Thursday, December 8, 2016

PhotoChallenge Week 48: Bokeh

Nearing the end of the year now and I've played along with at least 50% of the 2016 challenges!  This has been a really fun way to push myself to try new techniques and take shots of things outside my usual comfort zone.  I have not done many of the portrait challenges though.  Meh.

Photochallenge Week 48: Bokeh

For those who aren't familiar, bokeh is a term for the blurred light in the background of some shots.  Think of the sparkles from streetlights or Christmas trees in the background of some shots.  This can be distracting or a flaw in the picture, or can really accentuate and improve a shot--leading to a dreamy quality.

The ideal set up for Bokeh shots is using a small f-stop (2.8 f) to focus in close, with resulting blurring of the lights behind.  The lowest my lens would go was 5.8 f and I got too much detail in the background.  So I cheated!

I ended up using an unfocused shot of the Christmas tree in our living room as background.  I then took some miniature X-Wing game Star Wars ships (Fantasy Flight Games!) and took some macro shots of them against a black background.  Then I combined the two shots in photoshop after erasing the plastic stands that the ships stood on.  The result looked pretty cool, but I went a step further and added some green laser blasts from the stalking TIE fighter!  The toughest part of this process was getting a decent fire effect at the impact point of the blasts.  There has to be an easier way!  I also added a bit of motion blur to the Falcon in order to give the impression of movement.

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