My Introduction to Bokeh

Bokeh - christmas lights-0199.jpg

I’ve been interested in this photography technique for a while, but didn’t set aside the time I needed to get acquainted with it until recently. the holiday obviously brings out plenty of christmas lights and other great bokeh candidates. I didn’t have a chance to combine portrait photography with bokeh, but I suspect I’ll be doing that next.

What seems to be the most popular kit is the Bokeh Masters Kit, where they give you a template and pre-cut durable bokeh pieces to make some great photography. as usual, I wanted to try out the technique to see if these kits would be worth it, so I made my own. I found a website that had a DIY that seemed simple enough. I decided to change it up a little and use a 52mm UV/Haze filter I already owned and cutting some construction paper to fit inside the filter and block out most of the light. My intention was to use this with my 50mm f/1.4 or 100mm f/2.8 – this is important to have a lens with an aperture of 2.8 or faster.

Bokeh kit

I was using a tripod to take my photos as I was using a shutter speed of 1/15s or 1/8s with the aperture wide open. I switched to manual focus and used the LiveView function to be able to turn the focus ring until I saw the stars or hearts like I wanted. I stood about 12-15 feet away from the christmas lights to take this photo. I don’t know the specifics, but it seemed I needed to be about 12 feet away with the focus ring turned to the nearest focusing distance in order to get the nice size of lights.

I took the following of a christmas tree:

Bokeh - christmas lights-0200.jpg

and this one with hearts:

Bokeh - christmas lights-0196.jpg

try it out! it was really easy to get started and maybe if I get more into this type of photography, I’ll consider getting a nicer, more durable kit.

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