I’ve spent some time using the cut out shapes from black paper on my lens over the past few days. Also, in reading about the technique I’ve come across some different terminology regarding what exactly this technique is called. For me the most important thing at this point, is to try to get the images that I want out of the technique rather then worry about its exact name. I find a lot more references to this technique when I search under the key word Bokeh, then I do when I search under other terms that it has been called such as vignetting, or aperture shadow.

The image that I am trying to get is to have an object fully exposed properly with the natural bokeh lights (little hearts, stars, etc) showing up in the background. Ideally I would like to have two children with masquerade masks on together in the same frame. I’ve come closer with these next images though I still have a lot of work to do.

In these pictures below, I have put very very small ‘rice’ Christmas lights draped over a black background. The children are about nine feet away from the background. There is a small light to the right of them, shining on their faces, and I have a flash on my camera reduced by -2 on slow sync (in one of the images I believe I turned up the flash output). I’m using manual focus and a tripod.

Bokeh hearts with Girl in foreground

Bokeh hearts with boy in foreground

If I take away the spotlight on the children, I’ll probably have less blur because of the slow sync. I have to hand it to my kids, staying still for over 1.3 seconds had to have been a record.

Next on my bokeh path of exploration will be to figure out how to put two children in one shot so that they are not sooo close to the camera. I have a sneaking suspicion that I will need a lot more room then I currently have. And maybe I’ll need to make the background much wider. Currently the lights span about 8 feet across. Taking that shot in the space that I have will probably mean standing about 5 feet away from the kids, and the children being about 8 or nine feet away from the background…so…I’ll probably be dangling from the staircase behind me to get it :) The upside of that of course, is the kids can’t help but be laughing when I di take pictures of them.

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