Tilly

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Cordelia

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CHRISTMAS LIGHTS BOKEH EFFECT


Tilly, Lydia & Cordelia in our Friday night 9&10 group were very keen to blur the lights on the Southbank. I knew that focusing on the foreground and holding focus ought to do it but was not absolutely certain about the best Aperture or whether the exposure time would be an influence.. As it turned out we were working handheld in very dark conditions so the Aperture was necessarily wide open and that is what was needed. Shutter speed was either 1/30th or 1/60th – depending on which camera they were using (Our Canon 1000Ds only stretch to 1600 ISO but the 1100Ds go to 6400 ISO)

You can see how well some of the experiments worked - and here are also my own experiments at home with our Christmas tree. 

Shot quickly without a tripod but you can see the difference it makes when the Aperture is all the way open at 2.8 – compared to the shots I took at F8 and F22. Even F4 was noticeably Sharper.


The most blurred images are my favourites. The light circles become enormous with the lens at 35mm and they are very sharp despite the lack of actual lens focus. I also shot several at 1/30th sec with zooming action during the exposure. You can see this in the third frame – the central area is much sharper and the zoom blur can start to be seen at the edges of the frame

At F22 everything is sharp - even though the actual point of focus is at the extreme front of the image. The small aperture sharpens everything. At F8 we see some blur but we don't have the effect we are after until the lens is wide open at F2.8.

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F2.8 with the zoom at 16mm. As well as creating the pretty circles of light F2.8 also blurs the rest of the image so that there is nothing to distract from the subject.

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F4 with zoom at 1/30th Sec

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TECHNIQUE

Prep

Turn all the lights off except the Tree

Camera Manual Mode

ISO 400/800

Aperture Select your Widest Aperture which is probably F3.5

Shutter Select 1/60 sec to start with and adjust to get the correct exposure.

AF Single Shot AF Focus on something very close to the camera (as close as you can focus) turn Auto Focus off on the lens or hold button for Focus Lock.

Recompose with tree and take picture.

Review and repeat if necessary after making adjustments.

Alter Exposure by changing Shutter Speed or ISO – keep Aperture at 2.8. 

TIP  You should be able to do this without a tripod. If you notice any Camera shake however support the camera on a cushion or place it on the floor and use Self Timer to remove any shake. Use slim books or magazines to lift the lens if necessary

F2.8 - the widest aperture on my 16-35mm zoom. This and the next are my favourite images. Still clearly a Christmas Tree but with the lens at 35mm the spherical light abberations or Bokeh are enlarged even more. PH

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Shooting in Raw and Processed in Photoshop using Perfect Effects to enhance tonal range

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Using Format