It’s time to get creative and have fun! Holiday lights present the perfect opportunity to play with new techniques. You might be surprised at the results! If you used holiday lights as your subject for last week’s challenge, I encourage you to try a different technique, but there aren’t really any “rules” this week. The primary goal is to have fun.
Focus Blur Technique (long exposure) – This was my initial inspiration for this challenge. Basically you turn the focus ring of your lens (not the zoom ring) while the shutter is open. In the case of the photo above, I turned the focus ring in steps, i.e. turn a little, pause, turn a little, pause, etc. I wasn’t able to find many examples using this technique until I discovered a Flickr group dedicated to using it on fireworks. Same technique, different subject. Click here for details.
After playing with this technique for a couple of weeks, I’ve discovered that your results will vary greatly depending on the lens that you use. My 100mm macro lens creates a very cool “zoom” effect even though there is no zoom on the lens! However, my 150-600mm lens doesn’t create any sort of zoom effect. If that’s the case for your lens, you can try combining it with Intentional Camera Movement (ICM) at the same time as you turn the focus ring. (Think of it as another chance to play with last week’s challenge technique.) That’s how I created the image below:
Zoom+ (long exposure) – I’ve added the “+” because while zooming during a long exposure is fun, it is fairly predictable. I find it to be more creative and combined with other techniques. For example, simply using a “step motion” when rotating the zoom instead of a smooth motion will create larger sparkles of light periodically along the zoom lines. If you have a long enough exposure (say 5 seconds), then you can rotate the zoom ring a little, wait 1 second, rotate it a little more, wait 1 second, and continue that way until the shutter closes. You can also play with rotating the focus ring at the same time as the zoom ring, which is how I created the image below:
Classic Bokeh Lights – There’s a good chance you already know this technique, but just in case you haven’t tried it yet I wanted to mention it. The basic technique is to use a large aperture and set the focus to blur the lights into round circles. You can have a subject in front or behind the lights – or have no subject at all to create an abstract image. The choice is yours. For more details and examples:
2013 WEEK 51: Bokeh
2016 WEEK 48: Bokeh – Guest Challenge
How to Take Beautiful Bokeh Christmas Images
Bokeh Shapes – If you want to get a bit more creative with your bokeh lights, consider making DIY bokeh filters. These turn out-of-focus lights (which are typically circles) into whatever shape is cut out of the bokeh filter. For details on this technique:
How to Make Fun Bokeh Shapes with a Custom DIY Lens Filter
DIY Bokeh Lens Filters – How to Make Bokeh Filter of Different Shapes
Multiple Exposures – Already familiar with the above techniques? It’s time to try multiple exposures! You can combine any of the above techniques into multiple exposure images. A couple of combinations that I came up with:
Also, feel free to combine any of the above techniques while the shutter is open:
The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:
- Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to Facebook, or Flickr (or all three). Tag the photo #photochallenge and #photochallenge2017
- The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
- Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2017 PhotoChallenge is fun and easy.
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