Looking for a fun, special project or date idea for Valentine's Day?
Here's a suggestion: do some bokeh photography during a city lights walk!
Bokeh, according to Physics And Photography, can be defined as “the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light." The shape and size of the aperture play a crucial role in the quality of the bokeh in your image. You need a large aperture (small f-stop -- like a 50mm f/1.8), because a large aperture means a shallow depth of field, which makes out of focus things even more out of focus.
Additionally, the shape of the aperture determines the shape of the bokeh! Meaning your bokeh will be round...
Unless you cut a shape (heart, star, penis, whatever) out of dark paper and attach it to your lens, with either tape or a rubber band. Or, if you're not the artsy type, you can also just order a kit on Amazon.
And now, you're set!
Here are my Valentine's Day photos I took last night -- because Netflix shows have gotten offensively bad, and it's way more fun to go out and do and create things.
Super fun, right?
You could do the same thing with four-leaf clovers on St. Patrick's Day, bunnies or eggs for Easter, guns for the 4th of July, stars and mangers at Christmas... or even just kitty cats, dog bones or whatever shape you think will be cute.
1. Use the larger end of your aperture, which pulls your background (the lights) out of focus and turn into balls of light. It'll look especially artistic if you have a subject (like the beautiful Ruby Snoofer) in front of the lights.
2. Increase the size of your lights by getting further away from your subject (the thing that's in-focus -- in this case, Ruby).
3. It takes some fiddling. Don't get frustrated if your first few shots suck. And if you're not sure if a light point will make a good bokeh -- just try it! It's the only way to know for sure.
4. In low light, you might need a strobe or some light source to illuminate your in-focus subject.
For these photos, I used a Canon 6D dslr camera with a Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 STM lens. The 6D does well enough in low light that the Valentine's Day photos were hand-held. (The Christmas ones were taken with a tripod, though.)
This leaves us with one last question:
Are Apple, Facebook, and Snapchat ruining photography? Probably. With the touch of a screen, you can turn a shitty selfie into a "portrait," complete with depth of field, adjusted highlights and shadows... and even "slimming" of the cheeks.
With the touch of a button, you can add fantastic filters and effects to your photos and videos. "Who needs bokeh, when you have chat filters?" the youth may be thinking.
But. In my opinion, these look WAY better than lame, automatic filters. And. As Jean Twenge wrote in iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy--and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood--and What That Means for the Rest of Us, more screen time always makes us less happy, and less screen time always makes us happier.
So that's a pretty good argument as to why you should just GO out and TAKE excellent photos.
If you've got some photos you'd like to share, I'd love to see them. Find me on Facebook or Twitter!
About the Author
Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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