A little bit of Bokeh

I love photos and lately I’ve been tinkering with my Bokeh… that is to say trying to create a custom Bokeh effect for my camera using card, scissors and sticky tape. All very Blue Peter. Basically I’ve been trying to turn the out of focus light spots in my photos into a custom shape like a heart or star. A fun effect that I decided to have a go at after seeing this ‘create your own bokeh’ guide at www.diyphotography.net.

Alas my tinkering took a little longer than planned as I battled with getting the size of the cut-out just right for my not-ideal lens. In fact I still haven’t mastered it and will continue to cut out fiddly shapes until I get it just right but seeing as that might take a while I thought I’d write about it anyway incase any of you fancied having a go. My aim is to be able to take a shot of something in focus with custom shaped bokeh in the background. Success does seem to depend ALOT on the camera lens you use and having a large aperture lens to start with will make your life much easier. Having said that, I have also managed to get the effect with my point and shoot camera, all be it in a totally uncontrollable way.

I know you’re all waiting to be blown away with my efforts so far, so here you go… prepare to be amazed. I have cleverly hidden my attempt amongst a couple of examples from someone who knows what they are doing (A.K.A. Gwyn):

You can save yourself a lot of hassle (and scalpel cuts) by buying a custom bokeh kit, like the Bokeh masters Kit.

Another fun effect that I’ve been dabbling with (and yet to master) is taking photos through the viewfinder of an old Brownie camera. I picked one up at a flea market in Bridport for £2 simply because I thought that the world through its viewfinder looks pretty cool. My photography guru friend Gwyn, already a dab hand at taking ‘through the viewfinder’ pictures gave me some tips in how to start capturing that cool (and backwards) world. All you need is a camera that you can use to focus on the viewfinder of the Brownie camera, a tube (a pringles tin with the end cut off or rolled card works well) and a little bit of time to get used to aiming the whole contraption in the right direction (its a bit like reversing a trailer). Bingo!

Here are a couple of examples courtesy of Gwyn with one of mine thrown in (see if you can guess which one):

Thanks to Gwyn for letting me show you his photos in the absence of any half decent ones of mine! One day I’d like to take pictures as beautiful as his… you can check them out for yourself at his photo blog ‘From Mexico to Manhattan’ and on Gwyn’s Flickr page.