Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bokeh Experiments - How To

Seasons greetings everyone.

After my earlier post of Instant miniature studio many had left comments saying it was useful. Thanks for your comments and feedback. With Christmas and the new year aproaching, here is an interesting walk through to make your photographs more interesting this season. This time we are going to play around with the bokeh.

Its fairly simple to get a bokeh like the below one. You need to keep the lens in a low aperture like f/1.8 and with some back ground light. 

But what do to when you want to make it more interesting like the one below? 

Here is how to do it. You can easily try it at home. You will need:
1. Camera and a low aperture lens (50 mm f/1.8)
2. Chart paper, preferably black.
3. Compass and Scale.
4. Paper cutting knife and scissors. 

Measure the diameter of your lens or simply go with the measurement of your filter that you got for the lens. Use that measurement to make circular rings in the chart paper using the compass and scissors. Make sure the ring exactly fits in the lens (one would need to remove any lens filters attached, for this experiment). Now draw shapes(hearts, square, clove, anything) in the center of the circular paper ring and make sure the shapes are exactly at the center. Use the paper cutting knife to cut out the shape that was drawn.

Now it's almost done, fit the circular rings in front of your lens and start clicking. Enjoy the custom bokeh shapes. 

Technical mumbo-jumbo or How It Actually works:
Technically the shape of the bokeh is controlled by the shape of the aperture. Ideally the aperture is made of multiple blades to form a near circular shape. As the number of blades differ from lens to lens, by keeping a high f-number like f/5.6 the bokeh produced might be polygon in shape. Here since the light entering the lens is controlled by a custom shape which overrides the default circular ring of the aperture, it gives the bokeh a custom shape. This said, it is left to each one's creativity to decide the shape and the kind of picture to use these techniques on. 

P.S. It was fun to use the compass after eight years, last I used it was in the Engineering drawing class in the first semester of college.