Photo Project #6 – Xmas Lights Bokeh

‘Bokeh’ is what used to be called ‘focus blur’. It’s both the image areas not in focus and the esthetics of such. It can be beautiful. At the link you’ll see the first few pages of photos are all blurred background. It’s harder to do with a foreground subject both lit well and in focus.

That’s the current project, one I learned from but failed at. Can you imagine the hotel staff didn’t want me moving the Xmas tree, or moving potted artificial plants? The LED Xmas lights blinked, which made for translucent, overlapping bokeh, not fat, creamy discs of tasty bokeh. All those made for better learning but images worth saving only for documentation. I expect to use this technique again soon on outdoor lights.

Technical stuff at the bottom, now the photos.

Xmas light Skittles, achieved by luck by taking enough shots to get one where few lights blinked. The foreground object is real bamboo holding up an unseen artificial plant. If you bother enlarging you’ll see it was too dark for me to focus correctly manually. When I tried using autofocus, the camera laughed at me.

Blinky bokeh. Aimed higher because focusing against a light background was more accurate.

Technical stuff: Tripod, 30 feet away from tree, focal length 70+mm (35mm equivalent), ISO 100, aperture wide open, attempted to place foreground object close enough so only a bit was in frame. Next time I try this I’ll stop down to 2.8 and bring a flashlight for setting focus.


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