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Monday, December 27, 2010

Patterned Bokeh - a photography technique by Sue Smith

I hope you all have had a fabulous Christmas, and have taken lots of pics to be scrapped. There is something so magical and wonderful about Christmas lights, and this year I was inspired to try something different with my camera by altering the bokeh effect.

If you are not aware of the term 'bokeh', it refers to the blurred background images in photos which become quite pronounced with a shallow depth of field (the area within the photo that is in focus), particularly when you use a wide-angle, macro or telephoto lens.

I had lots of fun experimenting with this effect by creating masks to sit over the front of my telephoto lens in different shapes, which then made all the little blurred light images echo the cut-out shape on the mask. Confused yet? Let me show you what I did....

First of all, I used my small die-cutters to cut shapes in black cardstock....



I then attached this to a circle of cardstock the exact size of my lens and attached a straight strip of cardstock around the circumference of the circle like so....



This mask is then slipped over the front of your lens and can be held in place with blutack if you want it totally secure.

Now the fun begins....

Here are the Christmas lights I worked with taking an ordinary photo first....



The same lights taken out of focus (you need to set your lens to manual focus instead of auto for this).....



Now I applied the masks I made, and here is the effect you get with the star mask....



the heart mask....



and the musical note mask....



Isn't that an amazing effect?

You can then use that effect in your photo as a background with your subject matter in focus and the patterned bokeh behind. This first photo is taken without any mask....



Then with the star mask....



...and the heart mask....



To achieve this effect properly, your 'in-focus' subject matter does need to be a fair distance from the lights, so that the lights stay out of focus. This does take quite a bit of experimenting to get the best and most dramatic effect, but it's lots of fun and very much worth the effort.

Here are a couple of other images taken with the star mask and a second set of lights and different camera settings....





I hope you have enjoyed this as much as I did preparing it, and that you might be inspired to give it a go yourself.

See you next Monday in 2011! Happy New Year! xxx

3 comments:

Julie said...

What a fantastic effect Sue.
Thanks for sharing.

Tanyah Payne said...

wow that is so clever!.... thanks heaps sue xx

Tanyah Payne said...

wow that is so clever!.... thanks heaps sue xx