I loved the artistic look of the bokeh lights and wanted to take some of my tree. These first two pictures were taken in the late afternoon. I just closed the curtains and turned off the lights. You'll notice when you look at the later pictures the difference in seeing just a little of the tree here and total darkness on the later pictures. I think I prefer the afternoon ones. I like seeing just a hint of the tree as opposed to just the shape of the tree. Anyway, this what I got.
I love the look of the colored lights!! So fun! I found it easiest to set my lens to manual focus and just play around with the lights that way. By focusing farther out of focus the size of the lights changed. I also experimented with getting closer and farther from the tree to get different effects. I did use her recommend camera settings with my 50mm lens at f/1.8, ISO 800, and shutter speed at 160. All of these photos are also SOOC (except for the watermark and a little cropping on Geoff's picture).
I then remembered reading/seeing something about getting different shapes with bokeh lights by using a filter over your lens. I don't remember where I saw this so I have no links to share it to, sorry. I'm sure there is also some technical name for this but I have no idea what it is. Anyway, I did an experiment and it worked!! I used three different stars for this and give a couple examples of photos from each. I used the same settings as above but put this paper 'filter' over my lens. I used my Cricut to cut out the stars in the center and used a rubber band to attach it to my lens hood.
Here are the pictures I got from my experiment.
Shaped bokeh!! Aren't these fun?! I just love how creative this looks! You could use any solid shape in the middle of the filter in place of the stars. Wouldn't it be fun to have hearts and red lights for a Valentine's Day theme? Or you could even do your last name initial or a favorite animal. As long as you have a way to cut out the shape the possibilities are endless.
One more experiment before you leave. I wanted to see how a main subject in focus would work with the shaped bokeh lights. Would the subject get distorted? Would the bokeh effect still be there? Since Geoff was still up he got to be my guinea pig. I had him get on his tummy and watch TV a few feet in front of the tree. Still using manual focus I focused on him. In addition to the 'light' from the TV I put a flashlight on the floor to give him a little more light. (Technically not the best thing to do but in a pinch it worked). I did change my shutter speed to 1/40th as well to get a little more light. I also laid down on the floor to get this angle. This is what I got and I love it! How fun is that?!
I hope I've inspired you to have some fun with your holiday lights this year. Think outside the box and don't be afraid to experiment! Thanks for stopping.