Assignment #73: Creating Bokeh Shapes
There were several questions about this technique some used in the last assignment so it seemed like a good idea to show you how to create your own custom bokeh.
The word bokeh is simply Japanese for "blur" and it occurs in the out of focus parts of an image when using a wide aperture setting. Often there are shapes (i.e. pentagons, octagons) present in the bokeh and the shape you see comes from the shape of your lens aperture which is made up of several blades that expand and contract.
Lenses with fewer blades typically have more defined shapes in the bokeh they produce while lenses with more blades that are more circular produce smoother bokeh.
To create your own custom bokeh shape you essentially will create your own aperture. This can be done with virtually any material thick enough to block light everywhere other than the shape you've created. Black construction paper or cardboard work great.
*Caution: Make sure you do not let anything you create touch the glass of your lens. Even notebook paper is abrasive enough to scratch a lens so be careful.
1) Cut out the shape you've chosen
2) Safely attach it to your lens without touching the glass
3) Set your camera to Aperture Priority (A) and set it to the lenses widest setting (e.g. f/1.8).
4) Try taking some pictures of lights or bright objects because they will give the best results.
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Written by Trevor Warren
2:14PM, 22 December 2009 PDT