funnest projects linked on a blog recently & had to share it with you while you still have time to play around with Christmas lights.

Orson with flower tree

It's so awesome ~ if you have a lens that can get a nice bokeh effect you can easily change the shape of the lights in the background! Create a paper cover for you lens with this great tutorial and go crazy cutting or punching out shapes. I know I did! By the end of the night already had 7.

Indy with star tree

Now, there are a few things that I learned playing around with the filters & photos that weren't mentioned in the tutorial...

1) Ideally the shapes need to be around 3/4" wide (or larger), which unfortunately means most paper punches are too small. After playing around with several shapes successfully, I was having trouble getting the camera to focus with one. No matter where I pointed the camera, it just would not focus, and the manual focus is covered by the paper cover! Finally I decided the shape must be a tad bit too small, since the others were not having trouble. I re-cut it at about 3/4" (like the rest) and there were no problems!

In the tutorial she mentioned needing to use a tripod for the shots with a subject in the front, but I had no trouble getting a clean image without one (other than the fact I was taking these at night). I attribute this to the slightly larger shapes letting in more light for a clearer picture. So ~ go ahead and use that snowflake paper punch, but you might need to set up a tripod & have more troubles focusing. I was able to cut one out by hand, but it was tricky!

Snowflake tree

(To take pics of the tree by itself ~ focus on your hand in front of the camera, then remove it and take the picture, or use a close object nearby.)

2) You don't have to be very far from the tree, but you need to be pretty close to the subject. If you are too far away from your subject, the tree lights will look normal. Move a little closer, and they will be small shapes ~

Pic taken further away

Move even closer for nice large shapes ~

Pic taken closer up

I think the further you are from the tree, the further you can be from the subject as well, but I'd have to try a few more shots to see for sure. I am definitely going to be playing around more with the filters over the next week or two (I'll share the other shapes with you then), so expect more pics, but I wanted to get these up quick to give you time to try it out yourself!

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