Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a wonderful 2009, and are ready for 2010. 2010 should be an excellent year.

Happy New Year from Adam Bavier!

Edit 10/20/2010:
To make this post more complete, I’m going to give a few more details on why the background of this image looks the way it does. Out of focus areas on images turn blurry. This blurriness in the background is most apparent on consumer cameras if you focus on something really close to the camera – like a single item that fills most of the picture. If there is anything bright in the background like lamps, Christmas tree lights, or shiny objects reflecting the suns light, they will turn into bright round circles(called bokeh). The circle shape is due to the fact that the hole that the light passes through in the lens is roundish – on some lenses it may look like a pentagon. On consumer cameras this effect is very subtle and normally the background is visible and slightly softer than the item you focused on.

The bright Christmas lights in the background of this picture look the way they do because I’m using a special lens which lets in tons of light and produced very large round out of focus areas. I’m taking advantage of this large out of focus area by placing a shape cut out in-front of my camera lens that the camera must photograph through, and the out of focus area takes on the characteristics of the shape(in this case a star).

I cut a circle out of black paper that fit just inside the front of my lens and then cut a star shape out of it. The star cut-out makes the out of focus lights from the tree in the background change from the normal large circle(like above) to the star shape. I haven’t tried this on a normal consumer point and shoot camera, but I’d hazard a guess that it just won’t work(the physics of light just are not on our side).

This should be enough details for the inclined to try getting this effect in your pictures. Though I’ll have to make a dedicated how-to on this subject later. Pester me by using the contact form if you really need more details, and would like me to hurry up on the blog post.

More technical details:
-You’ll want an SLR camera.
-A prime lens with a fast aperture. For example 50mm f/1.8 or f/1.4
-Black paper, or white paper and a black marker. If you leave the paper facing the lens white it’ll make your images have a white cast and or be too bright.
-Time to mess around with the cut shapes and the sizes. The star I cutout was pretty small.

Bokeh Lights

Just setup my first fake Christmas tree. It is pre-lit with white lights. Now I have to get some ornaments on it.

Bokeh Lights,  all rights reserved

Playing around with purposefully messing up the focus to make the bokeh ultra apparent.

Edit 10/20/2010: Many people are finding this post. More than I thought would. You may like the image on my Happy New Year! post if you are interested in modifying the look of the bokeh in the background. I give a basic overview of how to modify the bokeh from a white circle to whatever shape you desire.