Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Confession of a Christmas Light Bokeh Junkie

by Kelly

It's official...

I am completely obsessed with Christmas light bokeh.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Exhibit C

There's just something about seeing those out-of-focus (OOF) orbs of twinkling light that feels positively magical to me.  And today I thought I might share with you a few tips and techniques so that you can capture the magic too.

There are a couple of simple ways to capture OOF lights with a DLSR camera.  The first way is to use manual focus. Once you have your shot composed, slightly turn the manual focus ring until the lights become little circles.  Depending on how far you turn the focus ring, the circles will become larger or smaller - it's fun to experiment with different sizes of bokeh.

The second way to capture Christmas light bokeh is to use a wide aperture setting (below I set mine at f/2.8) and focus on a light near to you.  That will cause the rest of the lights to gradually fall out of focus creating progressively larger circles of bokeh.

For iPhones
For iPhones it's just as simple to capture Christmas light bokeh - only a couple more steps.  I like to use the Camera+ app.

I've got a step-by-step tutorial below, but basically the process is: 1) open the app (which pulls up the camera), 2) tap the plus sign next to the shutter button, 3) tap the 'Macro' button, and 4) take the shot.

See how easy that was?  

It really is the simplest things that can bring the most joy.  For me Christmas Lights are one of them.

I hope you found these tips to be helpful, and if you decide to give the bokeh technique a try, we'd love to see them in either the Flickr pool or #focusingonlife tag.  But whatever you do, take a few moments for joy and whimsy. Your heart will thank you.

Until next time,



Dotti said...

YES! I do love this post. There are a bunch of bokeh junkies around here, I'mjust one of them. I know this will be useful information to all of us. I discovered how to do bokeh with the Camera+ app, too, and your tutorial is perfect. Now we can all go out and capture bokeh-on-the-go! Bokeh Junkies unite.

Carol said...

I havent really taken the time to try this yet, but I've wanted to. This makes it so easy for me -tthank you Kelly . And I love exhibit B the best -something about the colors.
Im excited!

Unknown said...

Bokeh lights make me swoon! Thanks Kelly!

terriporter said...

Yep, I'm a self-professed bokeh junkie as well! I especially love capturing bokeh with my big camera as I can get the really big, fat, round ones, but this year I learned how to do it with Camera+ which makes it so easy! I'm sure there will be a lot of people shooting bokeh with their phones now, thanks to your great instructions!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the tips! I agree Christmas lights really are magical!! :)

AFishGirl said...

Bokeh! My favourite, favourite fun thing.

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